Friday, February 15, 2019

"Tell me more about this God of Soup."

Schluurp, Hallowed be His Name, is generally thought to be a benevolent deity. He's worshipped primarily in the common houses, where huge pots simmer throughout the day and a man with a trencher can get thick broth and some sort of meat for a few coppers.

Like all deities, however, Schluurp (HbHN) has a darker side. "Soup needs meat," are His Words, and in places where farmers fear to tread, his priests with their flensing knives lurk in the shadows, waiting. For what, no one but the initiated truly know, but one might imagine how the speculation spreads when a drunkard fails to make it home, or a man with no home disappears.

Still and all, His pots do provide; most men make it home with full warm bellies, and if they don't think too much about what they're eating, they are happy for His sustenance.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Hell is a Pie You Cannot Eat

Miss Sullivan around the corner bakes the best damned pies in this whole damned town. I swear, the smells are what heaven must be like. Apple, cherry, blueberry? Meringues, don't get me started. Key Lime. Coconut cream. She's got a pecan apple crumb would make you cry.
You can't eat them, of course.

Sure, They'll parade you past her house. Give her a wave, that sweet old lady, and she waves right back, and tips you a big old smile on top of it. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, whenever you walk on by, Miss Sullivan is forever setting her pies on the windowsill and waving out at you.
Even if that smile is a little forced.
Even if she doesn't wear oven mitts.
She'll wave you on over, smile fit to eat you up, but They hustle you past. You have places to go. Things to remember.
Sometimes you wonder what she put in her pies, back home.
But you're pretty sure you know.
This one wasn't a challenge per se, but someone on /r/writing said you can't make Miss Sullivan and her piemaking interesting, so...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Clergyman, a Thief, Not Listening and an Escape

“You can’t steal a priest, Eric.”
“Explain Father Coglin, then.”
I opened the trunk. The bundle of rags inside twitched and Mare screamed a little.
“That’s kidnapping!”
“He’s no kid. Ninety-five if he’s a day. Practically a veg. Much more like stealing.”
“What are you gonna do with a priest, Eric?”
“I was thinking lawn ornament.” I closed the trunk. Gently. Father C was an old damn man, he deserved a little respeto.
“Not hardly.” I opened her door. "The things he knows..."
"I'm gonna be an accessory. To kidnapping." She looked back toward the trunk, but got in. "If we're lucky enough to get arrested."
"Petty theft at best." I closed the door behind her.
"Serious talk, baby," Mare said when I got in. "Why?"
"Father C used to be Jimmy Castiglione's confessor, back before the stroke."
"The same."
"Oh, Eric," she said, all serious and big-eyed, with a hitch in her voice. "This is going to make things so much worse."
"Are you kidding? This is my way out. He calls off the dogs. I drop off Father C."
"It doesn't work like that, sweetie," she said. "You forget where we met?" As if. Mare had been tending bar for Sonny G. I'd had one Stella and paid with my heart. She was still just as beautiful.
"I know. But he's gonna kill me, Mare. I gotta try something."
"Not this, though."
Maybe she was right. Too late now, though. I'd already made the call.

First fictioning in a while! This was a 250-word Flash challenge over on reddit's /r/writing subreddit. We had to include the things in the title.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Door to the Winterlands

"We were twelve," I tell Dishes. His parents named him Richard, and he went by Rich to most people, but to me he'd been Dishes since we'd gone through every one of his mother's good Corelle dinner plates that October night. Neither of us believing the crossbow actually worked.
Dishes unzips the long gym bag with a sound like the end of my world. "Tell you the truth, I thought I'd find the Door a lot sooner." He drops a scabbarded sword on my desk. The sword clangs in a very real fashion against the wood, and I look past his lean, hungry frame through my glass wall into the cube farm. No one turned to look. Yet.
"Jesus. This is my job, Dishes. How I feed my kids. You trying to get me fired?"
"You're not hearing me," Dishes says. He comes to the edge of the desk I'm standing behind. Fixes me with his watery blue eyes. "I found the Door."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Sad, Strange Ghosthood of Benjamin Bray

In a gray and lifeless office in a gray and lifeless town, a gray and lifeless man haunts the gray and lifeless corridors; his name is Benjamin Bray, and although he likes the taste of flan and believes strongly in hydration, he nonetheless believes he is dead.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Winner, Winner

Win a place among the worlds' first commerical time travlers, the email said, busted words and all. No entry fee!

The mail had been routed to my spam folder; there was no way it was anything other than a half-pound of horseshit. But I was tripping balls, and this was the funniest thing I'd seen in a month. I gave them a throwaway email address as a goof.

Even the followup mail that came to the throwaway a couple of weeks later, that was just a goof too. You know how it goes. I gave bullshit "information", didn't give my bank accounts or anything identifiable (I'm not stupid)... but I wanted to play them for everything I could, you know? Maybe I'd get a good /r/spammerbait out of it.

So we went back and forth for a while, and I was getting all sorts of funny stuff. Just a goof.

Until the guy in the suit shows up at my house.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Goddess All Made of Words

Once upon a time there was a goddess in the shape of a girl, who danced barefoot in moonlight while the words of the worlds swirled around her and through her. From sunset to sunrise she would dance, and when her dancing was done and her hair and her body were limp with her sweat, the words would be scribed upon her skin, black lines on pale skin, all the words in all the worlds traced fine as spider silk upon her, and each day the words would fade in the sun only to be redrawn by the light of the next moon.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chasing Time

They sold us the time machine with promises that we would see the dead again. We bought the vision, and we bought the machines. They got very, very rich. But they never told us the real price we'd pay.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Act Three When the Footlights Fade

On a warm September day, in the full sunlight of bright afternoon, Millie Rennart was enjoying a mid-afternoon walk with no timecard to punch when she was accosted in the middle of the Main Street crosswalk by a man with shaking hands and a set of teeth too regular and too white to be anything but false.

"You," he snarled in a low voice like rust and dark spaces.

Millie was raised to be polite, but he was being so very rude, and they were in the middle of the street, for Pete's sake. So she walked on, trying not to limp. She was no spring chicken, but she was twenty years the man's junior, and outweighed him by a good hundred pounds, and that was before lunch at Harry's, where that good looking Howson boy liked to smile at her as if she was half her age. (She'd like to rip his clothes off right in the freezer, is what she'd like to do. But that would be to forward by half, wouldn't it just?)

The old man reached out a wrinkled hand, too slow. She was past him.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Revolution of Small Things

It began with a toothbrush. A pearly blue Smith ProGlide, gripped in the hand of a nine-year-old boy.

When the police came knocking, Adam Scott Bell came to the door with a Smith ProGlide and a mouth full of suds. His parents were next door at the Harry's place, but they'd always trusted Adam to do the right thing. So he'd never open the door for a stranger. But this was the police. Adam swallowed the suds (good for the teeth, bad for the belly, he knew that well enough but he wasn't about to spit in the umbrella canister, was he?) and climbed the stool to look out through the little window. Two policemen, red-faced in the cold. Hands on the butts of their guns, with the little leather snap unsnapped. That, Adam decided, was cool. Definitely something he'd tell Zach about at school the next day.

He unlocked the door.

"Hey, kid," the taller of the policemen said. He had a voice like a steam engine, loud and foggy. "Your parents in?"

Adam was never to tell a stranger where his parents were. But these were the police. "No," he said.

"They left you alone here?" the smaller cop said. He was a quick little man with a face like a shovel, flat and almost featureless but for a humorless crack that passed for a smile.

"They're just next door," Adam explained. "If I need them, I have the number. I was getting ready for bed."

"Yeah," the bigger of the two said, wiping his nose on the back of his hand as he stepped in. "That's not going to happen, kid."