very short stories

Friday Fiction: Midnight Text

Genre: Very Short Story/Realistic Fiction
Mood: Existential-ish
Word Count: 325
Rating: All
Muse: Written for [Fiction] Friday Challenge #136 for Jan 1st, 2010: A text message pops up on your character’s phone in the middle of the night. It reads, “You have 30 days left to live. Use them wisely”

Peggy woke with the sound of her phone ringing- and thought to herself- who was calling at- she glanced at the time on her cell as she picked it up- 1:47 a.m.?

It was Nannette, of course. Who else? Peggy went to silence the ringer and realized that it had only rung once, which meant it was a text and not an actual call. She clicked through to read it, after a moment of indecision about just rolling over and going back to sleep. It read, “U hav 30 daz 2 live- use them wisely.”

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Categories: fiction, Uncategorized, very short stories | 3 Comments

Millie’s Brush with Reality

Genre: Science Fiction
Word Count: 684
Rating: All
Summary: Millie isn’t all that smart. That doesn’t stop her from seeing what she isn’t supposed to see.

It was a Tuesday, Millie remembered that much.

Categories: AugNaWriMo, fiction, science fiction, very short stories | Leave a comment

Broken

Genre: Sci-fi
Word Count: 257
Rating: 10+
Summary: Another way out? There is no other way out.
Author’s Note: In honor of the serial I was intending to post today being overly coy, I’m posting this little slice of a story that I will likely never develop into anything else. There will be two serials next week.

Broken

Broken- it is broken- and Meriafta doesn’t think there will be time to fix it, let alone set the dials, align the templates.

“Is it optimized?” Brilltan asks in a huffing breath thrown over her shoulder between volleys. The sounds of the battle sluice through the air from beyond her.

“No. It’s shot,” Meriafta hollers back at her, “We need another way out.”

Next to Meriafta, her junior- Kellin- is panicking. “Another way out? There is no other way out!” she screams and tries to pull the unit from Meriafta’s hands. It falls from both their grasps and hits the stone floor with a sickening crack. Pieces of the housing skitter across the room and the power source hisses and fizzles out. “Oh! Dibrit save us!” Kellin wails and stoops to pick up the pieces.

Meriafta leaves her to it, knowing that there is no hope of ever making it work again now. “Brilltan! We need that other way,” she yells, pulling her weapon and coming up close to their rear defender. “Brill!” Meriafta barks at her.

Brilltan ducks down behind the wall she has been using for cover and looks over at Meriafta, her face a hard smirk. “Ria, I’m on it. Their numbers are great, but I’m on it.” Brilltan reloads, steadies herself and spins back around the corner firing away.

Meriafta watches as enemies go down in rapid succession. She hefts her weapon and follows in Brill’s wake, taking out a few of them, but her contribution is nothing compared to the rear defender’s.

Categories: fiction, science fiction, very short stories | Leave a comment

Underneath His Hat

Genre:Humor
Word Count:407
Rating:All
Summary: Underneath his hat, Will tried not to think too much about what exactly he was doing.

Underneath his hat, Will tried not to think too much about what exactly he was doing. Because it would have been strange and kind of wrong if he had been doing it in just about any other situation, but here and now, it was what was needed. It was required. He pulled the hat down a little more snuggly on his head, as if that might do something to stop the ideas from getting out or maybe in- as if the hat were made of tin and maybe somehow protective. He looked across the table at the six pairs of inhuman eyes staring at him coldly expectant. There was a certain way of doing this and Will knew it was vitally important that he get it right because if he didn’t- well, the results wouldn’t be pretty, to say the least.

He reached out across the table, gripped the ceremonial vessel and raised it to his lips. He didn’t drink from the contents- it certainly wouldn’t have quenched, but it would have caused offense if he allowed his hostess to know that he didn’t drink, so he tipped the vessel up and mimed drinking. He partook of the ceremonial food- it was dry and crumbly, but he swallowed it down anyway- to do anything else would have been worse than not drinking from the ceremonial vessel, for his hostess had made it with her own pampered hand. Then he pretended to drink again for good measure.

The hat itself was quite ridiculous, wide brimmed, oddly floppy and colored embarrassingly, but like the faked drinking, it was required, so he wore it like a shield, protecting him from messing up his assignment (one for which he was wholly unprepared and had been thrust into with no advanced notice when his partner had been vitally needed elsewhere). Soon he would be called on to recite, or perhaps even sing, and so knowing this, his mind raced as he struggled to recall the ritual verses, ones he had never been familiar with. He settled on a verse he knew would please and was reasonably sure that he remembered well enough not to offend and ran through it again.

He was just beginning to think he might just be able to manage the situation without his partner when his hostess proclaimed, “After we finish our tea party, we should be ballerinas, Daddy!” And Will knew he was doomed.

Categories: fiction, very short stories | 4 Comments

Dog Spelled Backwards is God

Genre:Humor
Word Count:517
Rating:10+
Muse: John Farley’s love of words(tintinnabulation dare- er, challenge)
Summary:Perfection is over-rated.

Dog Spelled Backwards is God

The house was nice. Okay, the house was great. No, really she had to admit, the house was perfect. Their perfect little dream house in the perfect little town in the country. It was on a quiet little street and the neighbors had already managed to show up with coffee cake and French roast and a really helpful little list of where important places in town were- the general store, the post office, the church and the synagogue, the town hall and the two small schools, the only restaurant that served breakfasts and the one that served lunches and dinners. Then the neighbors politely disappeared just before they all ran out of things to say with the promise of a backyard barbeque that weekend, but no other expectations from them. Apparently the neighbors were really kind of perfect, too.

As they settled into their really perfect life, she started to notice a certain something- a cranky restlessness that got harder and harder to ignore. She was a city girl, her friends had always been drama kings and queens, getting things done had always taken more time and work and money than expected- and, in a strange sort of way, she liked that. As soon as she recognized this, the restlessness increased ten-fold. She missed being aggravated so much it was, well, it was aggravating.

Tommy, her fantastic and ever-loving husband decided to do the next logical thing in building them a perfect life- he got them a dog. At first, the tiny puppy was just a bundle of fluffy cuteness and, amazingly, he trained quickly- no messes in the house, no chewed up furniture, he actually liked the chew toys they bought for him. He was like a pod-puppy, a little robot dog, save for how affectionate he was. He was just so disappointingly perfect, she almost couldn’t stand to look at him. She was starting to lose it big time.

But then, a miracle happened.

The neighbors- the perfect neighbors with the pool they didn’t mind sharing and the ridiculously delicious barbeque marinade recipe- they got a cat. It was a pretty little tabby with shining green eyes and a sweet little meow. The dog took one look at her and commenced barking with all his might. He barked all day. He barked all night. Even though he hadn’t seen the cat for hours, he knew, he just knew that the cat was out there, somewhere, needing barking at, and he was not going to lay down on the job.

Her husband, of course was mortified that his well trained dog was going berserk over the cat. He kept apologizing to the neighbors and trying to calm the dog down and considering soundproofing the house. But she knew the barking for what it really was. She knew that the non-stop noise, the unstoppable din, the interminable tintinnabulation was a reprieve, a blessing and a sign from God Almighty that everything was going to be all right. She rummaged in the medicine cabinet for her earplugs, got herself a beer and sat back to enjoy the perfection.

Categories: fiction, very short stories | 4 Comments

Prama Saves the World (10 One-Hundred Word Bits From 10 Prompts)

Genre:Sci-fi
Word Count:1,000
Rating:10+
Muse:All the color prompts from my prompt table
Summary:If regular, everyday humanity could see time passing, it would be red- a deep, brimming red that was ready to spill over into eternity and infinity and death before anyone could stop it.

PRAMA SAVES THE WORLD

1. RED

At ordinary speeds- which most human beings almost always live in- one cannot see time pass. That is good, because if regular, everyday humanity could see time passing, it would be red- a deep, brimming red that was ready to spill over into eternity and infinity and death before anyone could stop it- and that would drive them mad. Prama, however, can see time passing, she can slow it down until it is nearly imperceptible or speed it up until it splashes against the edges of the universe, sloshing out like juice rushing out of a well squeezed blood orange.

2. ORANGE
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Categories: fiction, science fiction, very short stories | 3 Comments

Burning the Leopard

For the Fiction Friday Leopard Print Dress Prompt, I present

Burning the Leopard
Word Count:538
Rating:10+
Summary:Independance smells like burning polyester and toasted marshmallows.

It had hung in her closet for a good eight months- since Halloween when she had almost, but not quite, gone to that party as a cavewoman. But, he had called at the last minute- and it really was the last minute- she had already put the stinkin’ bone in her hair- he had called at the last minute to say that he couldn’t make it- emergency at the office- deadline he was about to miss- will make it up to her- promises and kisses and blah, blah, blah yankee doodle dandy- goodbye. So, she had sat there, bone in her hair- held in with about six pounds of styling goo- and ate cold leftover Chinese takeout and marshmallows in the dark- she didn’t have any candy (save the marshmallows) to give the trick or treat-ers, so the dark was mostly self preservation than self pity (but not completely). In the morning, she had hung the dress up and taken another shower- the goo was still in her hair, even after last night’s attempt at toxic waste cleanup- and gone to work. That evening, she got a really short haircut- she was lucky she hadn’t needed a wig- the girl had given her two deep conditioning treatments trying to save her long dark hair, but nothing doing. He had complained about the new do- made her look to boyish- he missed the soft waves twining around his fingers- why was she such a slave to fashion anyway? Ridiculous woman.

And even though that moment when he had called her ridiculous had been the last one he had been able to call her his, she had not let go of him or the ways he made her feel- the good way, the bad way because they were so intertwined, the good and the bad and the good had felt too precious to let go of. But now, now she could see it for what it had been- desperation- because now, now she had done something- not anything much, just mastered a small goal, a trifling really, but it was hers and it was good and she had her own damned good to hold on to, so she didn’t need what he had given her- not one bit of it.

So, she had pulled it- the Leopard Print Dress of Doom- she had pulled it roughly from the hanger and thrown it on top of the pile- pictures and love notes (okay printed out emails) and that ugly scarf his Great Aunt Tilly had knitted for her and the rest of the detritus from their ridiculous relationship. Then she had doused the whole kit and caboodle with lighter fluid and lit them afire. The Leopard Print Dress of Doom sort of melted instead of burning and it gave of a nasty stink- kind of oily from the polyester- as it burned.

The kids who lived next door peeked over the fence to see what she was doing, so she invited them to come on over and found them some sticks and they all roasted their marshmallows together. Before they left, she promised to have some super mondo fantastic candy for Halloween to make up for last year.

Categories: fiction, very short stories | 6 Comments

Online Fiction Recommendation

So, another writer, whose blog I’ve recently started reading, has posted a series of short stories titled Instructions to a Young Deity. It is funny and clever and you all should go read it right now.

1. Time Travellers
2. Delegating/Color Scheme
3. in the beginning, there was the Word
4. Intelligence
5. Laws of Physics

Go on now. Run along and read, then tell Vive how great she is.

Categories: fantasy, fiction, Online Fiction Recommendation, science fiction, serial fiction, very short stories | Leave a comment

Trees

Genre:Uhh…
Mood:Playful
Word Count:249
Rating:all
Muse:my laundry
Summary:A semi-autobiographical picture/prose thing I put together.

“What are you doing under there?” he asked, walking past the clothes drying in the sun, their smell- citrus-y detergent smell- wafting on the wind.

“New perspective,” she explained from the spot she had picked on the ground below the trees and their foliage.

He went into the garden to plant seeds and measure the asparagus.

When the breeze gusted stronger, her still wet blue jeans flapped just enough to let the blaze of the sun flash through.

Another, smaller voice asked another question: “Mom, why are you taking pictures of my underwear?” The head that went with the voice floated into the viewscreen.

“Look up. See how the laundry tree and its leaves are below and the real tree and its leaves are above.” The real leaves made soft rustling noises in the warm, spring wind.

“Oh, okay.” The small man went to play soccer in the yard.

She smelled the fresh cut grass that itched on the spot of back-skin where her shirt had ridden up. She smelled the blooms on the breeze, felt the lush warmth of just the right amount of moisture in the air. She heard the faint, brassy notes of trumpet practice coming out from the open window. Mary Had a Little Lamb?

She only laid there a few minutes, but the renewal of the changed season seeped into her and she crawled out from under much more alive than she had been before.

Categories: fiction, picture-prose thing, very short stories | Leave a comment

The Heroine at Four

She was four. Really four. Four in a way that left no doubt. In a way that made every age she once was and would ever be utterly irrelevant. Four was what she was. Undeniably.

And therefore, she was a diva. And she did all she could to get her way because her way was the only way that was worth considering. And no amount of scolding, no number of time-outs or dessert-less evenings was going to change that. Not that any of that was even fair. All she was doing was trying to make the people around her understand that she was right. They were so wrong to be so mean to her. Rude things.

And so, it came a great shock when those rude things, namely her parents, went off and died far earlier than was convenient for her. They had to go and crash up their car and leave her so unfairly alone in this world she still hadn’t tamed to her satisfaction. She resolved to take the unfairness of her rude parents out on the next person who was going to try and take care of her. Granny.

Except, Granny was not Mama. Or even Papa. She didn’t understand how things were meant to go. She didn’t give in if breath was held until unconsciousness was achieved. She didn’t hold to making sure no public scenes were made. Granny just dragged her screaming behind her to the checkout and didn’t buy her anything. Nothing at all. Not even desserts.

She found Granny supremely unfair. And rude. She had better not go and die. That would just be the last straw.

Mercifully, Granny didn’t die on her. She stayed around to impose her unfair regime. Stayed around a long time. For that, her granddaughter was immeasurably grateful.

Categories: fiction, very short stories | Leave a comment

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