The Bastard’s New Job

This story was prompted by the following image:

Coliseum in Rome. CC2.0 photo by Vlad.
Coliseum in Rome. CC2.0 photo by Vlad.

 

 

Lezzone appeared, his bruised body an ‘X’ in the frame. He didn’t know it, but I’d already teleported directly behind him.

“Beat you again!” I barked, rubbing my swollen eye.

Startled, Lezzone almost toppled out of the elemental zone pod, which would have been ironic, even somewhat unfortunate. Down below was the space-continuum, a dizzying, never-ending cycle through the worlds–hell itself–and where his mam resided.

Lezzone moved from the wall he’d clutched, swiping at me, but I just ducked, laughed, and called behind me, “We have to clock in at 532 hours.” Scowling, Lezzone shouldered past me, and was the first to reach the cleaning room. He threw me a SpaceSuck; then grabbed one for himself.

It was his fault we were assigned to come this agonizingly close, even if Lezzone blamed me. If I told our Grams we’d finally been to the Eternal City, she’d call it a bluff–like the old days when an fighter would land, but never leave the airport before flying onward.

If Lezzone hadn’t opened his fat mouth about my mam like that! Now we had to come daily to sweep this god-forsaken place without leaving its stone walls.

Even so, I’d teleport to 134340 if I knew it could make me feel legit.


Written for Flash! Friday flash fiction

Compare E.S. Johnston’s story, My Boss, “Handsome Johnny”, written with the same prompt

 

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Welcome ElectrAliens

This short story was prompted by the following image:

 

Chef at the Trans-Siberian rail wall, between Moscow and Khabarovsk. CC 2.0 photo by Leidolv Magelssen.
Chef at the Trans-Siberian rail wall, between Moscow and Khabarovsk. CC 2.0 photo by Leidolv Magelssen.

 

Never before has the wind whipped like cream and the ocean churned like butter as much as it did this time, in their new device.

 

I don’t believe in magic; fate either. But electricity–now that’s the hummer. I’d been a big fan of Tesla’s back in the day, yet now we electricians are considered old-fashioned. Biology dug its heels in the terraform, botanists growing tree-hanging flank-steaks and zookeepers corralling hybrids (I’ll never understand why they innovated Dragonflaorillas).

 

They must have come to me first–no less than eighteen times–because I’m loyal to The Currents. Nothing else could explain their quick-with-thunder appearances. And how else could the foreigners speak without talking into the circuitry of our brains?

 

Which is why I’ve stood as an “x” marking the spot, waiting the return of the electric geniuses to reveal their lighting, reverberating in glory from the stars. I’ll bridge this gap, assuring the masses they aren’t invaders but mentors. (They might even be gods.)

 

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Written for Flash! Friday fiction

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Average Advocate page of stories

 

Joe’s New Bed: A Short Story

This short story was prompted by the following image:

 

Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library.
Circus clowns visit sick boy. CC photo Boston Public Library.

 

Joe’s New Bed

His clean-cut world had been transformed, now shocking lit and stale with color. Even the newfound friendlings were over-the-top raucous, especially the stubby, multi-legged creature.

 

“Why Joe, your eyes are so watery you’re gonna drown the lot of us.”

 

Joe blinked his eyes.

 

“And look at that huge honker! You must be able to smell flowers across town with that thing,” laughed the friendling with the big red nose.

 

Joe slowly moved his unbandaged fingers, touching a nostril for the first time.

 

“What’s this?” asked a third, pointing somewhere low Joe wasn’t looking. But when Joe glanced down, the friendling ran his pointer up past Joe’s incision, smacking him in his face.

 

The friendlings laughed with glee . . . but was it maliciously? Joe began harboring the possibility that maybe these friendlings weren’t so friendly at all. Cautiously, he began searching for telltale signs of threat, like the needles the white-clads bore.

 

He’d have to be sly, outside the bubble, he would.

 

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Written as part of Friday Flash Fiction

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The Reject

Tunic in the Night 

Halo-Shoe Narrative #3427

The following story is inspired by this image:

Typhoon Maid Thursday. CC photo by Shuji Moriwaki.
Typhoon Maid Thursday. CC photo by Shuji Moriwaki.

 

Halo-Shoe Narrative #3427

 

There wasn’t ever the sweet grass prairie when she dislodged her aviators. Dee always found herself somewhere fantastical: a foreign landscape, some pounding club, or a colonist’s ballroom. She’d sigh, hike-up her stockings, and embrace the plot.

 

This time wasn’t any different; she stood proud on a mute slab’s edge. Relieved, she wasn’t scared of this cement. An expert judge, Dee already knew here was too idyllic to be another futuristic dystopian.

 

Instead, her attention was silently screaming at the rope swinging with dead-weight. Not again. Dee hated bringing calamity with her. But she ceased premature blame-casting, for who knew when he’d jumped the brink?

 

Story commenced; she nudged her toe at the coil, hoping to uncover a clue. No reason to keep her shoes clean, for the scarlet sequin-sparkle had shed-off literally ages ago.

 

On cue, her aching companion flared–that gut-wrenching longing–for her blasted, world-warped, clicking heels take her to where Em’s apple pie is served with cheddar:

 

Home.

 


Read E. S. Johnston’s story based on the same image here.

War Legs

1896 Olympic marathon. Public domain photo by Burton Holmes.
1896 Olympic marathon. Public domain photo by Burton Holmes.

(Note: this above image is the prompt for this story)

 

War Legs

Run. Run faster.

 

They galloped east. They skittered west. Now they trampled south.

 

Let those legs fly!

 

It always got tricky when they ran south. The dark trees spiked from the ground, a landscape barren but full of what mattered most- terra firma.

 

As their feet pounded down, the powdery dirt collected their energy. It was genius, really. The equation was this:

Directional Movement x Strength Expended = Fight Power

 

(As if a war was won any other way.)

 

And so they ran for their children and their mothers. Their sweet sweat translated into security. At least, as long as they could bound on.

 

Eventually, when they reached the power of ten in all four directions, the ground would shake, earth tumbling over itself, thrusting the enemies aside.

 

Only then would the land rest at peace and these inhabitants– in garbled socks and wool trousers– kick-up their feet, pull their daughters into their laps, and enjoy iced mint tea once more.

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This was written for this Flash! Friday fiction contest.

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Gemini V, August 29, 1965. Public domain photo courtesy of NASA.
Gemini V, August 29, 1965. Public domain photo courtesy of NASA.

Darkroom

 

I swore vehemently at the ruined print, damaged by my sticky fingers. I knew Doc’s sensors were off; I didn’t want a beating– even if only telepathically.

 

I was on a slow-track to finish my dissertation, so I still had to “play worlds” with Doc in the lab until he signed-off. Only then I could finally start galaxy manipulation.

 

In the meantime, I was stuck managing the lower-life. For example, the earthlings in this series. They were just tip-toeing into orbit now! Talk about procrastinators.

 

I cocked my head as I studied the spoiled black-and-white under the red glow. On second thought, maybe I’d tweak this one on re-entry. I conjured up a new print, immersed it in developer, waited, and carefully pulled it out to put into the next tray, then the next.

 

As it dried, creating history, I smiled. I just gave these guys a fighting chance. Maybe in a few eons our descendants could finally meet.

 

This 160 word short story was written for Flash! Friday Fiction Vol 2-38

 

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Wormwood

  The following story was based on the following image as a prompt:

Vardezia, Georgia. CC photo by Ben van der Ploeg.
Vardezia, Georgia. CC photo by Ben van der Ploeg.

 

 Wormwood 

Did we give them credit? Of course not. We are Life, they were bottom-dwellers.

They labored. When the storms and thunder came and went, when the sun burned and set, we paid them no mind.

Why would we? Wormwood was the least of our concerns. The Kingdom had the vicious Wyderhosiens, sleazy Mebas, and the violent race of Zyesis to worry about. The Larvi were said to be non-toxic to society as long as left to themselves. (And when not, they were known to bite visitors apart.)

When we migrated the populations from the dying planet, we left them in a boring useless sector where the Larvi could be forgotten and eat dust in peace.

But we do not have the talent to coexist. By the time we returned, the Larvi had transformed the tough, hewn rock walls into a masterpiece. Then we followed command, slaughtering the slimy peach creatures.

These new headquarters will suffice. Until we find something better.

 

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This was written for Flash! Friday flash fiction

THIRD RUNNER UP

“Wormwood.” For conjuring a whole world in a few words, introducing us to a series of races, and outlining a conflict as old as time: the rulers versus the oppressed. Great phrases like “non-toxic to society,” and “could be forgotten and eat dust in peace.” It’s not easy to cover this much ground so quickly.”