Friday, November 11, 2011

He hungered...


The camp was quiet by dusk, the only remaining noise to be heard from a handful of children playing near the washbasins, tempting their parents' patience with their refusal to come in for the night. After twilight turned to night, the sound of children playing was replaced with waking wildlife, preparing to survive another night of chase and hunt. That was when he appeared, a figure forming out of low-lying mist and into a man. He was also on the hunt, just as much as the owls and wolves filling the night with their song. His song was silent.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Playtime was serious...


To Tommy's surprise, the zombies and the dinosaurs in his play box tended to steer clear of one another. He actually introduced the dinosaurs to clean up the zombie problem, which spawned from a plastic hippo implementing a necromancy scheme to bring back the melted crayon he claimed as his friend. But, the dinosaurs, for the most part, had little interest in the zombies, unless they were scavengers. And Tommy didn't keep many on hand any more since the incident with the meatloaf. The zombies found the dinosaurs to be too much work. Then t-rex ate the plastic hippo.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

He also liked Cosmo...


Fish were not generally known to be readers. There were dozens of jokes about short attention spans that were repeated every time fish and literacy were mentioned in the same sentence. But Hermes didn't care what they said. Even if it was that fish were too stupid to read and to enjoy it. He did. He had a library, buried in his coral reef apartment, each scrap stored away neatly for further later perusing. The soda bottle rapper was his favorite story. He wanted to win by looking under the cap, whatever that meant. And to know what sodium was.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It was a mouthy can...


Somewhere in week three of cleaning out his grandfather's house, carl found the end of the canned goods. It had taken half a dumpster to empty the cupboards stacked with rusty, dented cans. But he'd gotten the last of them. Buried in a dark recess in the garage, he found them: seven boxes of Rice-a-roni from the early 1980s, six cans with no label and no discernible origin, and a can of pickled sausage, circa 1911. A mouthy can that had, at some point, attained sentience and was not pleased at being thrown out. This house was weird.

Monday, November 7, 2011

It was always cold there...


Every memory I possess of my father's mother is dark, illuminated only by a small low-wattage swivel lamp and the grey glow of an old TV on its last life, a fuzzy haze of stories on cable and the candlelight effect of that single incandescent bulb. It smells like old burlap furniture steeped and soaked in decades of cigarette smoke, pure and unfiltered, rolled by my grandmother's tiny leather and tin rolling machine. It tastes like aspartame and room temperature butter on toast, and over-steeped deep brown tea gone cold in the chilly cinderblock house. I miss those days.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It was a housing issue...


It was easier to keep a fairy content in a jar than a genie in a bottle. At least, that was the conclusion Gretta had come to. Fairies, if given comfortable quarters and a steady supply of fairy-appropriate pastries would actually be quite content for months. Genies, on the other hand, hated bottles. Gretta had found this out the hard way after two separate genies had attacked her. Apparently old shoes were ok, or dented oil lamps. Even small enclosures made from lego and doll furniture would work. But trying to house a genie in a bottle was... scarring.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

He was a grumbly old codger...


The moon is an arrant thief, or so Timon tells me, this one time, in a bar unfit for nice folk, down by the river. He complains about her thieving ways,. and explains she snatches her pale fire from the sun. He has given up being a lord of Athens, and his side job of being a character in a Shakespeare play (a job I would kill for, in this economy) and largely spends his time ruminating on the moon, and how she'd wronged so many. In his old age, he'd taken the cause against the moon as his own.

Friday, November 4, 2011

He did other things too...


Gell made change for annoying boys who arrived at the arcade on bikes with playing cards jammed in the spokes. Mostly he hung around for the sounds. The electronic video games were nice, their beeping little tunes were often in jaunty major keys. and the fans that cooled them made a white noise that he quite fancied. But it was the sound of the skeeball games that he liked the most--the sliding up the ramp of the wooden balls was sooting in an odd way, it reminded him of the old country. There were always worse places to work.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It also made excellent pies...


The cherry tree that picked itself was a myth, of course. Adults liked it because, well, who wouldn't like the thought of chores doing themselves, especially ones with such a decidedly tasty conclusion. They tended to only share it amongst themselves because of the inherent danger of the young ones becoming too enamored with a tale of reward that did not come through fortitude, the tilling of the earth, and hard work. Such a thing would lead wee ones to a life of degeneracy and sloth But at night, after the children were tucked away, the elders liked to fantasize.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There had to be better ways to pass time...


At one point, it became evident that we were probably not going to survive. And if we did manage to make it out of the forrest alive, there was no assurance that we would have all of our limbs. Which, when you thought about it, was rather typical of our adventures. Carrik had died twice already, Ando had a wooden leg named Smith. and I had been sporting an iron jaw since that affair with the Swamp King and his pet lizard. Which had not been a lizard at all, but a fifty-ton dragon. We really needed safer hobbies.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

They were devilish beasts...


The thing that the humans didn't know about the squirrels, cute and fluffy and entertaining though they might be, were always trying to take over the world. The dogs and cats had caught onto this twitchy nut-eating megalomania decades ago, and did their best to thwart the scurrying little hell demons at every turn. Many saw it as a solemn quest, especially among the dog tribes. It was their honor to serve their people by removing this scourge from the neighborhood. Most of the cats took a differing approach. If the squirrels were getting attention, then they were not.

Monday, October 31, 2011

It happened every night...


The downstairs printer sometimes printed on its own. Grandma came up with fancy explanations about phantom print jobs since what came out of the machine was never anything that anyone in the household had printed. Oh yeah, and it wasn't one of those fancy wireless printer things, so it wasn't like it was some idiot in a neighboring home sending it to some unrecognizable printer. We really didn't know what to do about it, either. We'd go to sleep, and in the middle of the night, it'd spit out reams of love letters. Most often addressed to the kitchen sink.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

One of those nights...


Where Wade had been hoping for a quiet night, he knew that, deep down, it's was not meant to be. Actually, he had been hoping it would dead in the graveyard, pun intended. And actually, it wasn't ghosts or zombies or ghouls that were disturbing him, setting his hair on edge as he waited. It was the animals. Tiny or medium sized things creeping around in the crisp, dried outs and dead underbrush. He could hear their creeping and stalking. Even the ones on the other side of the cemetery. And, unfortunately for him, he had a fear of foxes.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It comes for us all...


The last leaf dropped from the last tree on the block some tie in late December. As its crisp, curled husk plummeted toward the pavement, it whistled a tiny apology for its tardiness. It's death had actually been foretold to the little leaf back in October, and all of its brethren had been slaughtered by the neighbor's leaf blower in early November. But, somehow, that last leaf clung to that tired old branch, halfway up the tree and constantly bobbing in the wind. That leaf natured to perish with the others, but it wouldn't fall. Now, though, it was content.

Friday, October 28, 2011

And I was a wanted fugitive there...


Spaceports we notoriously noisy, dirty places, riddled equally with disease and crime, both stemming in fair measures from a transient population, loose morals,and I'll-defined rules of sanitation and conduct. That said, I loved the blasted things. Even if every port and every station required different inoculations and security checks, which meant intermittent prodding in inappropriate places coupled with needle jabs. Even if I'd nearly had my entire air supply stolen by some hoodlum kids. Spaceports were where it was all happening, sights, sounds and creatures all colliding every minute, every day. I'd never ever go back to Earth.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

There is a reason for some habits...


When Mr Woodrow left the house, he always took his umbrella with him. His wife said it was force of habit, the neighborhood children said it was because he was odd. But Mr Woodrow had a secret--if he did not take the long black umbrella, with the knotted wooden handle that turned around in a lovely old-fashioned style crook, it would rain. If it rained upon his bare, bald head, he would perish. He would perish because, as it turned out, he was made almost entirely of salt. This was due to a curse on his mother's side.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

They never spoke to him any more...


There was nothing to read. There was plenty to read. Orn was standing in the middle of a cavernous seven-storey building, decked in brass, marble, and books up and down every wall, as far as anyone could see. But there just wasn’t anything to read. Nothing called out, “pick me! I am the one you see! The perfect book for this mood, this day, this place. None of the books said anything to him, actually. They’d stopped talking to him a distressingly long time ago. Intellectually he knew what sounded good. But none of the books wanted to come home with him. Still.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I did this every day...


I climbed the tree, despite the clearly marked “no climbing” sign affixed to the ground in front of it with a green plastic stake. I climbed it because of the sign, really. I dug my sneakers into the rough bark and pulled myself up into the Y of the trunk, rose, wobbling to my feet, and grabbed the net heaviest branch within my reach. And up I climbed, until I had nothing but leafy twigs to grab hold of. Then, hoping to glide on faith, I held out my arms and jumped as the wind caught me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It was more fun that way...


When God was out of town, and the seraphim were taking the cherubim to the park, the angels and archangels liked to have impromptu table tennis tournaments in one of heavens lesser-used rec rooms. It was really only any fun at all if there were at least minor wagers involved, which the seraphim disapproved of. The cherubs were generally a whiney and annoying lot, what with all the crying and singing and crawling about underfoot while the big kids were trying to play. Besides, the arrogant seraphs only took the cherubs to the park when God was out of town.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

He was often displeased...


The cat was actually quite displeased with the display he saw before him. The furless ones, the humans, were engaged in some sort of strange foreplay that involved cuddling, tickling and squealing like a nicked rodent. It would not be too long, he supposed, before the furless ones devolved into some sort of coitus. He wouldn’t know, himself. Those beasts that fed him and gave him attention had taken him somewhere where he had been drugged. He had woken without his precious jewels, in some sick parody of one of those email forwards that warns about black market organ theft.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

They always went like this...


Burping yoghurt ALL OVER ME, clashing with my shirt, getting down between the keyboard keys, that is how my Monday began. The coffee burned and spilt down my front, a brown smear to go with my blueberry stain. My favorite pen ran out of ink and then the fire alarm went off. I thought about staying, even though the squelching alarm made my ears bleed. But I left, forgetting my coat in the building. Forty-five minutes we waited to be let back in by the fire department. As the snow slowly drifted down. This is why I hated Mondays.

Friday, October 21, 2011

It was happening again...


It was going to be one of those days, Jaime figured out, in that moment when he reached into his trouser pocket for a mint, and instead of pulling out one of those boxy little tins, like he was supposed to, he instead retrieved a hand full of jam. Which was disconcerting because he distinctly remembered picking the tin up from his bedside table where he had deposited it the night before, putting it in the right hand pocket of his trousers. He didn’t recall putting jam in his pocket, actually. He quite hated jam. Also, he hated Tuesdays.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Meaty memories...


The butcher’s shop smelled like salami and chicken skin; spicy and slimy all at once. Like dried and crumbling floor tiles installed during the Eisenhower administration. And like used up Freon and an early commercial air conditioner on the fritz. That’s why the shop smelt like skin. The AC pumped and moaned, kicking air around but never cooling it. Even in April, it was too warm in the tiny hole in the wall of a shop where my grandfather bought his sausage. So I held my breath, hoping for the best, praying the chicken wings weren’t moving like I thought.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Everything has happened before...


Then one day it became apparent to me, but not to anyone else, that I had become my father. I knelt, crouched, beside a massive copier unit, its guts open and exposed to the world, and my hands sooty with its blood. I had a burn from the fuser, a smudge on my shirt, and no idea why one of the censors was detecting a jam in area five. And I had become my father, just like that. I wished we’d been closer. I wished things had been different. Mostly I wished he’d taught me how to fix copiers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

He had the problem solved, really...


The problem was annoyingly simple. The ship was dying, and there were not enough escape pods for the number of people currently housed on her. When they had started out four generations ago, sure, there had been enough of everything then. But now? More bodies than space in pods. The solution was also simple, from Entop’s point of view—not everyone could be saved, and therefore, space needed to be prioritized and awarded to those who best served the colony. All those people with ailing parents and tiny, useless children would forget about them soon enough, if they all lived.

Monday, October 17, 2011

It was a powdery blue...


I didn't know what to do with the dress. It had been the dress that my grandmother had worn to my mother's wedding. My parents divorced, my grandmother dead, and I, myself was over a foot taller than my little Italian Nona had ever been. The sleeve had become ragged with age; that rayon stuff from the 70s never really held up. But I'd repaired it to wearable form. It even fit in a strange way. It hit just above my knees and had a soft, peasant look about it. But it'd be too weird to wear it in public.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wasn't it awful cold for a swim?


His teeth began chattering, and the young man cursed himself for being an idiot yet again. It made no sense to listen to the man with the silvery beard down to his belt buckle who haunted the eight hundreds section of the library, muttering about getting young as time went on. It was nuts to spend Friday night freezing and cold because a wizardly (possibly homeless) man told him knowingly that this would reveal his destiny. Not did he understand why that naked woman was coming out of the water and coming silently toward him with a giant bejeweled sword.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

He didn't know what to believe...


He decided at the beginning of hour two of his vigil at he chilly lapping edge of the lake that the old man who had sent him here (on what was obviously a fool's errand) was utterly insane. The long haggard beard fading from grey to silvery and the dark purple skull cap should have been his first hint that the (probably homeless) man he talked to every day at the library was not normal. He should have known the man was a crackpot the moment he suggested waiting at the water's edge until Arthur's true destiny became abundantly clear.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rain was inconvenient...


It wasn't like wormholes were difficult, or anything. In fact, Fas kept one in a suitcase she got from the Salvation Army one time when she'd had to duck inside during a sudden autumn rain storm. She'd loitered for twenty minutes before the grouchy lady behind the counter suggested she buy an umbrella from the large and unfashionable lot in the corner. The encounter had been so unpleasant that Fas had decided that very day never to be without her wormhole ever again. She bought the hard plastic suitcase and lugged her wormhole around like an unhappy hipster ever since.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Always the stop...


They say that it's not the fall that kills you, but the sudden stop at the end. Clever. And true, I suppose. Unless it's like that guy on the radio was saying, that you are dead from fright before you ever hit the ground. As the earth rushes toward me, I wonder if you need to reach terminal velocity for that to happen. What is the terminal velocity of a meat puppet anyway? Will I fall forever? Has everything slowed down, or has my brain sped up. Maybe I am already dead. Tis could be purgatory, falling for all eter--

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A sign of the times, perhaps...


At some point, it became more profitable to gamble, than to continue being a dentist. It wasn't a hard decision to make; card-playing allowed him to drink near-constantly, hang out in dens of ill-repute (the best kinds of dens, really) and to never be up and about before noon. And he liked gambling. He was good at it. The whiskey calmed the consumptive cough in his chest and his earnings were enough to supply his vices. And no sane person wanted a dentist who hacked up blood to have hands in his mouth, extracting a rotted tooth.

Monday, October 10, 2011

And beyond that...


The mountains of Kerris were far away. The edge of the known world. At least to Zen. Certainly, they were something of the sort. Otherwise the adults would not warn the smaller dragons never to fly there. That bad things would happen. The going theory, among Zen and his clutchmates, was that the meadow of Kerris and the faded white mountains beyond represented the edge of the known dragon universe. It was why the map on the wall of their one-room school-cave ended at the mountains. Zen spent his class time dreaming of what was beyond. Maybe nothing?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

He'd done other things too...


In twelve long years of life, Huxley Bigglesworth had been accused of many things. Laziness and sloth, short attention span, urinating in the front garden (he hadn't), defecating in the back garden (he had), and knocking over an open can of bright yellow paint onto the brand new carpet in the living room (there was absolutely no proof it had been him). So when the police pulled him over in a wood-paneled station wagon doing fifty in a school zone, he simply looked up at the officer innocently, barked, the drooled a little. Dogs never got tickets for speeding.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The whole affair was like that...


The newspaper had received fifteen complaints in two weeks regarding the use of the word "grizzly" in reference to the series of murders that had left a string of bloody and masticated bodies across the city since the beginning of the year. The editor was fresh out of ways to describe chewed p bodies left on desolate stretches of road, far away from street lamps, but was tired of getting daily letters from the Grizzly Anti-Defamation League, claiming the use of the word was libelous against Grizzly bears and other predatory wildlife. Those goddamned bears just wouldn't shut up.

Friday, October 7, 2011

She was a very sad fish-lady...


Eros knew it was odd to keep a fresh-water mermaid in a cast-iron and ceramic tub in his basement, but he wasn’t entirely sure what to do with her. She was lonely and sad, since she’d washed out of the canal during the last flood. He asked if she wanted to return to her people. She said no, her people would not want her back. A few times, in the month since he’d rescued her, he’d thought about asking why. But did not. Something in her magenta eyes helped him hold his tongue. He thought, sometimes, that he loved her.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Now the night is so dark...


On an early autumn night, just as the weather began to turn cool, I made an arrow.

As the sky shifted from powdery blue to a depthless royal, I shot it at the moon. It wobbled as it span, up through the evening air, past where men could breathe, into the layers of heaven usually reserved for the gods.

It passed uncontested from their now-empty domain, and toward its target, which hung in the sky like a golden lantern, guiding lost souls home. Through the nothingness, onward and ever onward, up.

My arrow hit the moon, and the moon deflated.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

He liked his sweets...


Erin’s dad

Was feeling sad

Due to his lack of cookies.

Erin’s dad,

When he was a lad,

Had chocolate chips fro his grannies.

One made them crunchy,

One made them chewy,

And Erin’s dad ate them all.

Whenever he was grouchy,

They baked up something munchy

Like peanut butter cookie-balls.

Erin’s dad

Thought about times he’d had

Eating grandmommie’s pastries.

So, for her dad,

Erin tried something rad

And made a chocolate chip pie

Erin’s dad

Was extra glad,

It was so good he could just die

So delicious, in fact

He soon forbad

Any cookie that wasn’t pie.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

He liked the cherry on top...


Michael’d always been taught to avoid houses made of gingerbread, gumdrops, candy canes and licorice strands when traveling alone in the woods. His fairy godmother had actually been rather ardent about it, and had schooled him very early on in the various types of witches, crones, wizards, mages and hermits that occupied the forests of their fair land, so that he’d be fully aware of the many woodland inhabitants that suffered no compunction about eating young men on their way to grandma’s house. She’d said nothing, however, about cottages shaped like cupcakes, that tasted like vanilla. So he went inside.

Monday, October 3, 2011

They chained her up at night...


The dwarves didn’t find Snow White and invite her back to their cottage as abduct her from the clearing in the wood, chloroform her, and drag her back to their cottage. They forced her to wash their dishes and cook their meals, clean their coal and dirt-covered tunics and massage their ripe, leather shoe-baked feet. And the girl did it. Out of fear, mostly. She was equally afraid of her captors, with their pickaxes, as she was of stepmother finding her, if she strayed too far in the woods. Snow White spent most of her time praying for death.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

No one went in that section anyway...


Everyone had assumed that Mrs Humphrey had met an unfortunate and perhaps untimely end by the third day that she failed to show up for work. On the second day, a coworker went round her house to see if anything had happened to the elderly librarian. But she was not home, nor was there any sign as to her whereabouts, other than a hungry cat. Her son hadn’t heard from her, the women’s knitting group at church didn’t know she was even missing. But everyone was startled on day five, to find her upright, and dead in the 700 stacks.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Then they demanded water from the people...


When the well ran dry, they dug a new well. They dug it deeper and wider than the last, considering the first a failure due to a lack of ambition on the part of the town’s founders. Those men and women who had forged the town out of the very earth were good people. But they had not looked ahead and seen the needs of the growing populace. When the new well dried up, they ordered people to fetch water from the river, telling the people they couldn’t expect to get their water free forever. Then the river ran dry.

Friday, September 30, 2011

I'd never be happy again...


The ocean smelled of salt and fish and other horrible things, like sea foam and clams set to spoil in the sun. The ocean made slid in to the shore and out from it, over and over, as if that were some accomplishment, and made those sounds the ocean made, like shushing and cheering, fighting with each other for a place in my mind. Sand grated at my toes, violently inserting itself between them, grain by grain, bit by bit. There was no part that was pleasurable, least of all the abuse of the radiating sun, as it baked me.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

They held long grudges...


The trees on the south lawn were vexed. They had been neglected for several months. The north lawn was pristine, and all trees, shrubbery, and plantage of every shape and size was neat and tidy. Wimer, the drooping rose bush had even been propped up by that gardener, the one the trees hated. He said horrible things about them all to the other grounds staff. He said no one should bother with the south lawn, because it was entirely not visible from the house, or the rest of the grounds. But the trees plotted. They never did find his body.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

He'd heard everyone loses bladder control at the end...


Thursday had arrived. Myron sat waiting patiently for Death. He’d gotten an appointment reminder card in the mail last week, specifying the date and place, signed by Death himself. First, he’d consulted his priest, who’d called in a fortune teller, who had confirmed with a man with a purple and orange glass eye, who claimed he could see into “the void of the human soul,’ and they all agreed; it was not a prank. Death had Myron’s number. And street address. And zip code, apparently. So, he’d pressed his suit, and went to the bathroom in advance, and then waited.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It sounded when it pleased, night or day...


Tick, tick, tick.

Tick, tick, tick.

The noise echoed off the stone walls of the castle’s great hall. It echoed down the corridors, past the tower, and down the winding steps to deep dark part, where the Good and Decent people never dared to go.

Tick, tick, tick.

It came in three knocks each time. And repeated randomly. For the last thousand years.

In the reign of the first Emperor, they’d searched the dungeons, and had found nothing. The seventh and hundredth tried to burn the noise away, but it always came back. Now, they simply vowed to ignore it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

She lived for these moments...


“Well, what do we do,” Erin asked, creeping back from the growing pull of blood that spread out from the man’s head, and slowly began seeping into the unfinished floorboards, then into the uneven cracks.

What Do we do? Annie grinned. “Hide the body. When Quentin leaves in the morning, we wrap it upon a carpet from the storeroom, drag it out back, put it in the wagon, take it out to the edge of town, dump him near one of the mines, get back before Quentin returns for the evening, then pretend nothing has happened.”

“You’ve done this before.”

Sunday, September 25, 2011


“Every dragon’s breath comes in its own time,” Malaimome told her young one. “There is no rush. It is not a contest, after all.”

Lawrence sighed. “Merrick has his, and he’s a whole year younger. Everybody from my clutch has their breath. And… and…” inhaling deeply through his nose, like he was taught in school, he concentrated and breathed deeply between pursed lips. Not even a trickle of steam issued forth. “What if it never comes?”

Malaimome wrapped a wing around her youngest. “It will come whenever it chooses to come. I just pray you don’t burn the house down

Saturday, September 24, 2011

He had answers, too...


Aaron was not sure of the exact moment he attained sentience. There were foggy memories, of things that happened before he could think about them. Bitterly cold winters, a bloody riot in the street in front of his building. The ever-present pigeons, landing on his head, leaving their unpleasantness dripping down his neck and robes, perching on his outstretched arms. Sometimes people’d talk to him. Drunk ones, mostly. The occasional desperate soul, always at night. He wanted to help them, to answer their lonely, beseeching prayers, or tell the drunkard it would be OK. But he was just a statue.

Friday, September 23, 2011

It drifted to my nose...


The deep chill of mid-winter was not yet upon them. It was still early yet; the earth thawed and froze a dozen times each week as the leaves flexed back and forth between crisp and crumbling, to a wet decaying mush. It left a dank odor in the air that never quite went away, but that was not enough to cover up the smell. Worse than meat gone off, worse than the sticky gelatinous blood coagulating on the floor of a slaughter house. The unmistakable, unforgettable stench of human rot—death mixed with time, drifting heavily through the unnamed wood.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

They kept her so close now...


Annabella Van Horten Rickterstein-Rice was not going anywhere, that much was certain. Her mother had locked her door, from the outside. This was usually only a minor setback, as her windows did not lock. On the contrary, they were actually quite easily to open. Then it was a simple task to slide from the sill to the tree that shaded her room at the end of the day, and then a short jaunt across the lawn, a quick wiggle of a loose rod in the gate, and then… freedom. But not today. And never again. Now there were guard dogs.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

She didn't know what to do...


Ellie swung high with her cast-iron skillet, with as much forces as she could get. Considered it weighed at least as much as a small child. It connected with the back of the intruder’s head, firm at first, then giving with a wet, watery crack, like a split watermelon. The force traveled back up the handle, into her palm, jarring her so hard she involuntarily let go. The pan hit the wood floorboards at the same time as the man, one with a metal tink and the other with the soft, malleable thud of a sack of flour tipping over.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The fight went on...


They came for our camp every night, just as the moon rose above the trees. The Smilers. They came in swarms. Pudgy, not quite spherical masses of white with bright features smeared on in lumpy paint that smelled like sugar and death. Every night we would hack at them with our swords, and bits of them would fall away. One soldier joked that the masses tasted like some sort of manna, sent by the gods to sustain us. We were appalled he would try to eat Smiler parts, no matter how hungry we were. He was killed for his trespass.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kell was a clever girl...


Brambon gestured with sideshow flourish. “We could…split the proceeds. Sixty-forty.”


A smile rolled across Brambon’s lips. “Seventy-thirty sounds lovely.”

The girl looked over the mahogany cube with hand-pressed gold inlay. “Seventy-twenty-five, and five for my old mother’s retirement.”

“You are a good child. Seventy for me and twenty-five for you sounds lovely.”

Kell blew hair off her forehead. “Oh no, the seventy is for me. The twenty-five is for my younger brother’s college fund, and five is for my old mother.”

“And for me?”

Kell pulled out her laser gun and shot the odious man in the chest. “Death.”

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Failing the Seasons was not an option...


“Ven told us everything would be ready before the full moon!”

“I said no such thing!”

“You said--”

“I have flown all the way here from Nod,” Lei reminded everyone as she sat down, the petals of her buttercup giving ever so slightly as she tucked her wings behind her. “And I’ve done that at YOUR request. Now quit fighting, and tell me why I am here.”

The Four fairies from South Wood glared at each other, then at Lei. “The harvest will be late this year.”

Lei glared at The Four. . “Then your lives will be forfeit.”

Saturday, September 17, 2011

He'd also stolen a cat...


Arton had… stolen a few faces. Nothing disgusting, like that fellow on Nidis 3 that had taken a rusty shard of ship hull and had relieved four tourists of their faces. Arton had done it the old fashioned way. He’d hacked into the security logs and had stolen their holo scans. From this, he had constructed life-like, realistic silicone masks with holographic retinal replicating contacts. It had taken him weeks. And then, he did what any sensible sixteen year old would do, if left to his own devices with a dozen fake faces: He drank himself into an early grave.

Friday, September 16, 2011

He also wanted to be a lumberjack...


Simon was but a small fish, in a medium-sized pond. Truthfully, it wasn’t even a pond. It was an aquarium at the zoo. He was a small fresh-water piranha. That was evolution’s fault. If he had any choice at all in the matter, he’d have been a beautiful carnival fish with their downright ethereal glow. He felt like a carnival fish. He felt pretty, and like he ought to be swimming in salt water. Sometimes, when they cleaned or repaired his tank, he tried to escape. He was an aspirational piranha who dreamed of bigger, flashier things. In the ocean.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Death comes, in the end, for us all...


The fleshy giant green leaves

eventually drained and faded to an ascetic

jade as summer died

beautifully and romantically of consumption,

going brilliant gold and fire and blood-soaked

red, before fading away into a tired ginger,

and then…death.

Like Camille.

Or Nicole Kidman in that movie

with Obi Wan Kenobi.

This is how Summer dies.

Some years, she dies happy.

Other years, she dies well.

But she always goes

like Sarah Bernhardt,

dramatic, pretty, self-sacrificing

on the unknowing behalf of winter,

and always center-stage.

She grasps at the dust caught in the carbon arc

spot light until the bitter end.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

They also made knots...


Everyone since the dawn of time knew that cats were magical. The Egyptians worshiped them. Myths grew up about black cats crossing paths and bad luck and such. But no one was entirely sure where their power stemmed from, or its exact nature. It was actually rather of a letdown to discover that cats’ sole power revolved around their consistent ability to make working things stop working. It may look like they’d pushed that clock off the mantel. It may look like they’d knocked that lamp over while they were playing. But that wasn’t it at all. It was magic.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Clowns had long memories...


The color leached from mother’s face. She didn’t go white, though, when she saw the man in the doorway—she went a strange sort of grey, like pencil smudges on copy clear white paper. She froze at the coffee pot, forgetting that she’d been in the process of pouring water in the reservoir as she prepare to start the day with a bit of generic French roast. And here he was—the man in the orange and green clown costume, returned to collect on the favor that we all knew that she owed. And clowns never ever forgot a debt.

Monday, September 12, 2011

There were no answering machines...


The phone rang. Which was interesting, considering there was no telephone service in the house. In fact, all of the utilities had been shut off ages ago. But the sound echoed off the barren sitting room walls, the mechanical bell of an old black handset, like the kind Ma Bell used to make. In those brief pauses between rings, the bell vibrating from the force of the hammer striking it. It was so real, so present. But there was no phone. Which was why Tyron had no idea how to make it stop. God, he hated phantom mechanicals and electronics.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The elephant in the room...


It was tough being a fictional character. First of all, no one believed you were real. They would go about insisting that elephants didn’t talk, especially toy elephants. They’d tell children that Wendy the Elephant and her adventures with Samuel the cow were just fairy tales, written in books, and illustrated for amusement, and not because said books were actually biographies of Wendy’s life. Yes, she’d gone to the circus and had eaten too much candy. Yes, she had splashed the town’s mayor on her trip to the pool. And yes, Samuel really had been the first cow in space.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

They stole the more battered of the two copies...


“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Robbie whispered as he handed Jade the number scribbled on the paper side of an empty gum wrapper. “I swear to God. This is the stupidest thing we’ve ever done.”

Jade turned her flashlight from the paper to the numbers on the ends of the bookshelves, trying to figure out if the numbers went up or down. “Even stupider than the time we reprogrammed all the stage lights the night before the senior play?”

“Dude, we are breaking into a library at night. To steal a book.”

Jade shrugged. “It’s a really important book.”

Friday, September 9, 2011

This was no fun at all...


I was caught between a rock and a hard place. The rock being, quite literally, a rock. Some sort of silicone-based sandstone rock that had been weathered to an abrasive but shiny surface over the millennia. The hard place was my space ship. And, yes, I was stuck between the two. It wasn’t really irony. But there was something sad and poetic about having your chest crushed between the two, and the only thing plugging the massive puncture hole in your space suit being the giant rock jabbing into your spine. I hated Tuesdays. Also, I needed a vacation. Desperately.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dwayne also tap danced...


Dwayne was many things. He was a dinosaur, firstly. A red one. A T-rex, for anyone who was curious, or asking. But more impressively… he was a ninja. Which was something most people didn’t know about him. He didn’t go around telling people that, of course—ninjas relied on their stealth abilities. And lastly he was a cop. The last part was easy—the cap and badge gave him away. He tried not to bust too many ninja moves when he was on the beat. And he saved his fighting with other ninjas for the weekend. And his off time.