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.