Tag Archives: Spec Fic

Warm Heart, Cold Snow

“Hey, mister, you looking for a date?”

The old man paused and turned slowly. A young woman lurked in the alleyway, keeping warm by the steam rising from a sewer grate. She was underdressed for the first snow of winter in calf high shiny boots and a short skirt.

He approached slowly, most of his face shadowed by the heavy hood of his furred winter coat.

“What is it you seek from me young lady?”

“I just thought you looked lonely, wandering around in the winter, like maybe you could use a friend. I can be a very, very good friend, know what I mean?”

One eye glinted in the hood’s shadow.

“How old are you?”

“Twenty.”

“Closer to fifteen, I’d judge. You don’t seem a much practiced doxy.”

“What?”

“You’re a runaway, aren’t you? From whence do you flee?”

“Not important. Look mister, don’t you have any money, are we going on a date or what?”

He pressed a single large, golden coin into her hand.

“Run, child. Home to your mother and buy whatever comfort remains, for the Fimbulwinter is upon us all.”

Two ravens descended and perched on his shoulders. A wolf howl echoed far away.

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

139-01-january-17th-2016

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Chicken Man

The massive demon surveyed me balefully and snorted. When it stomped my direction, the ground shuddered from the impact of its steel shod hoof. The enormous flaming sword clove the apex star from my wizard’s hat and I fled, screaming, “Next!”

A hail of bullets greeted me when I peeked over the bar top, including one that removed my ten-gallon hat. Whiskey bottles exploded over my head and the sudden alcoholic downpour drenched me. Shaken, I called out, “Settings!”

The familiar Panopticon Goggles VR settings screen appeared. I don’t care what my gamer friends think; I’m switching difficulty from “Nightmare” to “Easy.”

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102 words, for this week’s Microcosms (#3). Prompts: Magician/the Old West/Sci Fi

Somebody Needs a Tic Tac

“Your breath could gag buzzards.”

Just what you need to hear first thing in the morning, right? This is a delicate part of the dance of marriage. It is indecorous and suicidal to counter with “rats have nested in your hair.” Because toxic exhalations can be injurious to the other party, morning breath is always fair game. Under the “promotion of domestic tranquility” clause in the contract, it’s covered.

Hollywood never gets that right.

Trained by years in the harness, I stumble into the bathroom for some modern oral hygiene methodology.

Reaching for my toothbrush, I freeze. My skin is roughening, drying out before my eyes. When I feel it, it’s hard. There are armor-thick patches forming and fissures between the… Scales?

I gaze at my reflection with growing horror. My skin is darkening and tinted greenish. With every passing moment, it grows thicker, harder, and I look more crocodilian.

Dryness is scratching at my throat, and I cough once. A wave of greenish fire envelops the toothbrush in my clawed hand, and the brush melts into liquefied plastic slag.

My morning breath may actually be atomic. If I grow 98 meters taller, I think Tokyo is in serious trouble.

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199 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

So yeah, this was a brilliant film…not.

 

 

Walk Away

The theme park in Santa Clara is abandoned. Like most of the town, all that remains is paint flaking from oxidating amusements.

“Going somewhere, pretty boy?”

Tight leather and garishly pale skin, she was another gothic princess perpetuating the entire “blackityblack” bloodsucker stereotype.

“I was just pondering if there was any reason to stay here.”

“Possibly not, in your case,” she showed fangs.

At my signal, the ActiveArmor™ burst into life. The shirt I’d been wearing like mail separated into tens of thousands of tiny scales. Each scale split into two wings, and a cloud of metallic butterflies dispersed around me.

Surprise made her hesitate, briefly.

“Cute. But do you think your bugs can save you?”

She lunged for me, claws reaching for my throat. The AA butterfly cloud descended on her as quickly as it ascended from me.

I’d requested customization from the AA sales rep for an excellent reason. Each butterfly wing features a tracery of silver conductor wiring. To a vamp, skin contact with so much silver is like showering in holy water.

“But I do want to thank you for the signal,” I replied to her charred corpse. “It’s definitely time to walk away.”

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198 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Fun stuff. Mixing genres is always a treat. As is hiding away “what does this crap have to do with this prompt” until the very last sentence is, too.

Who Can You Trust?

On Friday, everything changed. I was answering the tech support line.

“This is Darrell.”

“Listen, Carol Kryzinski. That’s proof of my identity. You remember what she meant to you.”

It was my own voice on the headset.

“In exactly four minutes, Carol will walk into your office. It will be the first time you’ve seen her in twenty years, right?”

“She’s an evil witch. She’ll destroy our life, family, and career. Use the letter opener, two minutes.”

“You can’t date her, Darrell. Listen, she’s going—”

Click.

“If you’d like to place a call, please hang up and dial again.”

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100 words. For the (final ::sniff cry:: Flashversary bash)

Summer’s End

Alexavier Shaw paced restlessly while his Expert System recounted the details of the morning’s stock trading. He was worth another billion, just another day in the penthouse.

The bar was out of Scotch, so he happily clutched the excuse to take a walk.

While returning, he encountered an anomaly; an ancient wooden door in the concrete canyon. Through it, he could see a field of wildflowers and hear birds. A circus caravan wound its way up a hillside and calliopes played in the distance.

Shaw grunted and pushed the door shut. He’d return to counting, because nothing counts but more.

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt:

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Admiring the View

Andrea carried her picnic basket down to the promontory to sit and enjoy lunch under her favorite oak tree. It was a beautiful tree, enormous and very old. Sacred to her people, it provided a fine shade from the afternoon sun where she could enjoy a book or even an afternoon nap.

She pushed the tire swing pensively back and forth with her toes while reclining on her back, munching her lunch basket apples.

A sail was moving in fast from the northeast. Andrea stood and watched the vessel accelerating into the massive wall of mist to the west. As always, she winced in horror as the captured vessel tipped forward at the edge. The thunderous pounding of the waterfall nearly obscured the screaming of the terrified sailors, and the ship was lost over the falls.

Andrea just shook her head. Someday, surely, the explorers had to stop coming.

She climbed onto the tire swing and kicked into a slow, broad sweep out over the edge of the world. At the apex of each big swing, Andrea considered the darkness of space and the twinkling of stars visible between her toes.

Now that would be an awesome vista for exploration.

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Trapped

“Officer, I can explain.”

The county mounty leaned against the side of my car, tapping his pen on his ticket pad and giving me the standard “tough cop” act. The flashlight lingered on me and then passed along to my sister, Emily. She squinted, crossed her eyes, and stuck out her tongue when the beam lit her tangled hair.

“Ya’ll know how fast you were goin’, son?”

His cruiser’s headlights shined directly into the cab through our Chevy’s back window. Blue smoke from the exhaust crept over the asphalt of the state highway between the vehicles, adding a surrealistic B-movie vibe.

“Yessir officer, ah’m sorry sir.” I handed over my license. Honestly, I wasn’t going more than five miles over; business must be slow at the speed trap this week.

“Jackson. Ya’ll are Louise Jackson’s kids?”

“Yessir. Sam, and this here’s my sister Emily.”

“Had Miz Jackson for sixth grade. She’s a good teacher, always liked her. Well, ya’ll are locals, no booze or drugs or nothin. So I’m not gonna ring you up this time, just slow down and drive more careful, Sam, all right? An tell yo momma Billy Joe Ladeau said hey.”

“Surely will. Thank you.”

He waved one hand out the window as his cruiser passed us a few minutes later.

“Why didn’t you tell me, Emily?”

“I knew he weren’t gonna do nothin’. That one’s got a good vibe to him. A slap on the wrist wuz all you wuz ever gonna get.”

“But when those red and blue lights come on, I just about wet my britches every time that happens.”

Emily just grinned. She can be such a brat.

“Where to?”

“It’ll be comin’ up on the right in bout half mile. Gonna be a blue pickup pulled off to tha side, some guy fixin a flat, right before the turn.”

A few seconds of silence before the pickup came into view and I turned onto the dirt track.

“Ah been here before. Ain’t this the old Steadman farm?”

“Yep, couple miles up this way,” she said.

“Spooky old place, why we goin’ way out here?”

“You’ll see.”

She gave me one of her patented “I’ve got a secret” smarmy smirks. She has the smug superiority of any eight-year-old, only ten times worse because of what she can do.

There wasn’t much left of the Steadman farm, abandoned for at least eighty years. It’s just a collapsing barn and a couple of topless grain silos.

Emily led me by the hand into the rickety old barn.

“Is this ol barn safe?”

“Relax. It done stood for all this time. It’s good for a few more minutes.”

In the far corner she pulled away a dusty pile of straw, revealing six mewling kittens.

“Momma cat dun went and got herself et by a coyote. In my dream ah saw her kittens wuz left all alone and starvin. So here we come runnin.”

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490 words. Inspired by this week’s Finish That Thought (3-22) prompt. Say hello to Emily (and Sam) again

If you can’t beat them

The mercenary army appeared in the village at sunrise. The butchery didn’t take long, well-armed veteran troops against helpless peasants. In less than an hour, the last scream died away.

Magister Ho shook the sole survivor in his gauntleted fist.

“Where is my former apprentice, Tuan Ti?”

The terrified peasant indicated a monastic outbuilding. The Magister nodded briefly with gratitude, and then his hand erupted into flame and plunged through the peasant’s chest.

Ho’s boot kicked the door open on the North side of the building, just in time to see a familiar face disappearing from the far doorway on the southern end of the monastery.

“So, Tuan Ti,” Magister Ho bellowed, stalking into the simple chamber where she kept her sleeping pallet. Hundreds of recently lit candles lined the long, narrow hall on both sides. “I see that you’ve been practicing. There was a time when your childish magic could not light even a single candlewick. So many at once, I am impressed.”

Tuan Ti sprinted for the boulder just behind the south door and dove behind it.

“Those aren’t candles,” she shouted back.

Everything on the north side of the boulder vanished instantly in a massive explosion.

“They’re bombs,” she whispered, removing her fingertips from her ears.

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209 words. Inspired by this week’s Picture It & Write prompt:

Who let the dogs out?

“Astaroth, do you remember our original plan?”

“To siphon all of Mankind’s wickedness down here into Hell and concentrate its mystic energy, to power the engines and increase the suffering of our guests. We’ve seen a thirty percent torment boost!”

“Excellent. We do have one little problem. You’ve left the lid off.”

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52 words. Inspired by this week’s Shapeshifting 13 prompt at Grammar Ghoul Press:

Photo provided by Grammar Ghoul Press