He’s not paranoid, just prepared. He tells himself every day. He leaves the house because he can’t risk it. Too many accidents happen in the home. But he can’t stay out. It’s not safe outside. So, he’s always in motion. That’s why his wife left. She didn’t have the stamina. It has nothing to do with locks on every door, security cameras everywhere, or the handgun he keeps beside him, even in...
Abigail and Penny get fifty bucks to play mermaids for an hour. It’s a cocktail lounge bar with a big window, attached to a large swimming tank. Easy money for an hour’s work, thinks Abigail. Soon, they’re in their suits and in the tank. Their moves are elaborate and graceful, but the crowd in the bar looks unimpressed. They seem to be expecting something. Only then does Abigail notice the...
Chad’s girlfriend is an actress, so he begs her to not take any “old lady” roles. “Look, I used to have a huge crush on Lea Thompson, until I saw Back to the Future. Remember the old lady makeup? After that, no matter what I saw her in, no matter how good she looked, all I saw was Marty’s mom.” Of course, Chad is single again.
It begins with a flicker in the corner of his eye. He thinks it’s just dust or an eyelash. But it happens a lot. In fact, it happens whenever he blinks. The light seems odd, like the lights went off and came back during that split second blink. He stares at the clock. The second hand should cut a smooth arc all the way around, but it doesn’t. When he blinks, it jumps. He doesn’t know how but...
hrothgar the dreamer
Hrothgar kicks down the door, but his heart isn’t in it. The novelty has worn off. Another kicked in door, another brutal fight, another sack of loot. Boring. He still fights with ferocity, but his mind is miles away. In his head, he’s relaxing at a nice, quiet spa, sipping rum and being massaged by a half dozen attendants. His every need is provided, and he needn’t lift a finger. He...
“Beware! Spirits haunt this forest.” Alana knows the tales. Of spirits that flicker like candle light, drifting through the forest. Like a dream, but always on the edge of sight, just beyond reach. She feels someone watching her. Judging her. As if they could look inside and see the shadows in her heart. She pauses, then enters the forest. Soon, there is a presence behind her and a...
“But, the cost…” “Look, it’s the only way I can tell what needs to be revised. How many best-sellers have I written for you?” “Well, since…” “A bunch, right? So you understand why I need this.” “But, to have your first draft produced in paperback, just for revision…” “With cover art.” “But, how can we…” “Men!” The literary agent is dragged helplessly away...
a visitor's complaints
The edges don’t line up. You can see the creases where the corners meet. It’s shameful, shoddy construction. And look at what the squatters have done to the place. It’ll all have to come down. Tear it down and start again. No other choice. The wandering god crosses his arms. What kind of person put this universe together anyway?
There is a room, a small room, tucked away in a lonely corner of a government building. Not a well known or much frequented office. Not any place of note. But in this tiny room, many secrets are hidden: Area 51, Roswell, the Kennedy Assassination, even the Bermuda Triangle. All the information…all the evidence…right there in that little room. Somewhere. And the door isn’t even locked.
The wedding cake is a true masterpiece. Guests filing in for the reception can’t help but be drawn to it like flies to honey. Very much like flies to honey. They swarm around the cake, chatting and staring and generally ignoring anything behind their backs. The magic baked inside the cake ensures that. Lyssa deftly flows from person to person, emptying pocket and purse. Robbery in broad daylight...
Corey lifts his shirt, seeing the ugly purple bruise starting on his side and back. Probably busted a rib, he thinks. Not sure how I’ll explain this to the doctor. The man he pushed out of harm’s way stands there confused. Corey knows that look. He’s thinking it felt like someone pushed him out of that car’s way. Maybe he’ll credit Jesus or a helpful spirit. Doesn’t matter, I did what I needed to...
The ceiling fans are made from old propellers. The chairs are seats from planes. Pilot’s Isle is a resort, in a Bermuda Triangle sort of way. There are airships here dating back almost eighty years. The isle is littered with the remains of experimental dirigibles, small engine personal craft, and even a stealth bomber. Over the years, the survivors have cobbled together a makeshift hotel to...
Some firemen are attracted to the job for all the wrong reasons. Carl knows he should feel bad about the loss of property and, potentially, the loss of life. But the fire is too exciting. The crackle of flames, the groaning sound of wooden beams just before they give: nothing can beat this. He shouldn’t play with fire, but sometimes he needs it. *** Behind him, the chief watches with...
The only thing Jonas could think to do was keep mashing buttons. The aliens who abducted him died quickly, probably from his cold. Now he was adrift behind the moon. None of the controls made sense, so he mashed buttons, hoping to land or get a signal to Earth. *** In a SETI research lab in Arizona, a young scientist called to his partner. “Uh, Gary. Can you take a look at this?” As the...
A howl behind him tells him how close he is: too close. The wind and snow had been blinding him, but it lets up enough for him to see the trees of Wolfdale. He stops running, knowing it will only waste his remaining breath. They say many things about Wolfdale: They say don’t go alone. They say don’t go unarmed. And they say if you hear them howl, it’s too late. He hears panting behind him. He...
doubt of a shadow
Pavel is worried. His shadow isn’t acting right. He sees it out the corner of his eye, moving slower than him. Waving its arms and dancing strangely. Pavel is afraid he’s lost his mind. His shadow is also worried. No matter what it does, Pavel won’t turn around and see the man behind him.
bad ticket robot
A robot is designed for a specific purpose: to build a car or to serve drinks, for example. A scientist built a robot for selling tickets outside special events. But his robot often had problems: printing errors, blank tickets, lost money. Many people complained that his robot didn’t work. But the scientist just shook his head. “It’s working just as I designed,” he said. “Everything works...