(A)Musing - Part OneIt took ten minutes for Lawrence Bradley to realize he was still on the same paragraph, reading without actually reading. He blinked at the page rather dully before opening the bedside table drawer and fishing out a bookmark. The story would not progess tonight, not as long as these thoughts weighted heavily on his mind. He folded up his wire glasses and laid them on top of the book. Sighing, he slouched his way into a more horizontal position.(A)Musing - Part One in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It would have been a lie to claim he wasn't attracted to her. And Lawrence Bradley was, among other things, a honest man. He was attracted, but he didn't know why.
She was quite sweet, but no more so to him than she was to everyone. Intelligent, yes, but weren't most of his students? They managed a passable enough imitation of intelligence anyway, at least when they showed up for class. She wasn't pretty - and that wasn't a harsh judgement on his part. Autumn Fanshaw was as plain Jane as they made them and he'd taught his share of
StrikingIt was warm.Striking in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Not hot like she had been expecting a soft, gentle warmth that saturated her every extremity down to her fingertips. Like stoking the fire of a small heater, one bundle of sticks at a time. She was nestled snugly under the pale blue sheets watching sleepily as the man beside her dozed on. His grey hair looked more frazzled than normal and it was strange to her to see him so relaxed. The sharp intelligence in his blue eyes had always been striking and they were now closed to her.
Dinner conversation had been polite, ranging all over from Shakespeare to the latest blockbuster film; the two were completely absorbed in their own world for the night while the din of the crowd rose and fell around them.
She stretched her neck and shoulder blades with a soft groan, sparing a brief glance at his watch lying askew on the nearby intable. Nearly 2:15 in the afternoon. She returned her arm back to her side and burrowed back into the blankets with a puff of a sigh.
Facets1. He pulled a thick novel out and balanced it on his palm before fishing a pair of reading glasses from the mess on his desk. The surprise must have shown on her face, for he directed a quip at her.Facets in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
2. She yanked the controller out of his hands before he could lost a third consecutive boss battle and promptly died before being sent back to the loading screen.
3. She pulled out several CD's from the shelf.
"I didn't know many people in my age bracket enjoyed Celtic music so much."
4. They had planned to have a few rounds at the bowling alley to alleviate the boredom of small town life, but found their plans thwarted upon seeing the sheer number of people inside. It was just their luck that they chose the one weekend when a tournament was being held.
5. She made a sharp turn into an abandoned parking lot and slammed the brakes. "Give me thaaat!" and snatched the GPS from his hands, studying the digital map.
"Idiot. You've still got us set in the same town w
Digitigrade IIThe human foot contains twenty-six bonesDigitigrade II in Free Verse More Like This
for running and dancing and spinning
pirouettes in neat circles,
balanced on one foot before two,
starved for attention with every broken
"Ballet is more than dancing,
Grace," the en pointe trainer balanced
on one foot and named every bone
supporting her weight.
Grace spins one
circle on the hardwood floor:
her eyes land on the barre mirror.
She doesn't see the atrophied bone
ribs through pink gauze,
but only imagines herself as beautiful.
Weeks of anorexic binging display the remains
of weak structure.
One more skin-and-bone
cygnet remained an ugly duckling
as the starved light of dawn danced across the sky
on bleach bone toes.
The empty theater seats fill up
while en pointe sylphs
count their ribs backstage
at the memorial performance
where grace fluttered,
Fragments - Nostalgia Edition1. I wrote it a thousand times on my 1940's typewriter, practiced the words mentally a million times, mouthed the sentence into my pillow every night for years but only said it once, aloud, to your casket.Fragments - Nostalgia Edition in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
2. Every tea party with my eight year old little sister was a very civil war. I wore my sunhats like helmets and my lace gloves like gauntlets, my tablecloth was my battle flag, and the first (and last) battle began with the final cookie and ended with time out on opposite sides of the house.
3. He used to build birdhouses and hand-size coffins in woodshop class. Never clocks or derby cars, nor trinket boxes or small bookshelves. Only birdhouses. Only tiny caskets that could fit in your palm.
I never asked but I never had to after I saw him bury a blue jay shot by his little brother with the very first thing he ever made in woodshop class a slingshot.
4. My grandmother had a never-ending spool of yarn in her knitting basket. I know because I never once saw her buy anoth
Small WordsHe says "when you publish a book" in the same way my mother says "when you go to the store " like it's something I've already made up my mind to do, but I'm waiting for my schedule to open up long enough to take care of some errands, type a few words, be something.Small Words in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
FFM-2012-5It's been so cold since you left. I put on long sleeves because it feels like a hug but it wasn't enough. So I hugged my bear instead, but he never hugs back and maybe that's why I never gave him a name.FFM-2012-5 in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
I guess what I'm trying to say is I still miss you.
InheritanceHe plucks a bitter C noteInheritance in Free Verse More Like This
on a two hundred year old violin
that belonged to his mother,
and her grandmother.
The strings have never fallen flat before.
Seafoam and AshA girl once told me she was conceived by the ocean. "By" not "beside" her skin was the color of new seafoam and you could follow her green eyes into the deeps and drown there. She had a soft, papery voice that sighed in and out and dark hair that cascaded past her shoulders like dried seaweed.Seafoam and Ash in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She was born along the sea strand, where the ocean met solidity and pounded it into tiny grains. Perhaps she was delivered in a clump of seaweed or crawled her way out of a pink conch shell and learned to swim before learning to walk. She carried an air of calm serenity that rippled around her like an aura wherever she went, content to flow instead of fight.
I met a boy born from the fire tailing comets rushing through the atmosphere. His hair was a shock of red swinging upward and he lit up entire rooms with his presence. He always spoke a little too fast, the words rushing from his mouth like sparks off a firecracker, flickering and dancing. His golden eyes flashed
Inferno - WIPSeptember is a sultry tangleInferno - WIP in Free Verse More Like This
of curly hair and corduroy jackets stretched
over broad shoulders that I've been leaning on,
The half-lit elevator drops us off above Dante's first layer.
I feel sorry for anyone beneath,
but I've got my own hell to return to.
FFM: Day 9The world was ending. The very fabric of the universe unraveling before the might of the Infernal machine.FFM: Day 9 in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
With a final cry of desperation, Susan reached towards the console even though it was far beyond her reach. "Please! Don't do this!"
Alakahazar loomed above her, sudden and terrible, and wearing his custom shoulder pads, the ones with spikes.
"Alright then." He said, and flicked the off button on his remote control. The roaring maelstrom of destruction subsided, and Susan was left staring at him, completely dumbfounded.
She shook her head, tried again. "Uh, sorry but...WHAT?! You're just going to switch it off?"
He arched a devilish eyebrow at her with a facial muscular control that she had often envied in passing.
"Well you asked me to. But alright, I can switch it back on again if that's what you want." His finger hovered over the red button.
"NO!" She took a step forward as if to stop him, then thought better of it. "I mean...no, leave
FFM: Fragile ThingsYou were Seventeen years old when you first had your photograph taken, and it is in this photo above all others that you feel the passing of time most keenly. You were not a handsome boy, not yet, still somehow growing into your ears though all your peers had done that years before. You remember your shoes being too tight, and your expression is uncomfortable, but the day before Claire Simmons had kissed you on the steps behind the church and it seems in hindsight that a little of that triumphant glow still clings to you.FFM: Fragile Things in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
But then, it is really just a photograph of a nervous boy in too tight shoes, who has avoided having his photograph taken for a considerable amount of time. Age and memory play tricks, and make wishes out of things, or so you have found lately.
Your second photograph is with your best friend. You think there were a few other pictures before that, but you have seen none of them. You are both in uniform, laughing in the face of future glory, convinced of your own brav
FFM: The Wandering FireThe wandering fire danced through the streets, flickering, silver quick, vanishing as quickly as it had appeared. Some said it was the souls of the dead passing from one world to the next. In a city as large as this the deaths were high enough to account for the frequent appearances of the otherworldly flames that cavorted down the narrow streets in the night.FFM: The Wandering Fire in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Rask waited in the shadow of a window ledge, his narrow frame curved into the twisted branch of a Hedya tree; its flowers already open to the moonlight and releasing the heady scent for which they were famed. This was a wealthy compound, all delicate lattice work and intricate stone archways, an exploration of colour and geometric patterns, all muted by the shadows of the night.
In his belt he had the knife, specifically given to him by his employer for this task. It was an unusual request, very personal. Rask tried not to involve himself in the intricacies of such things. He was merely useful to these people, and in his line of
FFM: City of Paper HeartsHe built a paper city. Strewn across the floor of his apartment in a tangle of smudged streets and tiny folded corner shops with white paper windows. The electric bulb hanging bare from the low slung ceiling became an imaginary sun, each breath of air from the open window a tragic imitation of life that sent the city rustling, moving, tumbling only to settle once more into stillness as the window lock slid shut.FFM: City of Paper Hearts in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He made and imitation of humanity. Small forms to tumble to and fro and stare into the paper windows with wistful longing where he; too large and clumsy, could not, and scribbled distant words across the rooftops and empty spaces, Interesting words picked at random from the nearest book, as though they could in turn impart some sense of movement and meaning to the scattered forms that had taken up his life.
After a time, he gave them lives, created in them everything he could not see himself. A minuscule experiment, perfect copy of a larger world waiting for him just outside. H
FFM: Fear of FurLittle Red Riding Hood sat in the corner of the room with a lit cigarette and smile as she tapped her spiky heels against the linoleum floor. She was wearing her coat of course; the big musty one that still stank of wolf and liked to shed all over the furniture. It had been her first, so naturally the quality wasn't as good as her later products, but it was still an iconic image in the world of supernatural furriers.FFM: Fear of Fur in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
In the other corner of the room sat Jonathan, though perhaps sitting wasn't the right term. It was more of a fetal curl that had somehow been squeezed into the narrow confines of a plastic hospital chair. Really quite impressive, but then Little Red had worn the coat, and the stink of the fur had to be getting to him. It seemed a particularly vindictive move on her part considering her husband's Doraphobia.
The Counsellor had never figured out exactly how the two had hitched up, but then, stranger things had happened, and millionaire Furrier's were allowed to have eccentri
FFM: Day 21 ChallengeThere had been six levels to the circus this far, and now at last Charlie had reached the heart. He clasped the final ticket that had been given to him by the Harlequin at the door, and slipped through the black velvet curtains that closed off the entrance.FFM: Day 21 Challenge in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
There were no further guards, at this point there was no need. Instead what lay before him was a corridor lined with windows, each looking out upon a different scene, each window reflecting out onto another part of the show.
For a moment all he could do was stand there, terrified beyond all thought or reason by what he might be about to see, his nails digging into the palms of his hands and his teeth set on edge. Then the moment passed, and he took the first step forward to see what waited for him in the darkness there.
In the first window sat the fortune teller, bound by her dark and glittering chains in the low, smoky light of her abode, her cheeks wet with salty tears as one by one she lay the tarot cards out upon the
FFM: The Problem with Young PeopleEveryone agreed that the new drug was very effective, just not in the way they had originally intended.FFM: The Problem with Young People in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Touted as a miracle cure for senility, the moment it came out of clinical trials Phenzin had started to sell like hotcakes. Retirement homes bought the stuff in bulk. The company became billionaires overnight.
Testing should have revealed the side effects of long term usage, but they covered up the evidence. Naturally, people sued. No matter that the drug did exactly as advertised, there was such a thing as taking the literal too far.
Gangs of New Youth streamed from the retirement villages with their walkers and oxygen tanks, angry at the lot they had been given.
Crime spiked, though the culprits failure to make a quick getaway resulted in a high prosecution rate.
They took to lounging on street corners, menacing pedestrians and chewing gum like 14 year old deviants; which of course they were now, in mind if not in body.
The drug was recalled as soon as the true effects became appar
FFM: Sympathy for the DevilRed light spilled from the windows and splashed wetly across the street. A bit Tartarean for his tastes.FFM: Sympathy for the Devil in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Mephisto wiped bits of the previous owner from the invitation and handed it to the doorman; his expression all teeth.
The Dante Club, they called it.
It wasn't home; naturally. But he'd heard the entertainment was excellent.
FFM: Day 6The Troll seemed sad and small, huddled as he was beneath the remains of his old home, hardly a bridge anymore, in fact more of a ruin. "I'm lonely Michael, please stay a little longer. I am so afraid of the dark."FFM: Day 6 in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
There was little he could do but agree when the Troll put it like that. After all, he knew what it was like to feel all alone. So he took one of the Troll's big weathered hands in his own, sat down beside him and started a story, though he was careful to avoid any mention of goats.
FFM: Day 5 ChallengeRebecca stood in the shelter of the woods and watched the Soldiers as they dragged the dead men to the ancient circle.FFM: Day 5 Challenge in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Her father, her two brothers, six other men and women. The instigators of the group, or so the Soldiers had decided. The rest of the rebels had been locked inside the town hall when they set the building alight. The scent of it was still clear on the morning air, a tang of smoke and burning things, another reminder of sorts.
The townspeople had been constrained to their homes, both unable and unwilling to see the carnage lying just beyond their doors. But Rebecca was still small, a pale, dark haired thing that could make her way through the woodland like a shadow when she chose. She had grown up in a household of men, motherless, and consequently practical and capable of getting things done herself. So when she knew what it was the Soldiers were planning to do with the bodies, she had had no choice but to follow. After all, this was her family they were taking, there w
Heralds of SnowThe wolves heralded in the winter and it held for over a thousand years. No one dared challenge it. No one. The trees hung barren, just waiting, for the laws of nature had given up and the earth had breathed its last breath and succumbed to the rule of whatever would pick up the standard of power. The seasons, the sea, the skies, everything that lived and breathed and existed upon the earth was left to command it as it would.Heralds of Snow in Fantasy More Like This
So the wolves claimed the winter and the frost and the snows that hung deep over fields and mountains that waited patiently for their turn. And we, the humans that found all our power and might reduced to the same level as all other creatures, let them rule. It was a very confusing time.
We had been the masters all along. The earth was ours and all things in it. But what happens when the earth gives its power to all things and there are no rulers, no kings, no masters?
InfectedThe hunters came for me first. Pastor had moved me into the church basement a dim cellar of cement with one light the went out whenever it stormed and set up a narrow cot for me to sleep on in one corner on the uneven floor. He locked the door at the top of the stairs and I wasn't sure if he was trying to protect me from overzealous townsfolk unwilling to wait for the hunters or if he believed I had murdered the doctor. Old Telly, the post master with chronic asthma, had found his body. It had been torn in half lengthwise, a jagged seam starting at the shoulder down to the hip, the ribcage popped open like a peanut shell, and then discarded on the floor of his exam room with the bright lights and the cold white surfaces drenched with red. There was nothing else disturbed all his medicines were locked away in their cabinet, his tools were untouched and his computer had been left alone even though he had a habit of not locking it under a password when he was away froInfected in Short Stories More Like This
Loki SequelThe engine was a sphere of liquid power, churning and coiling in itself like the sun, tendrils of energy exposing their white bellies to the membrane that held it all in check. It hung suspended in the heart of the ship, thrumming like the organ it emulated, sending white-hot life searing through the metal veins that held us safe from the void beyond. It was not a natural thing. It burned only because the breath of a god spun it into being.Loki Sequel in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
I stood at the edge of the walkway that surrounded its middle, leaning as far out over the railing as I dared. Even contained, the heat still seared at my pale cheeks and left them feeling raw. The engineering team were easily recognizable from the rest of the crew as we were the only ones that did not have the lifeless pallor from months without the sun. We burned from the ruddy tan of our Chief Engineer to my own blistered apple-red that peeled and returned to white without even a nod in the direction of brown. Behind me, Dancer manned the
Loki Sequel 8There was a lot that needed to be done and little time in which to do it. I estimated about fifteen minutes for the interceptors to haul our ship back to the warship, than another ten for them to get us docked. I got back to the common area right when the captain was wrapping up his explanation to the passengers. My Hounds were not in attendence and I received a few looks as I skirted past everyone and to our room further down the hallway. The door was half-open and I slipped in and shut it the rest of the way. Merrat and Phien were sorting our belongings on the floor and Sleipnir and Merrat were on the beds for lack of space on the floor. I dropped to my knees in the half-foot between the pile and the door and started to help.Loki Sequel 8 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
"Get everything we want hidden together and I'll see about disguising it," I said, "I can't gaurantee they won't have a sensative check the ship so I'll just do my best and hope human incompetence comes into play."
Some people were more aware of when a god's wil
Loki Sequel 3Here is the problem with being a god, or a scion of a god, or even a Hound with access to a god's power: one must understand reality in order to manipulate reality. Understand it, and then be able to see past what is and see what could be to disregard the structures of the universe we had been imprisoned by our entire existence. Artists and musicians sometimes caught glimpses of the other side of this veil but they could only describe what they saw. Gods brought their visions to being. Without a clear understanding of how our current reality functions, however, it was much like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole. With enough brute force, it could be done, but it was inefficient and taxed a god's power.Loki Sequel 3 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Which is why I had learned how to fix things by hand in the manner of mortals. With one of the two pilots of the Heron hovering over me as I worked, I was very thankful that I had taken the time to do this. I suspected that he had an inkling of what it was I was disassemblin
Loki Sequel 10We returned to the detention wing for Phien and Hresh. This time, I could leave the cameras alone to a blank cell, as the records now indicated that these were empty and that Phien, Hresh, Merrat and myself were elsewhere. I let the guards wake behind us, their memories confused so that they would put in their own events of what had happened versions that would not involve myself or my Hounds. Then we were free. I had altered each of my Hound's clothing to match my own fatigues and we had taken rifles from the reserves in the detention control room. I was on edge as we walked through the corridors, keenly aware of the knife edge along which we balanced. It would only take one soldier questioning the system for Merrat's illusion to unravel. The scion of Sanguine need only ransack my double's mind to find that I had bound him thus, and he would know me for what I was. I felt like electricity danced along my skin, like I was hyper-aware of every breath in my lungs. Hresh touched myLoki Sequel 10 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Loki Sequel 13Fretter had not survived. I had hoped against all reason, perhaps but even as a god I could not impose my will on everything in this universe. He died when the engine exploded, not because he was left vulnerable to the fire, but because Sanguine performed one last act through his scion and took his life. I could not know what passed between the god and his subject in those last seconds but I could not find it in me to hate Sanguine for such an act. It was a thing of mercy, the last gift a god could give to a captured scion, and there was so little hope for escape that Sanguine could only assume that the will that had held Fretter safe in the void was that of an enemy god. Perhaps it was better this way, that Fretter die to the god he had served at a level too personal for me to understand, rather than at the hand of the God-Slayer. Ishtar laid his body out in an empty room so I could at least pay my respects. She stood in the doorframe, watching as I stared down at the emLoki Sequel 13 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
AnchorAn anchor had five minutes in which to reorient themselves. One.Anchor in Short Stories More Like This
I stared at the heavy steel loop around my thumb. My world was a sand castle, constructed by the subconscious in a vain hope that it would stand up on such a treacherous foundation. The ring was an unfamiliar weight and the foundation of my castle started to crumble. I did not remember it. The tide was ebbing in around my mind, whispering that my carefully imagined world was wrong. That it was lies. That the 'when' and the 'where' were pure fancy. I stirred in the nest of wires that poured information through my brain. There was a man with me, his bare back against mine. He, too, was lost.
An anchor's duty was to the pilot and the pilot alone. Not to their employer, not the guild, not even to themselves. Two.
There was an image engraved on the ring, a nautical anchor from the days when man sa
Fairytale((please note this story was written to be told out-loud, so the phrasing and amount of description has been changed to accommodate that))Fairytale in Short Stories More Like This
There was once a lady who was cursed upon the moment of her birth, so that when she reached 21 years of age, she would be transformed into a terrible beast. Her parents vowed to not tell her of this terrible evil and raised her as they would any noble lady, always seeking to find a way to evade the curse in secret – but to no avail. In her 21st winter, at the first snowfall, the lady fell senseless to the ground. There was a great cry of alarm and the hall gathered around. The lady shuddered and rose with a sound like snapping of bones and tearing of muscle and all the people recoiled in horror. She was a woman no more, a twisted semblance of humanity, broken into the body of a beast.
The lady was filled with terror and revulsion and fled the hall. She vanished into the forest and for weeks on end the hills sounded with her cries of anger, an i
Nightmare GodsMortals were dying. This alone was not something unusual, for that was the nature of mortality. The manner in which they were dying, however, either meant that there was more to this world that we did not understand, or that a god was involved. The first died in fire, collapsing on the steps of the temple while bystanders looked on in horror, too shocked by the conflagration to do anything. By the time one recovered his wits enough to act, it was too late and there nothing but ash left behind. The second one simply died in the middle of a crowded room, after the lights vanished. The witnesses said that it was as if the darkness had taken form, a weight on the chest that blinded each of them and left them starving for light and air. The victim's chest was crushed, like a hand had gripped it tight from the inside of his body. There had been no power fluctuation, no faulty wiring - no reason for the blNightmare Gods in Short Stories More Like This
FFM 2011, 29.7 - The Tower"Dora speaking."FFM 2011, 29.7 - The Tower in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Mrs. Appleby? This is Aimee Bonner. I don't know if you happen to remember me..."
"Ms. Bonner? Of course I remember you! You were my star pupil in the 7th form. I'm so glad to hear your voice."
"That's right! That's right, Mrs. Appleby. I'm glad you remembered me. Um. I know this isn't strictly according to procedures, but I was wondering if you could help me with...a thing."
"You're being awfully secretive, Aimee. I can't promise anything before you tell me what it is."
"Well, ah, you see, it's a matter of...uh...invading realities? Maybe I better explain...."
"Ms. Bonner, if you have a haunting or a poltergeist or anything of the kind, you really ought to be calling the authorities, not me."
"If you'll just let me explain Mrs. Appleby, please."
"Oh, very well."
"It's like this. I have a freezer in the cellar, where I keep frozen berries and mushrooms and things. It's quite roomy, although I usually manage to keep it filled to the brim. Anyway, I was going down there
FFM 2012, July 4 - Sleeping BeautyThe baby would be christened Aurore. It was mostly Anne's decision Steven would have preferred something less ostentatious. They had tried for years and years the natural way, but it wasn't meant to be. Finally, they had volunteered for the Summers Foundation's trial run. Aurore still had Steve's and her genes just slightly rearranged.FFM 2012, July 4 - Sleeping Beauty in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The christening was huge. June, Gussie and Mae Summers were the ones who had helped Annie and Steve through the whole ordeal, but they were also the ones who had rearranged Aurore's genes. Choosing them to be the babe's godmothers was an obvious decision. They crowed around the mother in their summer dresses and hats. Today the lab coats were nowhere to be seen.
"She's going to be beautiful. Just like her mother." June said. And a little more than that, if her research turned out to be on the button.
Gussie, the oldest of the three, declared: "She'll be smart. Brilliant, even." That had been an obvious addition.
"Not just that: s
FFM 2011, 30.7 - Old FriendsThe wind chimes picked up the storm as it came over the mountain, bringing with it rain, thunder and the cool. Sarah stood on the porch and listened, waiting.FFM 2011, 30.7 - Old Friends in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
When the wind had turned unrelenting, and the chimes played their manic symphony, he appeared.
He floated out of the treeline, entirely unaffected by the wind, the tattered clothing from his violent death hanging limply from his emaciated limbs. His face was skin taut over a skull, just the way he had looked when she had thrown the first shovelful of dirt over it.
"Hello Sarah." He rasped, having come as close as the wind chimes would let him, his incorporeal body quivering with every chime.
Sarah smiled warmly.
"Hello Alvin. I've missed you."
FFM 2012, July 24 - 'He's Writing This!'One morning, the device was just there, sitting on Jack's office chair. He wondered if maybe it was Maddie's, but this wasn't really her style. It was like one of those tablets, ultra thin, aluminium, sleek. He turned it around in his hands no logos, holes for recharging, or other buttons aside from a simply labelled 'on' button.FFM 2012, July 24 - 'He's Writing This!' in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Jack sat down and booted up his computer. Maddie was at work, 'real work' as she called it, and the kids were at school. His agent hadn't called him back about the Vagrant Earth II manuscript, and he didn't dare open the latest letter containing his royalty check, for fear of what it might say. While waiting for the computer to start, he turned the device on.
"Hello Jack" It printed. Personalized. Must be Maddie's idea then somehow. But these things were expensive, and she wasn't one to splurge.
"Is this your first time using the Prosaic Plot Converter?" It prompted him, with big touchscreen buttons for 'yes' and 'no'. He clicked 'yes', fe
FFM 2012, July 16 - Virtual Disease"Mom, you can't be sick because of your game." Theo sighed into the phone. "Just because VirtuaLife has a virus doesn't mean you have a virus."FFM 2012, July 16 - Virtual Disease in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"I'm telling you, I feel terribly ill." His mom complained. "You should open up the vidlink and take a look at me. Do say you'll come visit your sick mother, Theodore."
"Look, mom, I'm kind of busy right now. It's crunch time, and..." Theo suspected it was just a ruse of some kind to get him to fly across three states.
"Oh fine. I understand. It's just that I can barely muster the energy to connect any more!"
Connect? Despite how ludicrous it was, he still felt a stab of worry. "Mom! If there's a virus going around, shouldn't you wait with connecting until the White Knights have dealt with it?"
"But how else am I to connect with my friends?" She chided him. "It's not like I see you kids around a lot."
What else could he do? They agreed on meeting next weekend.
The rest of the week he spent programming. It was the very latest in kinetic c
FFM 2011, 18.7 - Social PariahLearning how to avoid social pariahs is an instinctual thing, something you pick up in elementary school. It's a matter of self-preservation; don't look, don't join in, but don't step in either. If you do, you'll be next. Maybe it's an instinct in yourself that you loathe, that you consciously fight: well bully for you (no pun intended). Most of us aren't that strong.FFM 2011, 18.7 - Social Pariah in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
One would think it'd stop after high school, but it doesn't. It still happens in college, among people who're supposed to be adults. I don't even know the kid's first name, but the name on his dorm room door is Card anyway. A. Card. I heard from a friend that the reason he never goes out when it's sunny is because he's got some kind of skin disease that makes him burn really easily, but I still find the stark whiteness of his skin kinda freaky. He dresses all in black too, some kind of goth I guess (doesn't he know that stuff's been out of fashion since 1999?); but then again I've seen him at the laundromat wearing just r
FFM 2012, July 19 - Body RouletteShe clicked 'new', and became a he. Her mind cloud-jumped into the male; handsome, middle aged. Opposite him sat a young woman, barely a teenager.FFM 2012, July 19 - Body Roulette in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Sex?" The young woman asked, voice silky smooth.
"Female." The man answered, masculine, gruff.
S/he saw immediately that the other had signed off, as the young woman's head lolled.
Next time she'd fucking lie. It was impossible to find conversation these days.
FFM 2012, July 18 - The Easy Way OutThe water stripped away what looked like dried ketchup or blood from the outside of the bin. Carlos hated this part of his job. The airport produced a lot of trash, and just transporting it all from the inside to its eventual end was a fucking nightmare. That was usually what Carlos did, worked as second hand on the airport's own garbage trucks, and that job was okay. The machines did the compacting and the heavy lifting and everything else, all he had to do was hook things up and pick up anything that fell over the edges.FFM 2012, July 18 - The Easy Way Out in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The other part of his job as second hand though was cleaning the bins. That was fucking toxic. He had to wear a full protective suit, gas mask and all, to keep the gunks and slag ripped loose by his pressurized water jet away from any exposed tissue. And did he get a pay increase for it? Not a chance.
They did empty the damned things beforehand though, but he still had to come back with the tank alone later and finish up. The sun was beating down on him, he was sweat
FFM 2012, July 15 - RedemptionlessShinju still remembered the car crash that had revealed her magic powers. The memory was fuel for her hatred, a fuel that never ran out. The three guards at the bottom of Min's warehouse hideout didn't have a chance. She cut the throat of two before they had time to stand up, shot the third through the head.FFM 2012, July 15 - Redemptionless in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
The train crossing blinking its green light. Shinju chattering away happily, her shopping in her lap. Michi driving, his loving eyes seeking hers for just a second...
Shinju kicked in the door to the upper storey of the warehouse, brandishing her rifle. A Chinese thug let out a call, immediately cut short by a burst.
Bullets impacted around her. She moved quickly, spraying accurate fire at the Chinamen, whether they were fleeing or fighting. She didn't care.
"I'm coming for you Min!" She shouted over the gunfire.
Michi's eyes widening in surprise, looking over Shinju's shoulder. The small Honda crumpled like a child's toy as the train hit it full speed, Michi disappearing
FFM 2012, July 11 - Power of ChangeMs. Tracey Dugas was a looker. Long, blonde curls, piercing blue eyes and a petite face coupled with that unattainable sense of fashion some women seem to possess. Despite the gravity of my mission, I couldn't stop myself from glancing at her legs and behind when she turned around to lead me into the office.FFM 2012, July 11 - Power of Change in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Yes Mr. Johnson. It was AIDS." Gay cancer. That explained why the article hadn't said anything about cause of death. I had no idea what her actual job was, but she sounded very professional. "Mr. Gallo's will is waiting for you at the office."
The Manhattan office/gallery/workshop was an old warehouse, and it showed. The walls were adorned with Gallo's paintings, including a near-life-size one of none other than Ms. Dugas. In the nude. I tried not to stare.
"Mr. Gallo was very private, and did not want a media circus around his death." She explained as I sat down with the will. It was duly witnessed and signed one of the witnesses was Ms. Dugas herself, her signa
Transdimensional Super TeamNotice: The full length version of this tale, which is far more palatable, is available right here.Transdimensional Super Team in Short Stories More Like This
The magical computer pool glowed. We stood around it like gods.
"Place your palms upon the unimetriscope," said the man in the top hat. "Validate your identities to Her Majesty, the Queen of the Multiverse."
It all seemed a bit hoity-toity to me, but there's a lot to be said for peer pressure when some extra-dimensional fancypants tells you your "peers" are a lady with wings, a James Bond looking guy, a giant robot, and a little girl and her psychic-bondmate, a white pony.
The guy in the top hat called himself Jeremy Flavius Beedle, and he twirled his mustache when he spoke.
He'd found me in San Francisco. I wasn't even working. I was sitting outside the ferry building munching down on a pastry from the shop there when he approached me.
Top hat and cane, fancy suit, and a giant
The TDST, Ch.99.The TDST, Ch.9 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The facility in the Between must have been a hive of inter-connected domes. Perhaps the christening culture had a fear of corners. Maybe the nice layouts were meant to confuse intruders with a maze, and pacify scared recruits with water fountains. I couldn't pinpoint one reason over another, so I sought out some real human sources.
The next room was less ornate than the others, though still circular and featuring a central fountain. It was large enough for people to mill around without being overheard by others. Perfect. Me and my number fours, all alone.
Besides myself, my team seemed to be the man in the pin-stripe suit, the kid and the pony, a cyborg (yeah, I know, right?) and oh god. The bitch in white who'd talked me down from my language question. I immediately avoided her like the plague and hoped she hadn't seen me enter.
I started with the kid. She'd be someth
The TDST, Ch.55.The TDST, Ch.5 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
I woke up hungry and more than a little sore. It was cold, so I turned on the heat and put on a pot to boil. Fumbling through my morning routine, I was blissfully oblivious to the events of Saturday until I sat down with coffee. My stomach rumbled mightily, and I wished I'd picked up a bite to eat with Jennifer before the whole thing went to hell.
Jennifer! I almost spilled my coffee. "Don't call. Ever!" She'd said, or something like that.
My fingers were fumbling for my cell on the kitchen counter before I could register any inhibitions whatsoever. Mid-third-ring, though, I felt a little bit like a douche. She'd been as serious as can be about not calling, yet here I was. Luckily she didn't answer. I left a message, apologizing in the most gentlemanly way possible. She probably thought I was an unhinged drunk. When she'd called yesterday, I'd
The TDST, Ch.33.The TDST, Ch.3 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
I stuffed a twenty into Jennifer the Art Student's hand and nodded to one of the techno-playing dancing spray paint t-shirt guys. The DJ guy span turn tables, totally into the act, whilst his cohort sprayed graffiti on white T's. The entrepreneurial street performers dominated a section of sidewalk. A small crowd gawked.
Jennifer looked at me and snorted. "You're kidding, right?"
I threw a thumbs-up in her direction. "Go get yourself an awesome T," I said. "I'll be back in ten."
She turned away from the t-shirt guys and followed the path of my shoulder as I tried to turn away. "This is ridiculous," she complained.
"Work thing," I held out my hands. "I swear. Ten minutes. I'll just be around the corner."
"Okay," she moped like a dog tied to a pole outside a butcher's shop. "Just don't be long." She was giving me the 'so this is why they say to not date c
The TDST, 1818.The TDST, 18 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Jack's world was right outside. I could see bits of it through the Rift Lobby's glass doors. Skyscrapers jutted into the sky, art-deco and extravagant like a photograph of 1950's New York. And in the sky, pathways connected the buildings, sky-high umbilical cords. I caught sight of the edge of a zeppelin, too. Lumiel tucked her wings into her tunic, whistled harshly, and nodded towards me.
"Pick up your jaw, Cutter," she snapped her fingers.
"Coming," I said, and jogged to join the others.
I trailed behind, looking obviously tourist, as we exited the lobby and onto a street. Things seemed so familiar, but that made the differences glare at me like an angry cat. Every building, for instance, was riddled with neon signs, advertising everything from insurance to food, boats to women. Cars purred by, nearly silent I assumed they all were hybrid, or fully electric. But the style of the veh
The TDST, Ch.44.The TDST, Ch.4 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
Crime scene nerds wafted through and scraped some grime off my hands while I was waiting in the lobby. Cameras flashed at my face, my torn up hands, and at my foot, where I'd kicked the bird man's face bloody. I was then pushed into an interview room, and much to my dismay, I was on the wrong side of the table. Wordlessly, they locked the door and left me to stew.
The usual drill was to abandon suspicious people there to ferment for a while. Only water and no potty breaks, the kind of subtle mind-breaking torture that if you thought about it later just seemed silly. But they knew that routine wouldn't work on me, so it was five minutes later when the door opened.
A woman's head peeked through. I knew from her spiky blonde pixie 'do that it was one of my fellow detectives, a gal named Maureen Salas.
"Maureen," I said, raising my bloody hands in a shrug. "What on earth is going on?"
She slipped th
The TDST, Ch.66.The TDST, Ch.6 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
I apologize in advance. The next part isn't pretty.
As I came to, I realized my body was kicking, screaming, and punching. I was born into a world of resistance, and felt the pain as my consciousness caught up. I tasted iron; the rawness in my parched throat prickled as my terrified yells brought me back to reality.
The next thing I discovered was that there were two pairs of strong arms on either side of me. I was being held me in a vice, and the white linoleum swept under my feet despite their skidding efforts to back-peddle. I pulled at one arm, then the other, then both. The activity lit my muscles on fire. Sharp pain pulsed with every futile twitch, sending an unholy migraine to my temples. But still I struggled, I still shouted, and I fought as if my life depended on it.
For all I knew, it did.
But it wasn't doing a shitty ounce of good, and a terrifying realization hit me.
The TDST, 2020.The TDST, 20 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
When I got back to the TDT base in the Between, I went straight to my room.
I vowed to immediately read the rule book and the personnel files. Lumiel already had enough to bitch at me about, and I wasn't going to give her more fuel for her fire.
The manual wasn't anything I hadn't already figured out. The first part was a large re-hash of what my mystery Interviewer had told me. The layout of the multiverse, how worlds were connected by two-way Rifts, and how splinter worlds were created, but could never be interacted with. The second part was about standard equipment, like the badge (which was indeed in the desk, as Lumiel had said), the MLR, beacons, et cetera. The last part was a non-disclosure agreement of sorts, one that I had apparently agreed to the second I stepped in the Between. And the best part, if I violated it, the punishment was death.
Immediately, I felt kind of bad. Jack had a bad thing coming for him, a storm upon which I
The TDST, 1717.The TDST, 17 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The Mass-Law Regulator looked like a watch. It was a green-faced device on a leather wristband, and for all the things it could do, literally rewriting the rules of physics (or magic) for the user, I was a little disappointed it didn't do much else. You'd think it would at least be able to tell time.
"Time's different in every world," Lumiel argued.
I tapped the MLR. "All the more reason to have a working watch."
Lumiel only shrugged and led us back into the hedge maze. She took a beacon from her robes, and signaled for a pickup. A hop, skip and an aquamarine flash of light, and we were back in the TDT base. The boss lady continued to lead as we marched through the marble hallways. Another maze, I was beginning to understand. We twisted and turned through similar looking rooms. If it weren't for Lumiel's upturned nose, I'd have thought we were gong in circles. Sadly, I was
Midnight LoversIt's as if the world around them has frozen, this single moment that they're sharing, having stopped time. The moonlight, floating in through the balcony doors, has bleached the room, painting it in shades of monochrome blacks and whites. The hesitant breeze, strokes the curtain, thrown back from the open doors, the way the back of his hand is trailing her cheek.Midnight Lovers in Short Stories More Like This
Her wide eyes, like a fawn's, are staring up at him, completely vulnerable, but telling him she's giving herself to him, all in one glance. Another whispered kiss is transferred from his lips to her jaw line, as his hands trail down her body, fluid curves bared only for him.
His arm wraps its way around her waist, like the wind curling loving fingers around their nude bodies, and he lowers her to the bed. Kisses settle along her neck, as if they belong on the planes of her satin skin, and in the hollows of her collarbone. Her sweeping, dark hair, painted charcoal by the night, is fanned out beneath her head, as her cheeks blus
I Exhale SunlightIt's dawn,I Exhale Sunlight in Free Verse More Like This
the moon and the sun passively share the same sky,
a calm spread between them, after their fight for centre stage.
Fog licks at my cheekbones,
searching for perfection beneath my flawed skin,
and hidden birds call to the indifferent stars, as they sink into the pool of early light.
and concrete coated in dew by condenstion's tongue.
like cloud kin pinned to flowers, to be spread across the Earth,
are being scattered on moth's whispering wings.
Streetlamps flicker their goodbyes,
humanity's last secrets hissed to one and other, before their flames are blown out.
Jetstreams drag sleepy fingers across the sky,
gentle wrist bones and graceful knuckles painting a vivid salmon across mauve.
A puff of white fur pounces on my shoelaces,
that weave and dance with every step.
She seems to be painted with the same shades of the thumbnail moon above our heads.
we're the same.
And I gather her into my arms.
Serenity flows between my bones, and ti
A Day WithoutThe sunA Day Without in Free Verse More Like This
wrapped teasing fingers around my body
and shook me awake this morning.
Though I usually sleep in,
early morning is my favorite time of day.
When the sun is just peeking its timid head above the horizon,
eyes playing peek-a-boo with the edge of the Earth,
and its rays tickling the edges of dew drops.
It gives the whole world a soft glow,
that seems to warm your heart,
as much as the damp grass.
Trying to get out of bed quietly,
I let my bare feet hit the cool hardwood,
smooth beneath my feet,
as if welcoming me, and pulling me into the day.
An odd feeling is growing in my stomach,
and I rustle the bed a little too much.
You awake with me, now
and your smile,
nearly as dazzling as the rising sun,
lights up the room.
"Whatcha doing, my love?"
Your hair is tousled by sleep's playful hands,
and voice trying to stay as quiet as the early morning air.
My eyebrows furrow,
You prop yourself up on your elbows,
lips brushing my shoulder lov
Innocence DreamsSkyscrapers paint the sky in flames of a receding sun.Innocence Dreams in Free Verse More Like This
Embers to ashes, as the phoenix rises and falls.
Stars blossom from the cinders,
reflections of the city lights,
a city that seems to never wake from their cold slumber.
Young lovers, big dreamers,
with backs to the Earth,
and kisses whispered to fireflies.
Dreams of the ocean,
a house that overlooks it all.
Morning love on the beach,
and bonfires under the setting moon.
Dreams of flying, dreams of horseback,
dreams of playful ghosts and baby boys.
Dreams of living,
where inspiration isn't crushed,
by the rubble of a crumbling town.
Imagination without restriction or the drone of logic.
They're both lost in a blinded crowd,
with angel wings that no one sees.
They've both got hearts that speak words capable of swaying the world.
The ones on the hill,
where nothing matters but each other,
and the murmur of the wind between the grass.
No one sees, no one hears,
as they get lost in their search for a better place.
A place where their w
Morning Coffee"Morning, my love." My voice is lilting, and floats on the spring-scented breeze, as I bustle around the kitchen, not bothering to turn, as you take your place at the table.Morning Coffee in Short Stories More Like This
The curtains, thrown wide to welcome the rising sun, are quivering in the gentle wind, and I glance outside, "It's warming up already, this afternoon's sure to be beautiful. Do you think we could go out and start the garden, later? It's a little early in the season, but it's bound to be a lovely day." I ask you, eyes smiling as I take in the dew-speckled grass, glittering in the early sun just beyond the window pane.
I nod to myself, "Yes, yes. I bought the seeds a week or so, ago. Evie had a sale on at her shop, you know. I got all your favorites, dear. Snapdragons, Sweet Peas, Impatiens and Schizanthus. It'll be just beautiful."
I pull my gaze from the window, and saunter over to the coffeemaker, mood lifted by the weather, and prospect of spending the day outdoors, enjoying it. As the coffee
I Used To BeOur toes are making tidal waves in the water, dusk-dazed legs dangling from the pier, as she rests her head on my shoulder. Hair the color of cedar bark, and as fine as spider silk, tickles my chin, as she lifts her cheek.I Used To Be in Short Stories More Like This
My eyelids, pinned down by fireflies and dying embers, open sleepily, and I scan her body, a slender silhouette against the burning sunset. "I used to be a mermaid." Her lips, the pale pink of a catfish belly, whisper to me, as fingertips brush the white tips of persistent waves.
I can't manage more than a drowsy, "Oh?" captivated by the curve of her back, bent so can whisper to the waves, and the quiet melody she produces with her words.
"Mhmm." It's more of a sigh, dripping with longing, that splashes into the warm water, and caresses our feet. "But they caught me in their nets. I remember the sudden change of current, and the sweeping green mesh that stole me out of my waters. Their wide eyes, and grimy fingers, insistent on poking and prodding my every limb. They
Pricetag On LifeWeather-worn face,Pricetag On Life in Free Verse More Like This
and wrinkles carved by the hands of the clock.
Eye riddled with the knowledge that this world is one of pain.
A toothless smile, with nothing left to grin about.
His hands, clasped under his chin,
have carried many a burden,
and hunched back known too many harsh words.
It's not begging,
when he's too ashamed to meet your belittling gaze.
It's nothing but the necessity to live.
Several coins in shaky, calloused hands.
Is this any hardship for you?
It's only saving another worthy life.
But just walk by,
hold your head high.
Pretend not to see the pain in his eyes.
He stands to walk away,
and hope dragging like his feet.
Shoulders bowed against the tormenting wind,
eyes on the ground.
How dare you‽
Do you know where he'll sleep tonight, if at all?
On a park bench, cold metal digging into his spine?
Under an overpass, thundering cars rocking him to sleep, with squealing tires as his lullabies?
Or if he'll eat today,
tomorrow, or the next?
Let him slo
A Promise Wrapped In ThornsYou told me you'd bring me a rose on every one of our dates.A Promise Wrapped In Thorns in Short Stories More Like This
I remember you vowing that, as you stood on my porch, in your rented tuxedo, and handed me my very first one. Just a simple red rose, but it was the most beautiful sight, held in your shaking hand. I remember smiling at you, a smile that must have lit up the night, because I had never felt more loved in my life. I set the rose in a vase, and took your hand in mine. Your hands were sweating, and I knew you were afraid, but I never wanted to let go. "What are you scared of?" I had asked, as you held the door of your car open for me, eyes wide in an intoxicating mix of eagerness, and fright. "Only of losing you." The words were shaky as they escaped your lips, nothing out of a romance novel, but they warmed my heart nonetheless. And as I stood on my tiptoes, that night, as you wished me a goodnight, and I let my lips whisper across yours, I knew you'd keep your promise. I set the rose on the windowsill by my bed, a
A Future Covered In DustI've got blood-red push pins,A Future Covered In Dust in Free Verse More Like This
on my lips,
there to hold a falsely sweet smile to my face.
And just the right shade
of boring brown paint,
to make my fatigue-ridden eyes
look capable of a shimmer.
When I seem to have a spring in my step,
it's only because I'm eager.
Eager to get away from you.
When you point out
that I look sad,
and I convince you I'm only tired,
I really just want to break down.
Fall to my knees.
But too ashamed to shed one tear.
I am tired,
Tired of being stuck here.
Tired of my four bedroom walls,
my classroom seating plan.
Sick of routine.
Sick of boredom.
Sick of you
and everyone else that surrounds me.
Because it's not this lifeless house,
in which I abide,
that I picture when I close my eyes.
Not this dreary town;
an unenthusiastic mess, splattered on the face of a map.
It's me, I see.
But not here.
Living a radically different life.
I see true happiness,
something that's become nearly extinct to me,
4 out of 30 LoverDear Alex,4 out of 30 Lover in Letters More Like This
I don't know if this will even reach you, but I guess if you're reading it, it has. I just finished watching "Dear John". I told myself that if I chose a sad movie to watch, I'd have an excuse as to why I was crying. If mom asked, or something. I wanted to cry, not soak my face, chest, hair and pillow in tears, and choke on unstoppable sobs. That was the saddest movie I've ever seen. Perhaps I should have read the synopsis before renting it: "While John is on leave in his hometown, he finds Savannah, a college student visiting the town. Although love was unexpected, it doesn't mean they didn't find it. With the knowledge of John having to leave for the army, their love still lives....Troubles invade and their love put on hold. One cannot bear it anymore; can the other?" Needless to say, it hit a little too close to home. The end is what got me, though. I don't want to give too much away, so I'll only say that I'd never be that kind of girl. It only reinforces my decision tha
The Visitor - Part 1It was twenty-eight minutes past seven, on the sixth day of October, and London was being rained on. Rain is not something that happens in London or over London or even around London. It happens to London, in the same way that chicken-pox happens to five-year-olds.The Visitor - Part 1 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
London with rain happening to it is a very different place to London with nice-weather-for-this-time-of-year. It's grumpier. People talk less, and they hurry everywhere, holding up briefcases and newspapers like offerings to the gods. Women in high heels perform that peculiar toes-only not-quite-running that is unique to the breed. And anyone arriving in a safe, dry haven, will say to the first human being they encounter, "It's absolutely tipping it down out there!"
On that morning (the sixth of October, seven twenty-eight) Doctor Rosemary Fortune was not performing the toes-only run, the newspaper-over-head jog, or any other undignified movement. She had come equipped with a very la
The Visitor - Part 4Colin whistled. "It's been learning."The Visitor - Part 4 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
"Shut up," muttered Daniel.
He was redialling the four-digit extension, keeping the phone glued to his ear. It started ringing and he looked up at the screen.
"Come on, Rosemary," he said. "Pick it up, pick it up, pick it up..."
But the doctor left the debriefing room without even a glance at the ringing phone. Daniel slammed his hand on the desk.
As the doctor headed back towards the lift, the creature tidied the unconscious soldiers over to the sides of the corridor. Rosemary didn't appear to notice them.
"At least they can't get anywhere from here," said Colin. "Fortune may be smart, but there's no way she can work out the lift code by guessing."
Daniel nodded, replacing the phone in its cradle.
"Now we just need a way to separate them," he said. "Before... You know..."
"Before the Colonel decides to smoke 'em both," Colin finished, looking over the top of his glasses.
The phone rang before Daniel could answer. Colin glanced at his la
The Visitor - Part 2The door opened with a Star Trek swish. Rosemary looked to Colonel Grant once for confirmation, then walked through it. The corridor beyond was identical to that outside; hard-wearing grey carpet and off-white walls with a second door at the end. A camera mounted over it swivelled in her direction as she approached. She gave it a wiggle of her fingers by way of a wave.The Visitor - Part 2 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
A swish and snap indicted that the door behind her had closed. After a moment's pause, the one in front of her opened. It was an interview room, she decided as she entered. There were three bare walls painted the colour of damp cement, and a single mirrored one (with no visible cameras). Furniture comprised of a folding table and two plastic chairs, one of them occupied.
The man wore faded blue jeans, a clean white t-shirt and an expression of bubbling amusement. He was leaning back in the chair, two legs off the ground like a schoolboy, and smudged running shoes resting on the table top. As Rosemary entered, he swung hi
An Easy DecisionThere were still eight ghouls left when Jack reached his last bullet. Spine pressed to the crumbling plasterwork, he ran his eyes over the stolen faces of his squad-mates, then put the gun to his head.An Easy Decision in Short Stories More Like This
Sticks and Stones - Part 1It was the first Saturday of the school summer holidays, and Lizzie Brooks was people-watching.Sticks and Stones - Part 1 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
The spot she'd picked was the Costa Coffee Shop at Charing Cross Station. From nine in the morning onward, it had remained continuously "almost full", but with a population that changed every hour. Weekend-workers dropping in for their morning coffee gave way to bleary-eyed Friday clubbers revitalising on their way home. By midday, the tourists made up the bulk of the through-put, disposable cameras in hand and wheeled luggage (or small children) trailing behind.
Lizzie had occupied her favourite corner table as soon as the shop opened. She sat hunched, pink spiral notebook in lap, plastic cup balanced on the table edge, and straw pinched between her lips. Sucking up iced-tea like a hungry mosquito, she scribbled notes in a looping hand that wandered above and below the printed lines like a drunk spider.
Woman with hooked nose. Proper beak. Pointed shoes. Big handbag is suspicious. Probab
Bullet When I was a kid, I wanted to be Superman.Bullet in Short Stories More Like This
They said he was faster than a speeding bullet. Not just any old bullet, moseying home after a long day at the office. A speeding one, tearing up the atmosphere like nothing in the world could stop it. I wanted to punch through the sound barrier and carry on and on, away from everything.
I started running a year after my mom died. I was nine years old, but already fast enough to beat my army dad to the corner of the street. There was a local cop with a big brewster moustache who was always dragging me back home. I forget his name. His sedan could run faster than my legs, and his hand was quick enough to grab my collar. When he was still fetching me back two years later, he stopped by to have a word with my dad.
"He's pretty quick on those legs of his," he said. "You thought about getting him to do sports? Might burn up some energy
RiotFrank had been in his office for two hours, four minutes and thirty-three seconds when the window broke. It might have been out of sheer boredom, but Frank found the rectangular object that had been neatly thrown through the middle of it a much likelier cause.Riot in Short Stories More Like This
Knocking away shards of glass with calloused fingers, Frank picked up the object. It was a Personal Life Organiser TM: four-hundred gigabytes of fusion-state memory and enough processing power to pilot a shuttle to Jupiter. And most often used to answer emails. Modern technology really baffled Frank on occasion. On the other hand, it made a very serviceable (if expensive) projectile. So much more sophisticated than just lobbing a brick.
Hoping for the worst, Frank crunched over the remains of the window pane and peered over the aluminium sill. This wasn't because he was kneeling. Even in police-issue patrol trousers with the new reinforced kneecaps, that wouldn't have seemed like a good plan. No, Frank was resorting to peering be
Sticks and Stones - Part 7After the door closed behind Lizzie and Brody, Stheno laughed again. "Still lying to women, I see."Sticks and Stones - Part 7 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
I shrugged. "It's a difficult habit to break."
She snapped her fingers. I had just enough time to take a breath before I was grabbed by my coat, dragged a few feet away from the wall and forced to my knees. The grabbers both smelt human, with starched collars and fresh polish on their shoes. They applied a restraining weight to each of my shoulders and locked my arms behind my back while another human - the owner of the Armani aftershave - hovered next to me. Mr Armani was chewing peppermint gum as he cracked each of his knuckles in turn. I didn't need his scent to know he was young; only real greenbloods resorted to clichés.
"Now," said Stheno. "I'm going to ask you some questions. And every time you give me an answer I don't like, this is going to happen."
On a signal I couldn't see, Mr Armani socked me across the jaw. It was a good hit - I could feel his signet ring a
The Visitor - Part 5Colin sat in the Observation Room, drumming his fingers on the edge of his laptop while he watched the screens. On one of them, Daniel was in the process of being thrown off his feet and sent sprawling on the beige carpet. The scientist sat up as if powered by springs, his arms thrashing at empty air. But the creature just passed over him, walking along the ceiling with its rhythmless gait. It stuttered away from the lift and around the corner, feet seemingly struggling for grip against the weight it was carrying.The Visitor - Part 5 in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
"So awkward," Colin muttered. "But so precise."
Daniel meanwhile, was still slumped on the carpet. He kept staring at the doctor's dropped bag, chest rising and falling in jerks. Shaking his head, Colin returned his gaze to his laptop screen. There was a single line of text on it, the cursor blinking in expectation.
EV1 has escaped. I need new orders.
He glanced back at the video feeds spread across the wall, fingers still beating a rhythm on the metal case. The cre
WingsBy four in the morning, City Airport was beginning to resemble a refugee camp. The would-be travellers had long ago run out of fuel for their anger and accusations, and now only a noise like a distant waterfall filled the skeleton rafters - the sound of hundreds of people breathing softly in sleep. They lay bundled in coats, huddled against soft cases, and draped over airport furniture. Some still had pouts and scowls etched into the lines of their face, but most slept placidly - like worn out dogs or the sort of babies that only exist in TV adverts - dreaming of postcard beaches and over-decorated cocktails.Wings in Short Stories More Like This
Standing in the way of such dreams was a monstrous screen. Six metres of glossy black from corner to corner, it hung like an axe over the heads of the sleepers. On its laughing face were rows of yellow lettering, each finishing with the same gleeful word. As the plastic clock hands on the far wall moved to ten-past four, a chime sounded from the lofty public address system, and a
Online"I have a problem."Online in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"You always were a worrier."
"Don't you want to know what it is?"
"Not if it's going to worry me as well."
"That's precisely why you should know it."
"I really think I'll pass."
"But this time it's a really big deal."
"Oh for the love of- All right. All right. You win. What is it?"
"What did you think the first time you met me?"
"That's not a problem, that's a question."
"How am I supposed to answer it exactly?"
"I don't know if your mother explained this to you, but all you have to do is open your mouth and words-"
"Shut it, smart ass."
"Then answer the question."
"I thought you were beautiful."
"See, now that's impossible."
"And why is that?"
"Because the first time you met me, it was online."
"It wasn't your face I was calling beautiful. It was your anonymity in your words."
"What does that mean?"
"It means that in the vast abyss of the seas that form a web of people, you were the one who sat alone in a life broke
A History of ImaginariumWhen we were young, we believed. In myths, in legends, in stories beyond the wildest imagination of the best story teller in the world. Tomorrow always held surprises, new stories, and new worlds for our imaginations to explore. Everything began with 'Once upon a time' and ended with 'Happily ever after.' We lived in a land where we all owned pet tyrannosaurus rexes, maybe a few dragons, a sword that rivaled Excalibur and faeries and pixies, who just happened to make great playmates. Fae food for some reason always seemed to be so much better than your average meal, and who needs an adult to talk sense to, when you could have a talking lion?A History of Imaginarium in Introductions & Chapters More Like This
But time passed us by. And things changed. We grew up, much to Peter Pan's dismay. And things became what they would never become if we believed. Things became boring.
Reading became insipidly real, about average people with average lives. And what was worse, we enjoyed that much more that the fantastical tales that our imagination wa
Never AgainThe rain boy had sworn that he would never again smile. His eyes always soaked the oceans with tears from his past and his heart was always dark and locked to anyone who could try and help him. His world had become so bleak and dark, that he stood in rooms of people that were a blur past him and a guitar that just no longer played.Never Again in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
So when the sunshine girl met the rain boy, for a second, the world stood still. In that tiny little balcony, where there was only space for two, the sunshine girl asked the rain boy, "When was the last time you smiled?"
The rain boy was startled for a second at someone talking to him, but he answered anyway, "I think it was ten years ago."
"Is that because someone broke your heart?"
"It is because more than one person broke my heart."
"Oh." She paused for a moment, but looked up again, her eyes dancing like star like diamonds "Well, just because someone broke your heart, it doesn't mean that they should become the hero of your story."
You call it Judgement, We call it SinEmily needs the words to understand that she isn't being unreasonable. She just wants them to mean something and not be a string of words which flows into itself over and over again.You call it Judgement, We call it Sin in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
She doesn't like her name either. Not because Emily isn't a pretty name but because she would rather be called something she feels like. (She has never quite forgiven her parents for choosing her name for her.) If she could, she would call herself Glass, because that is what she wakes up feeling like every morning. As if crystallised pieces of glass are edible and her insides tingle as she swallows them whole.
Emily lets the words call her names sometimes. She writes them on her knees so that she can remember them. Sometimes the words call her a whore, and sometimes stupid, and sometimes a loser and sometimes a tramp (She has never learnt that loving too much is a crime and boys with pretty eyes sometimes lie.). She sits in the bathroom with a pen the colour of blood and writes them carefully
Hemingway Would Hate ThisThe trouble with the Boy was that he didn't have the heart of Shakespeare, the voice of Poe, nor the soul of Wordsworth, nor the knowledge of Rembrandt in his darkest days. He didn't have a trace of Michaelangelo's spirit nor the angst of Carvaggio and this on its own was enough to dissuade him from understanding that technique was far better than solidarity and possession far more ageless than youth.Hemingway Would Hate This in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He didn't have any of this knowledge because his father hadn't had the courage to tell him that he needed all the qualities of these great men, to win over the heart of a woman who had the dreams of Austen, the ideas of Da Vinci and the scent of a high priestess of Venetian origin.
The Girl was all those things and more, and her value, her estimate in the market of souls was higher than most. She was an angel amongst Gods, and He should never have let her go into the world thinking that it was Keats hearted. Because like all women who live their lives story shaped, she was soon broken by
A Snowfall CandlelitMy version of winter has always been flawed. It is controlled by the fall of snow and the exact amount of the ground it covers. It never ever covers the tiny little patch in the garden, right near the broken tin roofed shed. I suppose that is why I just like the idea of snow. But I do not love it.A Snowfall Candlelit in Free Verse More Like This
(Realisation: I suppose that little corner represents the only part of me that even I cannot love.)
I met a man with candle lit wolf eyes and a strong, warm lion heart, who tells me Sea God stories before disappearing into a cold, cold winter's morning, fog cloaking his very essence.
(Addendum: Sometimes I think of five a.m. coffee, and wonder if your smile didn't hold all of winter's warmth in it, whether I would still be liking the idea of it.)
He lights candles and turns my room into a place of sanctity and prayer often. It makes the love making ironic in a way, I suppose. But nothing he ever does fails to intrigue the very fabric that my cotton soul is made of.
Crayon SoulmatesDear Stars,Crayon Soulmates in Free Verse More Like This
I have a bone to pick with you. You see, when I was six, I called myself the nowhere girl... and I coloured myself a soulmate. I made him on crumpled sheets, with broken pieces of crayon, on a playground that was too busy wondering whether growing up entailed stealing their mother's cigarettes and their father's dirty magazines (I suppose I was already wise enough to know that growing up meant choosing one of the many ways of breaking yourself in two.)
I hope you remember him, stars...he was important to me (My best friend threw that drawing away on my seventh birthday and told me that someone like me was not supposed to have such dreams.).
He had hair as ebony as deep onyx and a smile that never grew up (Peter Pan would have been proud). He was magic in soul form, and smelled like cinnamon and the earth after it has rained. His eyes rivaled a lions on the best of his youth, his words were story shaped. His skin was an ink coloured canvas of wonder and even in crayon
Death"Do you fear death?"Death in Short Stories More Like This
The question loomed in the air before my body, as if a sword looming over someone almost conquered by their enemy. But I looked down at my hands and then back up, only to say, "Have you ever felt the pain of watching two lovers embrace at the end of a movie? It's supposed to be a happy ending. But your heart tells your lungs to stop breathing for just a minute because it will never ever be yours."
"Do you fear death?"
A question repeated deserves an answer. But instead, my trembling hands sat clenched on my lap, the blue ink like veins showing through the frail covering that might rip apart any second. "Do you know what it's like to wake up in the middle of the night to hear a song, just to remind yourself, you're going to be all right? Over and over again until it doesn't work anymore."
"Do you fear death?"
The invisible chain linked through my fingers, and I closed my tired eyes, this time, hearing the impatience in th
A Complete DistractionA Complete Distraction in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
I was upset when you kissed me,
And suddenly I couldn't remember why.
It was like nothing else mattered,
Nothing but this feeling in its place.
I sometimes reread all the love notes you gave me when I feel this way,
Count all the times you could've missed me.
Day dream of all the times I dreamed about you,
And I've never dreamed about anyone as much as you.
So sometime I want to touch you in a small way every time I see you during the day,
Just to tease you, and know you'll think of me all the same.
But for now I only wish to savor your lips,
And this feeling surging unexpectedly from my chest.
Lingering ThoughtsI wonder if you could be happy without me,Lingering Thoughts in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
If you could do being without me.
Whether you'll still laugh as beautifully,
With that small smile lingering all day long unconsciously.
I really don't think I can do all that without you.
And even if I could come to love again.
It would never again feel as easy as breathing,
Like having a heart just a little smaller than being complete.
Maybe I'm just wondering how important I am to you,
How true your beautiful words are,
How I know with such a certainty,
That you are the reason for all my lingering smiles.
The Only OneSome people said my words are fake because they sound so beautiful,The Only One in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
That it is always a good prudence to feel that things feel too good to be true.
People are not supposed to care, to see beauty in the plainest of things.
It's just like beliefs are not supposed to be true and there's no such thing as true love too.
Still I continued to write out all the beautiful things I know,
Trust in love that feels too good to be true,
Care for people I should never have cared for,
And never once looked to you.
But now you are the only one I speak to,
The only one who's heard all my ugly stories of love,
The only one who have always seen through my poems,
The only one in my life I feel may be too good to be true.
Such a Beautiful ThingI expected your kiss,Such a Beautiful Thing in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Just not the flare of this craving in return,
Wanting more of the soft sensations of your lips.
And never did I expect you to taste so good,
As if nothing else seemed to exist for a moment but you,
The love I can feel in you and the denial that I couldn't possibly love you more.
And your whispers unexpectedly made me think of scented oil,
Leaving me day dreaming of caressing you,
And realizing it's how your voice always makes me feel.
Because I Need YouI learned to forgive when I heard you sang in your lovely voice,Because I Need You in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Leaving behind feelings of an undying want in me like the way you said I told you so.
And it was in high school when you first gave me that look,
Forever sealing my belief in the absolute beauty of a real smile.
I still remember the way you cried with your heart years later in sweet love,
And I wondered if you knew that I cared about you beyond your wildest dreams.
A fragile moment of eternity incomplete,
When a touch is all we need to know and understand each other so well.
It was thanksgiving when I woke up to rippling translucent waves of the ocean nearby,
A warm glow and your hands slowly feeling mine.
I thanked that time is the measurement of all that is of true value,
And wished it wasn't just another dream of an infinity complete.
Secretly TogetherBehind closed doors we fall in each other's arms,Secretly Together in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Like finding consolation in trust of our dreams.
But only in evenings,
When all the thorns have been shed away.
And comes the steady glow of the moon reflecting in your eyes,
The steady warmth I can feel glowing from your skin.
However when you blink,
The world seems to waver at its brink of life.
Still nothing seems close to describing this moment of us together,
Just another of the many we will probably forget.
But like the millions of love stories left unread,
It's as beautiful as any love could be tonight.
ConvincedI miss you when I am far away,Convinced in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Then when I get close you take my breath away.
Life is supposed to be unpredictable,
And I never came to believe in destiny and fate.
Till you, anyway,
Brought to me your idea of a soul mate.
The idea that we are meant to be together,
The stories of people finding each other.
Every time I think of us now,
I would feel a connection that has always been there,
A proof beyond all odds,
And I can feel it every time I hear your voice.
The Perfect Words"There is something important I need to tell you."The Perfect Words in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
But I couldn't say the next line out loud.
My face would always break into that unstoppable smile,
And my eyes would always suddenly take on a will of their own.
It's like the very essence of happiness,
In knowing a secret more beautiful than all the lies.
Like simply knowing you are in love with someone,
And knowing how much they love you back.
But you know I'm going to try again some day,
To hold onto your eyes and say these perfect words.
And I'd probably smile too, helplessly,
For there's no better thing to do than to share my love with you.
Because I Love YouLeaving you breathless is worth savoring,Because I Love You in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Like giving you pleasure and watching you drowning in lack of memory.
So I find myself sick knowing you have to go,
Feels like forever before I can even hear your voice again.
I think I'm scared of losing you,
Or simply not seeing you every day.
Not being able to hold you at night,
Not hearing your voice all the time.
I don't think I have ever anticipated a moment so long,
For a time without your wonderful love in my life.
I don't think I can keep myself from craving you either,
Just like the predictable moments before we kiss again tonight.
I love you tooI hate hanging up on you after the way you say "I love you."I love you too in Urban & Spoken Word More Like This
Somehow totally pronouncing the period while simply saying "I love you".
It's one of the constant feelings I have with you,
Leaving me mindlessly craving for more.
I love how your voice strikes my inner sides,
But not how it happens to take over my mind.
And it never seems to strike alone because of my love for you,
A love I risk to trust in all the beautiful lies.
So I try to savor your words in my mind,
The way your voice holds my heart away,
The river of longing lit by your smile,
Every moment of what we have.