Monday, 31 March 2014

Battlefield Timing

By the third day of being on the front line, I’d stopped throwing up whenever I saw a corpse. My CO noticed.

“So, finally gotten over the fact that it ain’t like the movies, huh kid?”

I managed a weak nod.

“Well, get used to it. Not just war, neither. Love, parenting… Life is just one battle after another. They don’t show you that in the fucking movies.”

Everything he said was true, but even so, the universe still had the occasional moment of comic timing, as evidenced by the stray bullet.

“But the most important thing to remember is-“

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Running From Power

He was pulling the crab trap out of the murky swamp when he heard the coughing. He leaned down, and saw her head, just above the water.

Eventually he coaxed her out, although she refused, or was unable, to speak. He guessed she was maybe twelve, and the rags she wore suggested she’d escaped from a plantation.

Over the months she never spoke, but she began to learn how to live off the land with him. Then one day, a gator bit his leg off, and then she reattached it with a touch.

He got over three grand for her.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Best. Analogy. Ever.

“I think you should just give it a try dude. It’ll be fun!”

He sat for a moment, thinking of a witty reply. After a moment he began to type.

“Oh, but you know me. I’m as lazy as a drunk cat.”

The chat room suddenly came alive as LOLs came thick and fast.

He suddenly saw a meme being born. Of captioned photos, t-shirts, fame, fortune, even if only for fifteen minutes.

But then he remembered that he was, as said, as lazy as a drunk cat. So he stopped dreaming and went back to dodging responsibilities as usual.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Seeing It Through

For centuries, each generation of the family was given the same deal. They would be looked after financially by the many trusts, and in all other ways by carefully selected servants, but they had to pursue The Quest, to reunite the shards of the Sacred Gemstone Sceptre, which, if reunited, would grant whoever did so true omniscience.

Sarah Wilkington-Freeya had a boost though, since she was the first to have access to the internet. And thus she was able to rebuild it, finally, and got true omniscience.

She froze, staring at nothing.

And then she turned to stare at you.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Saying Something

He stared out at the darkened auditorium.

“From the moment one is born, society begins to alter you to fit. It starts physical, parts of you are removed for aesthetics, religion or just to fit in, you are injected to ensure the herd’s health. Then mentally, you are trained how to think, how to act, how to live. And then your spiritual side is beaten down, day after day, moment after moment. Eventually, you conform. And then you die.”

The universe took a beat.

“Uh, thanks, I got my levels sorted now, you can stop talking…” the sound tech mumbled.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Found in Translation

Inside the darkened campus building, in a dimly lit room, a graduate student carefully slid the tattered book underneath the glass, and then flicked the switch. As the computer whirred into life, the door to the lab opened and the cleaner came in, mopping the floor.

“Oh, sorry love, didn’t know anyone was still around.”

“It’s all right, just translating the last book for the night.”

She turned to the screen and began to read the translated text.

“Whomsoever should read these words shall henceforth become the conduit for the return of His Majesty-“

And then the lights went out.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Having An In

He stood at the back of the theatre, listing to the speech she was giving. She rarely spoke in public, often saying that she wanted her books to speak for themselves, that anything she had to say would eventually end up in a book. But for her alma mater, she made an exception. And thus, this was his moment to score her. For he had an in.

So he waited till she finished and began to head past him towards the door.

“Professor Cerio says hello, and that your secondary characters need more nuance.”

“I agree.” she said without stopping.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

It started simple enough. She made jams, and so asked for my empty marmalade jars. Seemed a good way to recycle, so I handed them over.

Then she found this article, she said. How to make old soft drink bottles into attractive herb growing pots. Since I drank so much of it, I was happy to hand them over.

The toothbrush was just coincidence, she saw my new one poking out the bag, asked if she could use the old one to clean her brass, seemed silly to say no.

Because really, how was I to know she knew voodoo?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Radio Active

The rumors were running rampant through the ship. So, eventually, all the comm units lit up, and everyone listened.

“Attention all hands, this is your President Captain speaking. No doubt most of you have heard some wild stories about our fusion reactors, and how they were supposedly damaged after Secretary Engineer Zoel went Section 203. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reactors are all fine, and we are on course to reach the Eridanus system in 3.48 years. Thank you.”

Would have calmed everyone down, had C.A.P.C.A.L not been audible in the background saying the reactor was critical.

Saturday, 22 March 2014


I wasted thirty long minutes deciding what to do.

Say it was about twenty minutes wasted taking Hayes Avenue instead of cutting through Station Street.

I probably could have saved, oh, ten minutes if I hadn’t been pulled over by that cop about the taillight. I mean, I thought that sort of crap only happened in movies, but I was wrong.

Took me seven minutes to find the right gate, with thirty-four seconds apologising for running into that woman. Good thing I didn’t stop to help.

All in all, one hour, seven minutes, thirty-four seconds too late to stop her.

Friday, 21 March 2014

The 27 Club

As Edith Butel collapsed, her life flashed before her eyes. The upbringing in the south, dealing with a society that, since she was black and female, viewed her as a second class citizen within a secondary class. Music as a way to escape her life, first as daydreams then as reality. The dives and long nights, the demeaning back up work, and now, just as she was finishing her album, she gets shot and dies, ensuring she was young and pretty and a tragic loss for the industry forever.

Shame the bullet didn’t kill her then. But then, nothing would…

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Last Man On Earth

The last man on Earth sat in a room.

There was a knock on the door.

It could have been anything.

It could have been a tree falling over in the wind, some noise caused by nature.

It could have been a woman, it being her day to try and get impregnated by him.

It could have been a robot, completing its orders to go round offering life insurance.

It could have been anything, but in this case it was another ghost that the last man on Earth kept seeing from his padded room, here to take him to ‘counselling’…

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


Once the internet had begun to compile knowledge, being a librarian focused on compiling and storing as full a collection of human knowledge as physically possible wasn’t exactly viewed with respect. After Mina refused to allow her books to be put online, she quickly lost sponsors and patrons, slowly the various technical magazines and updated editions stopped coming.

But after The Greatest War, it became an invaluable resource, since the internet went down four hours after the missiles began to fly. A collection like Mina’s, it would help society rebuild.

Had the sprinkler system worked and put out the fire.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


Lynn Adams was not having a good day. And for a woman whose average day involved dealing with aggressive wildlife, looters and navigating ancient temples, that was saying something.

She worked best alone, but she had been forced to bring along Dr. Wasser on this trip in exchange for funding.

When they entered the temple, Wasser ran to the engravings on the wall.

“Ooh, I can translate this!

These pots are… eight, five and three… sahkoos deep. Pour four sahkoos into bowl to unlock-“

That was as far as she got before Lynn (safely) blew the charges on the door.

Monday, 17 March 2014


The International Oceanic Wildlife Summit was not going well at all. Far too many delegates were unwilling to negotiate and compromise on reducing fishing numbers, or declaring no-go zones, or any of the dozens of possible responses to the rapid decline in fish numbers worldwide.

But then this President Makara of the Hircus Islands, he slowly but surely, step by step, he began to get people to come to the table and work out a deal. Thanks to him, the “Reduction of Fishing” accords were passed.

No-one noticed the Hircus Islands were exempt from it till it was too late…

Sunday, 16 March 2014


“And why are you interested in Archery?”

He’d been asking that question for years with every new student. Most of time the answer was some sharp eyed superhero or hungry woman champion or something. But this one kid stared at him for a few seconds too long to be comfortable.

“To see if I’m good at it.” the kid eventually said.

A little unnerved, he began the lesson, teaching the child the basics of safety and etiquette, then let the kid take his first shot.

It missed the target.

The next shot was a bullseye.

So were the next eight.

Saturday, 15 March 2014


Tara knew he was cheating on her. She found his second mobile, although she couldn’t unlock it, and she noted the odd hours he kept, how he’d be ‘out with his buddies’ without said buddies. But they weren’t that rich, so she couldn’t afford to hire a private detective.

So she set up a trap, with help from her best friend, she set up a fake online presence and began to flirt and court him over the internet. He seemed to fall for it, until he told ‘Arachnid’ that he couldn’t meet her, he was already in love.

With ‘Victoria’…

Friday, 14 March 2014


Tula had been performing scales for over three hours. Whenever she waivered, he’d berate her and order her to continue. Eventually, her voice raw, she turned and demanded to know what she had done to warrant this treatment.

He sniffed at her and then pulled out a letter from the papers on the piano. He brandished them like a weapon. He accused her of wasting his time, that if she wanted to go off and study the law, then he wouldn’t bother teaching her to perform, she had to choose.

She didn’t, instead she lied and continued doing both, successfully.

Thursday, 13 March 2014


I saw her slowly running a chocolate finger along the DVD rack. Luckily her glass was empty, so I had two ins. I walked over with the red in my hand.

“Care for a top up?”

She turned, and her piercing eyes were the color of wheat, distracting me from her holding out the glass until she shook it.

As I poured, I glanced at the DVD she had begun to pull out.

“‘The 40-Year-Old Virgin’? You haven’t seen it?”

“No. Was thinking it could give me tips on avoiding the problem myself.”

I dropped the bottle. She wasn’t impressed.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


The jeep’s wheel caught a hole and flipped. She was the sole survivor, or at least was the only one to crawl out of the wreckage. After throwing up, and making sure the blood on her clothes wasn’t hers, she turned to face the wreck, and saw the lioness.

She froze, naturally. This wasn’t on the brochure. She stared as a couple more lionesses slowly padded out, looking at her with obvious aggression. As they began to move towards her, she closed her eyes, and prayed.

Luckily the pride attacked the hyenas behind her first.

Then they took her down.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014


Craig’s best friend was Tommy, and the two would often hang out. When they hung at Craig’s house, things were fine. But Tommy’s house was a lot less inviting. Tommy’s mother was very strict, always telling Craig off for not wiping his feet or for not being ‘polite’. Well, she did whenever she was awake. She would often not leave her room, taking several ‘naps’ daily. This was a little better, but when she was ‘napping’ or out with her appointments, Tommy’s family seemed gloomy. Craig eventually asked what the matter was.

She was just a bit crabby, Tommy said.

Monday, 10 March 2014


It wasn’t every day that Judge Castor had to deal with someone suing themselves.

When he saw ‘Pollux V Pollux’ he had assumed it was a couple, but when the defendant and claimant asked to sit in between the desks, he brought everyone to his chambers and demanded an explanation.

He was familiar with dissociative identity disorder, or at least the Hollywood treatment of it. And the idea that one identity wrote was plausible enough. But when the other didn’t want the resulting memoirs printed, it was a problem.

But both Polluxs seemed satisfied with calling it an ‘Unauthorised Autobiography’.

Sunday, 9 March 2014


For years, the various small villages scraping a living in the cliffs of the Tavros mountains (so called by the King and his men, those living there didn’t bother naming things) had traded with “Gordon and Buckhannon’s Travelling Traders”. Each year, Gordon would come with his wagon and his donkey and trade what little the villages had for what they needed from outside. He drove a hard bargain, as Buckhannon was a stubborn ass and wouldn’t be moved unless Gordon got an ‘acceptable’ deal. The people would sympathise, and then Gordon would pull Buckhannon’s reigns and off they’d go again.

Saturday, 8 March 2014


“I’m telling you, it’ll work!”

Ramsey had been trying for hours now, sure that his calculations were correct. He’d been sent all over the base, each level of military bureaucracy unable or, as he got higher up, unwilling to flat out refuse him. Now all that was left between him and the banks of missile launch controls was the General and the Chief Scientific Officer.

“We launch the missiles in… seventeen minutes and twenty-five seconds, we can destroy the largest chunks of the meteor!”

Finally, he got the OK. He turned and rammed his USB stick in.

And snapped it.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Racial Stereotyping

For generations, the Elves of the Bloodstone Forest had an uneasy but peaceful relationship with the Azitice Dwarven clan that lived beneath their land. The tale of how they made their treaty on the brink of self destruction was told by elders on both sides, and it gave both sides a sense of perspective on their lives.

Because of this, the Elves avoided the Dwarven shafts, and the Dwarves made sure not to bring down any land accidentally. And both sides agreed to leave the Goblins to their lives on the outskirts.

And then the Humans came.

And thus, War.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Church Call

As he was wiping away the blood, the physician looked at the monk.

“So where did this traveller come from again?”

“We believe he wandered in from the village before falling into the new well.”

“I doubt he was from the village, he speaks something akin to Britannic, I believe. Certainly his insistence on washing my hands was clear, and his attempts to put my tools into hot water, obvious signs of insanity. Demands for mouldy bread just prove it conclusively. Still, the leg is amputated, it is in God’s hands now.”

While the aluminium was in the doctor’s bag.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Riverbank

“So, one more time.”

“… Fine.

I took my girlfriend-“

“The deceased?”

“Yes, the deceased, officer. Her name was Ruby.”

“So you took her, what, from behind?”

“I resent this treatment and your attitude! My girlfriend is dead not six hours and you’re making jokes like that?”

“Oh, I’m terribly sorry. So where did you take her then, Sir?”

There was a brief pause.

“Down to the riverbank. We liked to watch the fireflies, and I brought wine. But I forgot the corkscrew, so I went to get it.

And when I came back she was dead, Officer.” he lied.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Changing Chivalry


Every day, he went through the same ritual.


As the major bread winner and responsible one, he went to work…


While I stayed at home and created.

“Swiss Army Knife.”

I watched him, sketching.


That wasn’t an every day occurrence, but today I was inspired.

“USB Sticks one, two, three and four.”

Because I’d realised something.


Despite his being the sensible one…


He had his own quirks.

“Goodbye my love.”

He kissed me, and then in a departure from ritual, looked at my drawing.

“Why am I in a suit of armor?”

“No reason.”

Monday, 3 March 2014

Going Out With A Bang

I came through the portal and landed in a swimming pool. As I got out, a few partygoers gave me a round of applause then went back to dancing, drinking or screwing. As I stared, a tray appeared in front of me.


I followed the arm holding the tray back to a cute enough girl in a rather skimpy black and white ‘outfit’.

“Uh, occasion?”

She raised an eyebrow and pointed over my shoulder. I turned and saw the sun, dying.

“You’re serving drinks at an Armageddon party?”

She fidgeted, and then I noticed the collar around her neck.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

A Bit Of Tail

He was the most elusive figure of the Mobsters that sprung up during Prohibition. No matter how hard they tried, the Feds could never find Larry ‘Guppy’ Iannotti. He ran all his orders through his Broad, Tina Adler, but no matter how long they tailed her, they never worked out how they kept in touch. Every dead drop she used seemed to never be checked, and every letter and telegram she was sent yielded no info, no codes or secret messages. Nothing.

The idea that Tina had knocked off Guppy and was running everything never occurred to them, of course.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Corporate Snake

The tap in the executive washroom was dripping. He didn’t notice, too lost in staring at himself in the mirror.

For years, he’d climbed the ladder, and he’d stayed true to his character.

There had been so many choices, so many moments where he was faced with doing the ethical thing or doing something immoral to advance his career and profit. Every time, he chose right.

And yet here he was, in a frame of mind he never thought he would be. What had happened? How had it come to this?

He was about to quit, taking a moral stand…