Posts Tagged ‘short fiction’

Straw

November 2, 2009

You may need to read this first for context.

Also this.

“Landon.”
He called up her recent sexual history.
“Landon.”
He took a look at her emotional state. She glowered at him and tried again.
“Landon, look at me.”
He was looking at her. She grabbed his chin and pulled his face toward hers. Her hands were warm. Landon looked at her body temperature: normal.
“Damn it Landon, answer me.”
She looked… he couldn’t sort out how she looked. He pulled up her emotional state. Apparently she looked less angry now, and more heartbroken, more frightened. The colors used to represent emotional states were interesting. Landon changed them. He changed the colors again. He inverted all colors in the visible spectrum and abolished the emotional graph.
“Landon, I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to lose you like this.”
He pulled up her geneology. She looked a lot like a maternal great grandmother of hers.
“Landon!”
She threw herself against him – tackled him, really. Landon turned, throwing her body around himself, but maintaining a grip on her arm. He used that grip to wrench her back toward him and pin her arm behind her back, lifting at the elbow. She let out a gasp, and Landon checked her pain index and paused. He slowly released pressure and turned her to face him.
“I’m sorry,” he said.

Burning Bridges

November 2, 2009

You may need to read this first for context.

Also this.

“This isn’t going to work.”
“What?”
“Get off, this isn’t going to work.”
“I thought you said it was-”
“-Well, I was wrong! You’re going to have to take them off.”
“Karen, we already talked about this – it’s important that I accustom myself to-”
“-don’t give me that bullshit! It’s not going to hurt you to take them off, and it’s not going to hurt you to admit why you won’t!”
“I… really, Karen, no bullshit, it just makes me uncomfortable. I’d feel naked – wait, no, that’s not what I meant. Uhm, it’s just… I have no idea what’s going on without them.”
“For God’s sake, you’ve only had the things for a week! What the hell could they possibly do?”
“You know I can’t talk about that.”
“Well, I can’t do this with some kind of bug-man, so I guess we’re at an impasse. Look, I’m getting out of here. You know how to reach me if you ever get up the nerve to take the freaking things off.”

Rite of Passage

October 30, 2009

The adolescent lay on his back, doing his best to remain still and calm.

At a call from the shaman, the room went silent and everyone gathered around the youth. They knelt and crouched and stood around him, craning for a good view. The shaman held a small metal file in one hand and a thumb-sized rock in the other. He raised the objects high above his head and turned in a full circle, then crouched beside the subject of his ritual.

He rested the stone on the youth’s chest and began to file it. The work caused the rock to dig into the boy’s white skin, and he winced, but he did not move. The shaman worked steadily for some time, scraping away. Flecks of stone littered the youth’s torso, dotting his neck. Finally the shaman stood holding up the large fang he had carved, like that of a wolf. He turned in a full circle and then looked down at the boy from his feet.

“Have you eaten of fish and crushed their bones that you might strengthen your bite?” he asked, in the tongue of their people.

The boy nodded.

“Have you sucked the marrow of your prey that you might take their strength and harden your teeth?”

The boy nodded.

The shaman turned to the crowded circle. He looked at each member in turn, and each nodded. He straddled the boy’s chest and took the file to his lower canines. Already some what sharp, these two teeth were quickly filed to a point.

The shaman moved above the youth’s head and filed at his upper canines. Without the weight of the shaman on his chest, it was harder for the boy to stay still, but he did his best, and managed to keep still enough that the shaman took no notice and remained undistracted.

When the upper canines were fully filed the shaman moved on to the final test. As he drew the file across the boy’s incisor, the youth’s chest began to heave irregularly. He took in wheezing gasps of breath, held them for a few moments, and then exhaled. His fingers dug at the hard floor, bloodying his fingertips, but he did not cry out. The scraping sound of the file on his lateral incisor filled the room. This tooth completed, the shaman paused before moving on to the other side of the boy’s mouth. He repeated his actions on the incisor next to the boy’s other canine, and still the boy did not cry out. When, finally, the scraping was done and the youth’s throat raw from particles of enamel, the shaman stood.

The young man’s father stepped from the crowd and took his left hand, and his mother took his right. Together they lifted him to his feet. They acknowledged him in turn, mother, then father, by clasping the back of his neck and touching foreheads, and, for the first time, the man raised his hand during this greeting and clasped their necks as an equal.

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Paul, Again

October 1, 2009

Paul woke alone in the darkness. He felt around the blanket nest, but did not feel his captor. After a few moments, his eyes began to adjust, and he was able to see, somewhat. This was not the utter darkness of before.

A sound caught his attention – a groan, perhaps. Paul stepped carefully to the left, looking for the source. The wall was dark and featureless save for one door. The door was locked with a beam set into simple brackets on either side of the doorframe.

Another moan, and definitely from behind the door.

Paul looked around the room behind him and turned back to the door. Then he paused, chewed his lip, and went to survey the rest of his place of confinement.

Facing away from the door from where the noises were coming, Paul could see a boarded up window on his left, a doorway covered by draped cloth opposite him, and a solidly barricaded door on the farther end of the right-hand wall. Between the two doors was some counterspace and holes for appliances – what used to be a kitchen. Closer to Paul was the blanket nest where he awoke. Paul remembered that through the draped doorway was another room, and the bathroom, so he contemplated the door to his right.

The bar over the door, along with the several locks,  indicated that this, unlike the other doors, was a way out. Paul thought about last night’s warning about a possible attack, and decided that he wasn’t ready to venture out, just yet. Besides, he was curious about the last door, next to him. There was a thud from behind that door, and Paul became very conscious of his pulse.

He lifted the beam from the door and turned the knob, swinging the door open to reveal a mid-size closet. Huddled on the floor was a girl. Her hands and feet were tied behind her, leaving her laying on her side. In her mouth was a thick cord that prevented her from talking, but did little to muffle the groans that had attracted Paul’s attention. A bowl with some water in the bottom sat in the corner.

The girl looked up at Paul with wide, wide eyes. She scooted back and tried to sit up, and Paul realized that she wasn’t really a girl – she was fully grown, at least sixteen, just of a slender build. He knelt down and untied the cord and removed it from her mouth. She remained still and tense all over.

Paul reached down to untie her. He was struggling with a particularly  tight knot when the girl started to tremble. He ignored it and tried to finish untying her quickly. It was then that he saw a shadow in front of him shift. He whirled around, still crouched, to find himself face to face with the sharp-toothed lady of the house.

This is basically a 55

September 24, 2009

…except that it is 32 words.

This took too long.

September 2, 2009

They were talking in the dim light. Cards on the table, chips in untidy stacks, they focused on the game and company, avoiding thoughts of the night outside the narrow wooden walls.

There was suddenly a jiggle and a thunk at the door, and it swung open behind the weight of the pale figure now staring at the three card players. The vamp held a long, hooked knife in front of it, and advanced on the men.

One man lifted a naked sword from the ground by his chair and yelled to his companions.

“Go upstairs and get the fucking weapons! Keep an eye out – there’s probably more of them!”

They ran up the stairs, Jon dashing ahead. He reached the blades first, grabbed them, and turned to give Brian one – just in time to see Brian tackled. The thing flashed against Brian – thump – and next thing John knew, Brian was struggling at the window. He clutched at the sides of the opening and hooked his legs over the windowsill, but the arm wrapped around his waist was winning.

“Your knife, Brian, your knife!” called John.

For a moment, it seemed that Brian had not heard him, but then he reached for his boot and pulled out a small knife. He jammed it down into the pale arm that pulled at him and the arm slipped away. But by the time it was gone another arm had snaked across the other side of Brian’s body, reaching up his torso and gripping him by the neck.

Jon caught Brian’s frantic eyes for a moment before Brian jabbed the knife at the new hand, stabbing over and over at his own neck, and then his body slipped out the window, leaving only a red spatter on the sill.

Jon forced his rigid body to turn and run, gripping the handle of his rusted machete. He took the stairs three at a time, rushing back to aid Lars.

Lars was backed into a corner, still holding the vamp off with his sword. As Jon hit the bott0m of the stairwell, the menace turned his pale, bald head. Lars took the opportunity to lunge forward. The vamp leaned to the side and grasped  Lars’s right hand with his own pallid fingers. Jon heard a wet pop as the vamp, almost too fast to see, shoved his forearm against Lars’s head. Jon saw his friend’s arm dangling uselessly at his side, grotesquely twisted out of its normal range of motion. The vamp turned and affixed Jon with his too-big eyes for just a moment, smiled a toothy grin, and was gone, leaving the door open to the night.

Hunt

July 24, 2009

I woke, hearing something. I opened my eyes but did not move. A silhouetted figure was crawling through my second story window. I let my hand slide off the edge of my bed, and felt the hilt of my naked sword.

I slid off my bed, away from the window and toward the door, putting the bed between myself and the intruder. Its eyes locked with mine. He looked like a man, but the creature opened his mouth to allow a sinister hiss to escape, and I caught a glimpse of reddened teeth in the moonlight. My home was not the first to be visited tonight.

The thing advanced on me slowly, but stopped when I threatened him with my sword. He reached behind his back and pulled a wicked looking knife, and again began to move around the bed, toward me.

I saw this as an impasse, but certainly one I could not win. I sidled toward the door, and I saw him glance at my potential escape route. Nothing he could do, without getting stabbed. I reached with my empty hand toward the door and pulled it open. The thing wasn’t moving closer any longer – I could probab — ah! I was tackled from behind. The sword fell from my grip when I hit the ground, but I scrabbled to regain it. There was a pain, then tearing at my neck. Oh God! I tried…. I wanted… I…

Genesis

July 23, 2009

She moaned and groaned, but did not scream.

They were a quiet people, for they lived outnumbered and apart, and their enemies were many.

A great sense of anticipation lay over the group. Mirdana had been making vague predictions about the child in her womb. Now she gnashed her filed teeth in pain, as the infant slowly made its way into the world. Labor was short, and the midwife passed the newborn to the hunter who stood waiting.

Dawn had broken, and the hunter, nude as the infant he carried, stepped into the light. He closed his eyes, but did not turn away. The baby squalled and screamed. He stood, feeling the brightness of the sun through his eyelids, and it’s heat on his skin. He would view his red peeling skin as a point of pride.

After a long time, the bell was rung, and the hunter returned with his care, handing him to Mirdana. The matriarch leaned over the child, and, pointing at a sore developing on his nose, cried “Touched! The child is touched!”

Tears rolled down the mother’s face, and the rest of the kin made quiet sounds of approval. The birth of a touched one was always an event to celebrate.

An Encounter

July 21, 2009

The youths stepped into the path of the scavenging crew.

“I’m Dastard D, and my boys will be taking that cart. Step away and head on home.”

“Look kid,” said the big man in front. “I understand what you’re getting at, and I do appreciate that your friend there has a gun. But we just spent all day in a city infested with vamps. We’re not afraid of them, so we’re sure as fuck not afraid of you. You should go find somebody else to hassle, and we’ll get on with our day.”

“Oh yeah? And what’s to stop us from taking what we want?”

“There’s more of us than there are of you. We’re bigger, we’re older. You’ve got a gun and some big knives,” he said, gesturing at the youth’s sword, “so violence isn’t going to go well for either side. What say we just walk away?”

D nodded at his companion, who shot the big scavenger in the belly.

“Anyone else have something to say?”

“Yeah,” called one man over the groans of the wounded.

A slim man, he stepped forward and threw a knife into the shoulder of the gunman. He fell, clutching his arm, and several scavengers rushed forward with their knives and machetes.

D, sword already drawn, stepped forward and cut into the neck of the closest scavenger. he turned, catching the machete of another on the base of his blade. He grabbed the scavenger’s wrist with his left hand and twisted the man’s arm, sweeping him to the ground. A quick downwards chop took care of him.

The youth looked up and saw one of his gang being cut down. Five more were already dead, and Jeff –

D rushed in to help, but by the time he had taken a step, Jeff was gutted and screaming on the ground. D was alone, and there were still six scavengers. He looked frantically for the gun.

“Looking for this?”

The slim knife thrower stepped forward, holding up the pistol.

“Seems to me you’d best be on your way.”

“Fuck you! I’ll fuck you up!”

“Ut-ut! Step back, save your own life and get moving.”

“It’s almost dark! On my own, the fucking vamps will get me!”

“Yeah,” the slim man said, and he shot D in the left knee. “They will.”

In the Lair

July 20, 2009

Paul woke up and opened his eyes. No change. He closed and opened them again. It was very dark. He suddenly remembered that he was not at home, that he was somewhere strange, and Paul was afraid.

When he waved his hand in front of his face, he could see movement. Good. He put his hands down to push himself up and noticed softness below. He was in a shallow nest of blankets.

Paul sat very, very still; he listened. Nothing. Paul wanted to move, but he didn’t let himself. Belatedly, he realized he could have done this lying down, faking sleep. Too late – move on.

Still no noises, so he got to his hands and knees and began exploring. The floor was hard, concrete, perhaps. As his slid his hands along it, Paul cringed. He half expected to encounter something gruesome, something soft and sticky, with rubbery bits and a putrid stench.

Really, there wasn’t a smell here at – scrape. Paul jumped back, startled. His hand had touched something metal. It was a rod the size of his forearm. He grabbed it, comforted, and continued forward. Almost immediately he encountered a wall.

Trace the wall then – okay. Paul felt a moment of vertigo when he ran out of wall. There was fabric draped across the doorway, and Paul stood and stepped through. On the other side, there was dim light – and there was her.

She sat with her back against a wall, writing something on a scrap of paper. She looked up at him with big pupils in big irises, and Paul realized she was beautiful. That was an uneasy realization, and while Paul was trying to stuff that feeling away, she moved – quickly standing up. He stepped back in fear, and felt the weight of the rebar in his hand. She moved toward him, and, filled with a sudden determination, Paul struck.

Or would have struck, had she not ducked and stepped to the side. As he turned to follow her motion, she slipped behind him and pinned his arms to his sides in a bear hug. Paul thrashed, struggling to free at least the arm with his weapon. She tore the steel rebar from his hand and tossed it aside, returning to her controlling position. Paul didn’t even have time to think when she moved. He felt slow and weak. Her arms felt like layers and layers of cord wrapped tightly around him, and he was very conscious of her breasts against his back.

Paul pissed himself.

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