Tag Archives: Short Fiction

The Painting

“Where did you say we were going?” Ellie asked.

Justin shot her a quick glance and mischievous grin before putting his eyes back on the road.

“I didn’t.” he said.

He drove on, still grinning, He could see Ellie out of the corner of his eye and could tell she was grinning too.

“We’ve just been on the road so long, I’m getting a bit tight.”

She stretched in a way that Justin felt was to accentuate her curves more than to relieve any muscular tension. In fact, in ways it increased his tension.

He risked taking his attention off of the narrow back road to take in that nice form of hers.

Elisabeth was quite a bit older, but he wasn’t sure how old.  His guess was in her mid-40s, but it might have been up or down by as much as a decade.  He had heard that women that age liked guys in their mid-20s, particularly guys like him who spent a lot of time at the gym: fit muscular men in their physical prime.  Actually, she could be mid-60s for all he cared, because she was pretty hot.  He had been itching to undress her from the moment he first saw her. Continue reading

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Timeless – #writephoto

timeless

Time began from nothing.  There was void, nothing, and then grey as the Universe spun up.

Damn, I thought to myself, I must have slipped again.

It often took a few days to get my bearings again after a slip, but I’d start trying as soon as I totally regained consciousness and could see my surroundings.  I could be in luck and there could be something there telling me exactly when and where I was.

As the world slowly came into focus, I tried to remember where I had just been.

Ah, yes, China about 3,000 years before what came to be known as the Common Era.

No.  That was the last time. Continue reading

Blade #writephoto

blade

Photo by Sue Vincent

Givere’s footfalls echoed down the corridor despite his careful steps and the soft leather of his boots. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. He clung to the walls as he tried to tiptoe, occasionally glancing over his shoulder. TAP-Tap-tap-tap-ap-p-p. The walls were an ancient, rough-hewn rock fitted together with no mortar.  The stones glisten red in the torchlight with sweat from the moist air, giving the illusion that the walls were oozing blood. Even without the sweat, he would know by the chill that he was far underground.

Gevere was nearing the end of his quest.  If all indications were correct, the Sword of Nature was down in the deepest dungeon, a place that hadn’t been seen by human eye in millennia. The 14-year-old had braved many trials to make it this far and so was cautious – the rough-rock-hallway seemed too easy! Continue reading

Fragrant #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

A fragrant breeze blew in through the open window, causing the curtains to flutter. Todd walked over to close it, but Cindy stopped him with a shake of her head. The bit of late spring wind smelled of green and flowers and distant showers; it was fragrant with the scent of life and rebirth.

James walked into the garden. Mom was back there, but he hoped he could escape and have some private time with Margret. It took only a few turns in the path and they were alone, if only for a brief moment. She was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen, putting the flowers to shame. He smiled shyly and, trying to hide his enthusiasm, he led her over to a bench.

“We graduate next week,” he said. He felt a little silly stating the obvious, but it was a start.  Margret nodded shyly. “I talked to the recruiter yesterday.  They’re desperate.  I’ll ship off for induction the day after graduation.”

“Oh, Jim,” Margret said. She drew closer, so they were pressed against each other, despite his mom being close. He put an arm around her and looked into her wonderful eyes. With a shock he realized that she was on the verge of tears. Continue reading

Snowfall – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

The day dawned empty and grey, the air moist with a spine-tingling chill that spoke of snow to come. Not a twig in the bare tree stirred in the stillness that encapsulated the morning, nor was there even the usual chatter of birds.  If the puffs of the girls’ breath didn’t slowly drift away, it could have been a picture, though the field’s image was still alive and etched into their minds.

“It’s peaceful, isn’t it?” Marge looked up at her older sister. Sable nodded, eyes not leaving the tree, the sole interruption of the flat field, the only thing that had any detail in the light fog.

The day before wasn’t so peaceful.  The field was full of people, people talking, people shoving, and people with angry voices.  Marge hadn’t seen such a crowd since the Days Before. Continue reading

Honor – #writephoto

knight - honor

Photo by Sue Vincent

The way the sun rose sluggishly that morning; the way the mist clung to the tree branches, refusing to let go; the way the birds wouldn’t roost or stop to eat at any of the feeders, restlessly flapping from place to place with no rest; the way the light turned from a pleasant dawnish yellow to an ugly violent violet; the way a slight breeze made the ancient tower of the ancient church sigh and moan; the way the shadows seemed to dance and move instead of lying peacefully on the ground; the way that bark of the dog thudded dully, swallowed by silence instead of sounding bright and coppery, echoing through the streets; all of these things and more told the people of the village that this was no ordinary day, that things were going to happen, perhaps unpleasant things.

Penelope rose, sniffed the air and went back to bed.  She never did that; she was always the first to greet the day with a smile despite having nowhere to go and nobody with whom to share the day.  William’s car wouldn’t start, no matter what, and so he was late to work for the first time in over 30 years.  Bruce, who usually walked ever so boldly down the street, slunk with his head bowed down, casting frightened glances over his shoulder as if he thought a band of demons was on his tail.  And perhaps there was.

Lisa got out of bed, dressed herself all in black, as usual, though nobody that she knew had died recently, and looked out of the window.  Her mood, forever Halloween, her mind forever romanticizing a past that would in actuality horrify her with its distinct lack of indoor plumbing, she was just they type that on looking out on the day when the sun rose in that certain way, and shadows danced in the way that they did, actually smiled, her first smile in weeks.  She knew that things were going to happen, perhaps unpleasant things, and it made her happy.  Yes, there are girls, or perhaps I should say young ladies of 19, who are like this, just as there are boys, or perhaps young men of 19, who are like that in ways, but in some ways the exact opposite without a romantic bone in their bodies. Continue reading

Buckle Up, My Dear

Through the portal

For some reason I had an idea about reading a want ad where you had to go to April 6, 1971 to answer.  I Googled April 6, 1971, and this story appeared out of nowhere….

***

It started when I was looking through a want ads page from a very Alternative paper, The Random Times.  I found all of the typical things, of course.  There were the hilarious, such as “Clairvoyant wanted.  But you knew that, right?”  No name or address or number given.  Others were chilling.  How about this?  “Are willing to do anything?  No qualms or regrets?  Sent to P. O. Box”  No need to fill in the rest.

I had The Rite of Spring playing very loudly as I read.  It made a great accompaniment to the words.  The rhythms.  Those big chords.  It was fitting.

I was about to give up with a laugh when one ad caught my eye.  “Prominent Time Travel Company looking for Time System Engineer.  Apply (address deleted by editor) between 1 PM and 3 PM on April 6, 1971.”

I searched the date.  In the music I was listening to, the sacrifice was being danced to death.  And then I saw it.  April 6, 1971, the day Stravinsky died.

The music ended and The Firebird came on.

Rebirth.

It was a sign. Continue reading

Indian Summer – Short Story

Note – This was the first story I wrote as part of my rediscovery of writing.  I originally wrote it in November of 2009, almost exactly 9 years ago.  I wasn’t very happy with the end, but I had thought about expanding it to novel, or perhaps just novella, length.  I never did and haven’t touched it since February of 2010.  I hope you enjoy!

****

Mitch Longing was up early, well before 6, and witnessed the golden rays of sunlight as a new day unfolded across the crisp, stark November landscape. A whiff of Indian Summer was in the air.  It will be a beautiful day.

The little nook on the second floor of Mitch’s house was a perfect spot for breakfast, a perch that overlooked the whole village, letting him see the people, following the sun’s invitation, start to stir and buzz around town.

Mitch’s across the street neighbor, Jim Hawton, who looked as if he had been lost trying to navigate through his mid 30s and had only recently been found wondering about in the territory between his late 50s and early 60s, was standing looking at the remnants of his garden.  You would be excused if at first you mistook him for an old scarecrow waiting patiently for its owner to take it down for the winter, his back arched up as if on a pole, dark eyes staring across the garden.  He stood unmoving, hoping somebody would come by to ask him what he was doing.  He so much wanted to say, “Watching the frost sublimate”, but nobody asked, so Jim continued to stand and stare, his 20 foot shadow slowly shrinking down to 12 feet.

It’s not that Mitch could read Jim’s actual thoughts; it’s just that Jim’s thoughts were very predictable.  If he wasn’t watching the frost sublimate, he’d be watching the pumpkins oxidize or be thinking of aerating his garden’s soil, though on a day like this Mitch bet on the sublimation of frost. Continue reading

Spectral – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

The memory was vivid, though very monochrome.  The details sharp, even if the picture in Ed’s mind was one of a landscape shrouded in mist, a ghostly image of a spectral place.  The memory came up randomly, but was usually ignored, just another picture from Ed’s past.

Only it wasn’t.

Ed knew the memory wasn’t real.  It was a location he had visited only in his dreams.  He often wondered if the memory of the ruined castle on the hill was from some old movie, perhaps something about vampires, that he had seen in his impressionable youth.  ’Often wondered’, though, was too strong of term.  He thought about the memory briefly perhaps once every three or four years.  Mostly it was forgotten until it popped up again, a quick, spectral vision of a place he’d never seen. Continue reading

Track – #writephoto

passage

Photo by Sue Vincent

“This way.”

“Are you sure?”  Merle was pointing down a dry stream bed with his walking staff.  Or perhaps “up the stream bed”, since the direction went against the flow of water.  The path looked torturous and I couldn’t imagine anyone trying their luck there, least of all Brad.

“I’ve been doing this since before you were born.”

“I don’t know, Steve.  I guess we have to trust him,” Val said.

I nodded and let Merle lead us into the gulch.

It was more difficult than I imagined.  Though mostly dry, there was still some water and a few deep pools, but it was the boulders and the downed trees that were the worst.

I paused after scrambling over a log about 30 minutes in.

“This is next to impossible,” I said.

“If he took an easy path, they would have found him by now,” Merle said.  He shrugged.  “If he really wanted to be found he should have just sat it out.” Continue reading