Tag Archives: flash fiction

Down at the Station

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe beefy detective slammed his hand down on the table for the third time.

Melanie promised herself she wouldn’t flinch, but she did.

“Who did you get the box from?”

“I didn’t do anything wrong.” Her voice trembled. But hadn’t she? Oh good god, what had she done? She’d taken the stupid, fucking box from that creepy lady. Her bank account had the money deposited, or so the text had said. Soon they’d throw her in jail and it wouldn’t be Orange is the New Black or Mayberry RFD. She’d probably die in a filthy shower and all because she’d been-

“Focus.” The bark snapped her out of the reverie. “”Look, honey…”


“Fine. Look, Melanie, right now you’re not being charged. You’re no killer. Hell, the woman isn’t even dead. At worst, you screwed the pooch. You’re young and cute. The DA will likely let you go with a slap on the wrist.”

“I’m not being charged?” She remembered something she’d seen online. She could go. They hadn’t read her her rights.

“Not yet.”

“Can I go, then?”

The big man scowled at her. “You can, but if you do, you damn sure better stay where we can find you.”

She stood. “I gave the officer my address and phone number. I want to catch the creep who did this as much as you do.” She had held back a few details, not sure that they’d believe a story about a computer making her the offer or taking money to do it. She’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As if reading her thoughts he got closer to her. Close enough that she could smell the corned beef and sauerkraut on his breath. “If we ask you more question in an official context, you better pray that your story hasn’t changed. Pretty girl like you doesn’t want to go to jail. The other jail bait isn’t all that you’ll have to be afraid of.”

She made a gagging sound in the back of her throat. She didn’t think she was going to throw up, but bile flooded her mouth.

He back peddled. “Restroom’s out there in the hall. Puke in there if you have to.”

She had already stood up before the second sentence started. She fled the interrogation room and managed to make it to the bathroom and spit out the foul mouthful before it caused her to vomit for real. Rinsing out her mouth made it a little better. She fished her phone out and texted Elard.

Come pick me up at the police station.

The text back was full of misspelled profanity and a promise to get there soon.

She waited outside in the cold, not feeling the least bit safe. Her phone vibrated against her thigh. At first she thought it was the phantom vibration she sometimes got, but it continued. She pulled out the phone and flipped it open.

Do you want another job?

She threw the phone down like it had grown eight legs. It shattered on the concrete.

The Voyeur – #VSS


Josh squinted intently at the computer screen watching every squirm and gasp. The stirring in his pants went ignored until he just couldn’t stand the constriction anymore. He fumbled his fly open.

The girl’s body was covered with a half dozen of the huge tarantulas. The guy that took the video said they were called bird eaters.

He chuckled as he thought about the “bird” they were crawling all over. He yanked his underwear out of the way. Before he could grasp the erection, a black box popped up on his screen.

Mr. Dewers,
I can't tel you how glad I am that you're enjoying my videos. They evidently excite you, based on your reaction.

Josh scooted back in his chair. “What?” The waistband of his shorts crept back into place, scraping his skin.

Watching the watchers is how I choose my next star. I hope you like leeches as much as this young lady liked my Goliaths.

Josh didn’t hear the soft coughing noise, but he did feel the dart at the base of his neck. When he woke up, he felt slimy trails on his skin. His screams echoed back from the glass walls surrounding him.


Helluva Tattoo (#VSS)

GaraagaSpenser had wanted to get a tattoo ever since he read the eponymous story by Paul Cooley. It was a super creepy story, but it dug at something primeval in him. He even knew what he was going to get. As an homage to the author he wanted to get an image from the book, the sigil of an ancient god.

He settled into the tattoo chair, face down, and waited as the artist cleaned his arm and positioned the transfer. He felt like he’d put his face through a toilet lid, but it had a nice cusion to it. The floor was clean enough to eat off of, but it was nothing exciting.

“Alright, mate, I’m going to start. This is gonna hurt a bit. It’s gonna look fantastic though.”

“I’m a little nervous.”

The artist patted him on the shoulder. “Nothin’ to worry about mate. I’ve had customers fall asleep during. Just breathe and keep breathing.”

Spenser nodded. He relaxed as the needles began piercing his flesh. He’d always had a high tolerance for pain and he was sure that he was ready for what was about to come. It wasn’t nearly as bad as his buddy told him it would be. It still hurt, though.

After what seemed like not long at all, the sound of the needle gun stopped.

He opened his eyes and was a little shocked to see that the floor of the tattoo place was no longer white linoleum. It looked like sandstone. The room had also gotten quite hot. “Dude, did I fall asleep?” He tried to raise his body up and felt the chains now strapping him down bite into his naked flesh.

“No. You died.” The voice sounded like it was filtered through grinding boulders. “Heart attack. Boom.”

“This is a dream.” He managed to move enough to rotate his head.

The face that greeted him was something out of a nightmare hatched by the lovechild of Giger and Escher. Its mouths were filled with flakes of obsidian. “No. This is hell.” It raised a needle tipped dagger dripping with black ichor. “Now let’s get that tattoo finished. This is going to hurt. Forever.”

Inspired by the works of Paul E. Cooley. 

Paladin Trap Detector (#VSS)

Ulrich the Strong looked from Rabith the Mouse to the door and back. “You checked this for traps, yes?”

Rabith nodded, shaggy black hair shaking. “Thoroughly, yes.”

Ulrich sheathed Demon’s Bane and placed one mailled palm against the door. “I pray to the almighty Elrath, keep your servant strong and whole.” He pulled back his hand and balled both into a single, massive fist. The iron braced wooden door shivered in its frame and cracked down the middle. Before the halves hit the floor he had re-drawn the enchanted sword at his hip.

The room beyond was cloaked in inky darkness. Igthan the Wise held forth his wand. “There is danger beyond.”

Even Ulrich couldn’t restrain an eye roll. “Thanks wizard.”

He inched forward into the darkness, Demon’s Bane glowing brighter with each step. He almost stepped off of the lip of the stone floor. He drew a silver coin from the purse at his belt and tossed it to the floor in front of him. He counted for a full three seconds before he heard it strike the ground below. A low rumble followed the ringing of metal on stone. “All is well. You can join me.”

Rabith’s step was almost inaudible. If Ulrich hadn’t been travelling with him for years he may have missed it.

“Watch out for that…”

Rabith screamed as he fell.

The blackness subsided as the demonic creature below dropped his concentration to advance on the morsel now in its lair.

Ulrich smiled as he saw the little thief crouched below, both daggers drawn.

“That was a nasty trick, Ulrich.” Rabith shouted, not taking his eyes off of the creature.

“I just wanted to see if rogues were as adept at finding traps as you believed paladins to be.” He smiled and leaped out into the room below, sword point down and aimed squarely between the demon’s shoulder blades.

Ightan shook his head and readied the first of many healing spells he would need that day.

Love Stinks (#VSS)

Love stinks. Yeah yeah.

The lyrics to the song played over and over in my head. I’d tried passing a note to Suzanne in third period. Naturally the note was intercepted by JD. He and I had been rivals for nearly everything since we’d been in Kindergarten. Now that he knew I had feelings for Suzanne he’d probably try and put his hat in the ring. I slumped against the tree just outside the lunch room and cradled my head in my hands.


It took me a second to register that I was the dude in question. I looked up and JD stood there with a dumb look on his face. “What?”

He held the note up between two fingers. “This.”

“Give it.”

He shook his head. The desire to jump straight out and catch him at the knees was strong. “You don’t want to put this in her hands. She’ll post it in the girls’ bathroom and you’ll be the laughing stock of the school.”

I had heard that most of the girls declared him persona non grata. I didn’t want to believe that she who held my heart could be so cruel. “I’m s’posed to believe this why?”

He sailed the note to me. “Believe me, this is one I had to learn the hard way. I passed her a note a few weeks ago. It happened to me. Granted my poetry was a little less Hallmark and a little more ee cummings.”

The note fluttered to a stop near my Vans. “Now you’re in the business of doing me favors?”

He waved his hands. “Not at all. This isn’t a favor, though. This is how people are supposed to be.”

I chewed that one over for a second. We were both sixteen. Had he grown up before me? I stuck out my hand.

He grabbed it and pulled me up. “Course, you could be different. She could be ‘hot for you’ too.”

I scowled at the now obviously horrible line he brought up. I’d have to give this some more thought. “Look, we’ve known each other for eleven years?”

“Since Mrs. Thunderbottom’s class.” We shared a smile.

“Why is it that we don’t get along?” I looked at the way he was dressed and thought about his last book report. We had a lot more in common than a lust for Suzanne.

He shrugged. “Wait, you aren’t hot for me, too?”

I smacked his arm. “No, I just need someone to hang with.”

“Come on. We’ll go drink away our troubles.”

“Coke’s on me.” We walked into the building, the first of a thousand drinks we’d share after being scorned, losing a bet, or just a hard day at work.

Toxic Latte

8053841955_96641bcd72_m Bud sniffed at the pumpkin spice latte. It smelled a little off, but he attributed it to the allergies that always hit him this time of year. He needed the caffeine, so he took a long draw of the scalding liquid. Something small and hard passed through the cup’s sipping hole, through Bud’s lips and down his throat.

Pain shot up and down his throat, like the object had suddenly grown spines. In a panic he tried to cough it out, but it wouldn’t some. He stuck his finger in his mouth to wretch it back up. Before he could another wave of pain short circuited his consciousness. He didn’t feel his nose mash flat against the pavement.

A few seconds later he was helped to his feet by an older man who sported a stylish mustache and white straw hat. “You okay, dude?

Bud’s voice had a metallic rasp to it. “I am well, citizen. I hope that you are.” The being that had been Bud turned on his heel and walked towards traffic.

“This is unit three-twenty. I am online and receiving orders.” It would only be a few more days before all the units were online and the conquest of Earth could begin.

Photo by Julia Frost

Sweet Music (Flash Fiction and Challenge)

I wrote this a while back for a friend’s podcast. I’m not sure that it ever got used (and if not it may yet be), but I figured I’d share it here. The challenges was to use a picture that looked good at 300px by 300px and write a 300 word story (EXACTLY!). After reading my story, your challenge is to do that. Write your story and link to it in the comments. It can be any topic or genre, just keep it relatively clean/work safe. I’ll run the three best here (if I get three or less I’ll run all three). Those three will get their pick of story from my Amazon store. Make sure that the picture is one that you have permission to use. The deadline is the twelfth of September, 2014 CE.

adelaide I first met Ms. Adelaide Hughes when I was playin’ piano in that smokey hall in Harlem. She was a vision in sparkles and feathers and had the voice of an angel. Playin’ piano for her was something like makin’ love, the risin’ and fallin’ of our voices together. My fingers bringin’ out those high pitched wails and moans from between her lips. I wasn’t always in control though. Sometimes she led me. It was a beautiful partnership.

Well, I got it in my damn fool head to go see her and maybe get a kiss and an autograph. I weren’t nothin’ but a kid from Alabama. There were better ivory ticklers in the city, and that ain’t no lie. I was just lucky to be where I was. I pushed that luck, though. I knocked on the door of her dressin’ room, knowin’ she was in there alone.

“Come in.”

I went in, keepin’ my head down. “Evenin’ miss, Hughes.”

“Bobby, so good to see you.”

I blushed. Didn’t know she knew my name. I stupidly held out a picture. “Can you sign this, Ms. Hughes?” I held it out, tremblin’.

She smelled like sweat, perfume, and cigarettes. She’d moved to me without a whisper and brought my head up. “I can do more than that.” She brought her mouth to mine; her lips the softest things I’d ever felt. Our tongues played with one another in an old dance. She led it and my body surrendered.

It broke all too soon.

She took the picture and kissed it softly, markin’ it with her lipstick. She signed it with a pen, too. “Bobby Anne, we make beautiful music together. Adelaide.”

I’d like to say we shared more than that kiss, but that would be tellin’ tales out of school.

The Fantastic Accountant

This story was inspired by a photo taken from a collection of stock photos. Click here to see them.

enhanced-22521-1400016682-17 Artemis never thought life as an accountant would be exciting. Still, working for his dad for the summer would be easier than flipping burgers at the Shake Star.

Dad pulled the Cutlass to the curb and nodded. “You go on ahead. I’ll park and be in in a minute or two.” His smile was reflected in his one remaining eye, the other covered by a black patch.

Artemis nodded back to his dad and opened the door. The Texas heat slammed into him. He grabbed the key from his pocket as he closed the heavy car door and walked to the front door of the firm of Gordon and Shumway. Dad’s partner, Allen, had been dead for five years, but he kept the Shumway name on the door. Tradition was very important to him. He unlocked the door and walked into cool darkness. The security system beeped at him until he entered the four digit code.

The smell of damp and old paper filled his nose. In spite of the advances that the early twenty-first century provided, dad still had a love of paper. The walls of the ten by twenty foot office were filled with books from floor to ceiling. They weren’t all accounting books, though most of them were. He’d grown up in this office for the last sixteen years and a good portion of one wall was filled with science fiction, fantasy, and the biographies of his favorite sports stars and political figures. There were also a few ancient history books, ones focusing on the ancient Middle East.

He cut on the lights and moved from computer to computer, booting them up. The two ladies that were dad’s office assistants, and had been since time immemorial, would be here in about a half hour. Dad always turned on their computers for them, so he thought it was the least he could do. Finally he sat down at his. The MacBook was already on and he checked his email. While he was double checking the spam filter he heard the door open.

Dad had taken a little longer than usual. He held a box of Dan’s Donuts in one hand and a battered leather case in the other. It wasn’t his usual briefcase, so Artemis raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Dad was a creature of habit, to a fault. Seeing some new gear, or rather in this case new old gear was interesting. If it was something he needed to know, Dad would tell him.

Dad walked around the counter and put the donuts out for the ladies and his son. He went to the door to his own separate office and fished out a set of keys. He was the only one who had access to the ten by ten office beyond. He unlocked both sets of deadbolts and Artemis heard the chirping of the other alarm system. It’s chirping stopped and Dad called to him. “Come here Arty.”

Artemis was getting to the age where “Arty” was starting to chafe. Mom encouraged him to let it slide. Dad was a lot older than most of Artemis’ friends’ fathers. He was almost old enough to be Artemis’ granddad. His own dad was long dead. Still, hopefully the nickname would fade soon. He flipped the laptop closed and walked quickly to the office.

The lights flickered on and Artemis looked around. The shelves in here were filled too, though not with books. Calculating devices, everything from an ancient abacus to adding machines that were new when dad was a boy, and measuring devices, like sextants and surveyor’s tools, had their places. Dad had ensured that he knew how to use every single one.

“Sit down, son.” Dad scratched at his bare scalp. “We have something to talk about.”

This couldn’t be good. He ran his fingers through his own thick, black head of hair in a mirror image of the motion. The “tell” was a Gordon male’s way of expressing discomfort. “What’s up?”

“You’ve agreed to work with me and we’ve talked about how important this is to me.”

Artemis nodded. “You want to pass the torch.”

He smiled. “Exactly. I know that you think being an accountant is boring.” He held up a hand to stifle any reply. “There are days when it’s sheer drudgery. I won’t lie. I want to show you something today that will inspire you to believe that it can be your future, boring or not.”

Artemis fought to keep from rolling his eyes.

Dad’s eye narrowed. “I saw that.” His voice held some humor. He got up and retrieved the abacus. The counters were made from jade and the wood was almost as dark as Artemis’ hair. He sat is on the desk between them. “I know that you know how to use this, but there’s something I haven’t shown you.” He picked it up with his left hand and held it like one might a violin, nestled against his cheek. With his right hand he flipped a few of the counters, seemed to listen, flipped a few more, and then smiled. His right hand then flew through a series of gestures, almost like sign language.

A breeze began to blow through the room and Artemis could smell flowers. He looked around the windowless office. The sound of birds filled the air. The wall to his left, what would have been the rear of the building started to fade and he could see light filtering through as though coming through a thick curtain. He stood, pushing back the chair. “Dad. What’s going on?” He looked over at his dad.

He’d stood and was now holding the heavy leather case. “Well, son, I’m an accountant in more than just this world. Decades ago, Shumway and I found that abacus and discovered that it could open a doorway to another universe. We explored it and discovered that the king of the country on the other side of that wall was being bilked by his advisors. We showed him the advantages of spread sheets and modern accounting practices. He showed us magic and adventure.”

Artemis blinked, hardly believing it. “So you didn’t lose the eye in a college fencing match?”

Dad ran a finger across his patch and shook his head. “Dragon.” He smiled. “It’s time for this year’s audit and I thought I would take you with me. You game?”

Artemis still didn’t know what to make of the jungle he could now just make out through the office’s back wall. He thought of all of the books on the shelves out there. He wanted to live the adventure he’d read about. “Yes, sir!”

“Well come on, Artemis.” He pronounced his son’s name with the timbre one would use with an adult. “Let’s go see if I can show you that there are a few things about this life that you might enjoy.” He handed his son the abacus and together they walked into the green light of the far off jungle.

Refilling The Chains – Flash Fiction

This story was written for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge “Subgenre Frankenstein”. I rolled my virtual d20 and came up with Low Fantasy/Southern Gothic. Enjoy!

Colonel Williams looked out over his fields with a sigh. Finding good workers to pick his cotton had been such a drudgery after the war. He was lucky to still have his fields intact he supposed, not to mention just being alive. So many of his friends had died and those that lived had lost everything. It was the end of a way of life. It didn’t have to be that way though. He had the germ of an idea.

He went back inside, into his study and pulled a thick book off of the shelf. Its title, Summoning Creatures From The Great Beyond, was in the original Latin. Most people took it to be a medical book. He’d been a doctor before he’d been a soldier, so the guess wasn’t so foolish. Even before his time as a physician he’d been a student of what many called the Dark Arts. He remembered his nanny, a Haitian woman, and her own magical dabblings. Listening to her as he grew had kindled his initial interest. He saw her heal folks and their harvest had always been the best. She took the credit. She also took the credit for the one bad crop yield they had after she and Daddy had a knock down drag out.

Through university and beyond he’d gravitated towards the sorts of magic most folks would consider “Western”. The symbols and arcane language would have been frowned upon by the church where he was a deacon in good standing. He knew there was nothing Satanic about a pentagram any more than there was about Nanny drinking chicken’s blood, or the prayer of one of the Injuns trying to make it rain. None of them were Christian things to do, but it was just another way of tapping into energy God had filled the universe with.

Now he supposed it was time to try a magical solution to yet another physical problem. He cracked open the book and sat down in a wingback chair. The south had been built on the backs of slaves and free men working side by side. Now society told him slavery was wrong, and the South would suffer for the years it had used what he’d been raised to believe was a natural resource. There was nothing to be done about the past. The future would need cheap labor and if he couldn’t get it from the negroes, he would find another way.

He landed on the entry for trolls. The creatures were tall and long limbed. They would be stronger than any African had ever been. The warnings were clear that they could be crafty, but they weren’t human. How smart could they be? If he could work out the right binding spell, they wouldn’t be able to lift a hand against them. He’d try just a few and see how it worked out.

As he closed the book he thought about a future where white man and black man alike would be able to use these trolls as servants. The men might be equals one day and would both have access to the same resource the war denied them. It was the right thing to do. He stood and blew out the hurricane lamp and retired to his bedroom. The days and weeks to come would be busy. He’d have a lot of work to do if he was to have enough workers to try his experiment before planting season was upon them.


Colonel Williams looked over his field of cotton. The trolls had worked out better than he could possibly have imagined. They were big ugly brutes, standing six and a half feet tall on average. Their skin was an ugly bluish green. It was hard to tell the males from the females, but so long as they knew he didn’t suppose it mattered. They worked equally well. They ate whatever you fed them, subsisting best on table scraps and other garbage. He had even managed to train a couple to work in the house. Mrs. Williams complained a little about the smell, but they soon got used to them

The real triumph had been when another farmer, Jebediah Elwood, had seen the work they were capable of and ordered his own. He was able to supply the dozen Jeb ordered and had made a profit over the cost of the raw materials the summoning required. Word was, they were working as well for Jeb as they did for him. It wouldn’t be long before every farm in the South had their own workforce again.

The truly funny thing was, he had a few former slaves come back and ask to do some sharecropping on his farm. He turned them down flat. “I don’t need you any more.”

The harvest had gone well. If he had any complaints about his new workers it was that they didn’t speak English. Oh they understood it well enough. He gave them orders and they took them. He hadn’t had to shoot or beat a single one of them. He missed that part a little. Recently he’d replaced his overseers with the more experienced trolls. They knew what needed to be done and taught the new ones precisely what was needed. He didn’t’ need to summon any more of them. They bred quite rapidly. He could no longer make money from their sale, but he’d made plenty while he could.

They had picked up blacksmithing and other skills like they were born to them. He supposed where they came from, there could be such things as forges. He didn’t really know. He’d long since given up trying to communicate with them. A few of his fellow plantation owners had expressed some discomfort with the lack of speech. “Don’t you see? They’re like machines. You give them what they need and point them in the right direction. There’s no fear of an uprising and the abolitionists didn’t know what to think about them yet. Even they could see that these things weren’t human. So the arguments they’d used for the negroes wouldn’t’ work here.


Colonel Williams wiped the sweat from his brow. Just as he dropped his arm, he felt the lash of a whip against his back. It wasn’t enough to cripple him. The trolls were very good at what they did. It turned out they were good at everything they did. It was only a matter of time before they were running all of the operations in the south. Within a decade of the first one setting foot on the ground, they had trolls working in government buildings as servants. Even the Northern aggressors started using them in their military as servants.

He remembered the night they rose up. He’d been sleeping soundly in his bed when an unearthly scream came from the troll’s quarters. Later he would discover that the scream had been heard all over the country at the same moment. Minutes after the scream, human masters were overthrown by the thousands. The trolls had gained access to all of the weapons they needed. They didn’t kill where they didn’t have to. They wanted their former masters to take their places. They’d learned their lessons well. Thankfully for the sake of humanity’s survival, the overthrow had been largely regional. While there were troll servants in the north, there weren’t enough.

Once he would have smiled at the thought of the Yankees being conquered. Now he would do anything to join his fellow humans in fighting for the freedom of their race. He hoped it wasn’t too late. As he worked he began singing the spirituals that had once filled the air around his plantation. They told of a road that would take them to the promised land. The old underground railroad would soon be carrying former slave owners to freedom.

He hoped he’d make it. He had a few ideas about how to use his powers to aid in the trolls’ downfall. He’d managed to save scraps of his spell books and had other passages memorized. There were things called gremlins that were supposed to be a troll’s natural predator. At the rate the trolls were multiplying they’d soon have an army capable of conquering even the Northern armies. In another ten years he had no doubt Europe would be next. Perhaps the Gremlins would be able to do what he had not.

Creative Copy Challenge

Shane, Sean, and David post ten words and you creative types bang out a little “cohesive, creative short story tying all the words together”. The creative copy challenge is an excellent idea and one that I hope you will all take up!

Here’s my … stab.

Adrenaline flowed through Jake’s system. It was a feeling that he both relished and feared. It meant that he was in just the kind of situation he had longed to be done with. A man like him didn’t really retire though, that just wasn’t in the cards.

He tightened his grip on the Kraton covered knife handle, feeling more than hearing his knuckles pop. He had gotten used to the adrenal high, but never the bloodshed that was so often required. Killing men, women and children for a living meant that he had to at least learn to shove the self loathing down into his gut….

Click here to read the rest and see what the rest of the crew did!