Pizza Tonight, Not Chicken

It’s Collin again. Yes, I still schlep pizzas for Cosmic Stan’s Any Time Any Place Pizza and Catering. (Here, have a menu.) We deliver anywhere in space-time, causation is optional.

The problem with tonight’s invoice is the delivery address, which keeps getting lost. Not like “not on file in the computer” lost. The destination is actually unreliable, never in the same place twice.

Mockingbird Lane is the usual place to start looking. I watch sun and moon flickering while my reality-hopper searches up and down the space-timelines. Whoa, got it—the witch’s hut, strolling slowly along on its chicken legs.

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Inspired by the Warmup Wednesday prompt (well, the challenge part anyway, “Include a lost thing or person.”) at Flash! Friday.

A sequel to a previous tale, Cosmic Stan’s.

Confused? Meet Baba Yaga.


What’s For Dinner?

He watched with anxiety as she took the first nibble. When nothing usual happened, he felt much of the tension draining away.

“Tastes better than I thought it would,” she eventually responded. “No unusual urges, no fangs or blood lust. Sorry Dave, don’t think your theory holds up.”


“The creature slumps on the hilltop, hunched over like it’s suffering a degenerative spinal condition. Maybe it is, given the condition of the rest of the body. It turns to sniff the breeze, and those yellow pulsing orbs lock with my eyes. Its upper lip curls and it growls aggressively at me through bared fangs dripping gore. Antlers tilt back, nose raised to the sky, it howls a hunter’s fury and gallops down the hill toward me.

“The forelimbs are twice as long as its hind legs and they end in massive rending claws. The rotting flesh of its barrel chest exposes internal organs. The hind legs are deer-like, knee bending backwards, ending not in hooves but in almost human feet covered in pitch-dark fur.

“This twisted, distorted zombie-elk-thing is galloping down the hill at enormous speed. It leaps in the air, I cover my eyes, and I wake up screaming in terror. Worst of all, I awaken with an unnatural hunger, an insatiable desire that must be fulfilled.”

Rebecca leaned back, letting Dave’s breathing calm and return to normal before flipping on the desk lamp.

“What sort of hunger, Dave?”

“I really don’t want to talk about it.”

“It seems to be at the center of this dream that’s haunting you.”

“It’s taboo. And it’s illegal.”

“What is?”

Dave said nothing, and just clenched his jaw. Rebecca tried another angle.

“You say this thing in your dream has a name, Dave? What’s it called?”

Dave murmured something, too low to hear.


“It’s a Wendigo damn it!”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know what that is.”

Dave talked to the carpet. “Wendigo. It’s an Algonquin curse, a half-beast creature. A malevolent spirit possesses a specific type of person and causes a physical transformation. It’s always a guilty person, the very worst sort of criminal.”

Rebecca scrawled a note on her pad, giving Dave time to work up to it.

“Wendigoes only possess cannibals”


“Here we are, Dave. I’ve shared dinner with you, and you can see no one is transforming into a malevolent creature. No insatiable hunger, no desire to run Mr. Simon upstairs through a wood chipper, right?”

“Guess not.”

“The Wendigo psychosis is a myth. There aren’t any cannibalistic nightmares roaming the back woods, and you don’t need to feel guilty about whatever you had for dinner last week. Human flesh was just what you were expecting, not any part of the actual dishes. You aren’t a cannibal or any mythic demon-monster. You’re just Dave.”

After seeing Dave off for the evening, Rebecca looked in the mirror, and saw the shadow of antlers.

“Maybe you were onto something,” she growled. “Now, about tasty Mr. Simon…”

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498 words. Inspired by this week’s Finish That Thought prompt (#3-5).

Anything For Lust

“The team employed the use of nightshade to get the information they wanted from their captive. Are you sure you want this is in your report, sergeant?”

“Yes sir.”

“Poisoning a prisoner is generally considered a huge no-no.”

“Sir, have you met Roma Tedesco?”

“That new sergeant on the front desk? I have.”

“She’s an Italian knockout, looks a lot like Sophia Loren. We brought in Vinnie Fin on a weapons possession charge, but he doesn’t speak much English. Sergeant Tedesco volunteered to help translate the Italian. By the end of the shift, Vinnie was confessing.”

“What does that have to do with your report?”

“Well, Vinnie kept staring at Tedesco and muttering ‘Bella Donna,’ over and over. Then he started signing confessions.

“Word got around at the station, naturally. When the guys asked Tedesco what exactly ‘Bella Donna’ meant in English, and she just laughed and replied ‘nightshade’.”

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150 words. Inspired by this week’s Monday Finish the Story prompt:

© 2015, Barbara W. Beacham

Pyramid Scheme

“Netjerikhet—can I call you Djoser?”

Anubis went walking with the pharaoh to discuss an idea.

“Sure,” the pharaoh said, “My mom always did.”

“Right. That Horus-tongue-twister is difficult to manage with a snout, take my word. Anyway, do you remember what we were discussing last week about updating your tomb plans using Imhotep for your architect?

“You said it was essential for establishing my dynasty.”

“It’s the only way to fly. I’m going to cop an idea they’re already playing with over in a place called Brazil. Imhotep is excited about doing it. A pyramidal structure, we’ll construct it from limestone blocks. It’ll be impressive for the yokels and really durable too.”

“Limestone blocks? Aren’t those like, really heavy?”

“Don’t worry Bubala, all you’ll need is gobs of slaves. You’re going to have the hottest thing in tombs for centuries.”

The structure went up at Saqqara with impressive speed. Imhotep used several innovative concepts for moving materials using manpower, which Anubis easily provided in quantity by enslaving Egypt’s defeated enemies.

As a tomb-warming gift, Anubis gave Djoser a new fuzzy robe. The hieroglyphs on the robe, translated, read “Slavery: It Gets Shit Done.”

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194 words. In response to this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:


Djozer’s tomb, Egypt’s First Pyramid

Culinary Sensation

Kuri shook her head free of the cloud of droning insects. She kept running, one foot in front of the other in a stumbling trot. Despite incipient exhaustion, she concentrated on fighting awkwardly through grasping vines and dense undergrowth.

The game preserve extended for fifty miles in any direction, at least. Zero chance to reach its border before nightfall, and darkness would surely signal the end. Stealing hurried glances behind, she dreaded catching another glimpse of the terrifying orange and black streak that had set her headlong flight into motion.

Broad elephant ear leaves slapped at her arms, and sharp green leaf-blades chopped away at her bleeding legs. She was following a rough animal trail, with frequent patches of machete-dulling dense undergrowth. Retreating from foliage impassable to anything larger that a squirrel, she was forced to backtrack many times, wasting time and energy searching out an alternate route.

She froze.

Thrashing from close by, something enormous was bulling its way through the creepers. Kuri covered her mouth, holding back the scream when broken sunbeams briefly illuminated something moving, something huge. Gradually, the thrashing diminished and the calls of jungle birds returned to the leady canopy overhead. Kuri drew a long and shuddery breath, closed her eyes, and changed direction.

Keep moving, keep moving. No matter how tired you are, you do not want to meet whatever’s out there.

It had to be enormous; judging by the volume it had made. In addition, it was considerably faster than Kuri. The coloring loudly screamed “tiger,” but did even tigers grow that big?

It announced its presence with a seismic growl, and Kuri froze. Back against a tree, she examined her pursuer.

Almost seven feet tall, close to four hundred pounds. Bipedal, it stood on two massive paws. Feline and furred, its striping was similar to a tiger. Barrel-chested and wasp-wasted, its ears looked all wrong, and its knees bent forward (rather than digitigrade, as typical in big cats).

One massive leaping bound and Kuri was pinned to the ground. Needle pointed claws pressed against her skin just over her eyebrows, drawing blood droplets.

“Are you playing with your food, Student of Mathematics?”

Another one, a foot taller and a quarter more massive, crouched in the shadow of the trees.

“Yes, Chthipt-Captain.”

“Good lad.”

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Kind of a homage piece, inspired by this week’s Picture It & Write prompt. Larry Niven or Star Trek fans might possibly recognize a Kzin father and son pair.

Cats playing with their food… We can blame Prada for that one.

Another feline feast.