Category Archives: Stories

Rumination and Horror

He vomits, on all fours and stomach heaving. Long, ropey strings of fluid slide from his mouth to the ground, wet and glistening. It is the color of infected phlegm, the smell powerful, overwhelming. His belly clenches again, and he vomits more of the greasy strands into the dirt.

They puddle before him, a gelatinous mass that slowly congeals into a single entity. He kneels over it, weak from the effort of puking and panting heavily, struggling to take in air again. Sweat falls from his face and forehead, the salty droplets landing on the yellow, stinking mass. He thinks that he has never felt so badly as this.

It pulses — once — a wet squick of sound, like an infant sucking on a pacifier, and stills.

He is breathing more normally now, still feeling shaky but gaining strength — and now the mass is pulsing again, faster than before, still making that god-awful sucking sound.

And then it leaps, sealing itself to his face, and he realizes he was wrong.

It is possible to feel much, much worse.

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Royal Assassin

The assassin’s blade slid across the traitor’s throat, easily slicing through pipe, vein, flesh, and fat. He kicked the obese old Duke away, the body tumbling to the floor in a heap.

“You have been found guilty of treason,” the assassin said to the corpse, “For your crimes your life has been claimed for the purchase of healing wounds you have created. May you rot in hell.”

He withdrew the Duke’s dagger from the dead man’s belt, a jewel-encrusted weapon designed more for show than for practical use, and plunged it to the hilt in the Duke’s forehead — the sign of the Royal Assassin, so that all would know the King’s justice had been carried out this night.

Moments later he dropped nimbly onto the balcony outside his chamber, entered through the doors there – and drew up short.

“You should not be here, Geoffrey,” the assassin said curtly.

“My apologies, Majesty,” the servant apologized. “But the Queen, your wife, was looking for you.”

The King sighed wearily. “Very well. Inform her I will arrive shortly.”

[Originally posted at Ficly.]

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Natural Selection

“Desdemona is a dangerous planet,” the guide called out to the group, “but only if you don’t respect her ways.”

James rolled his eyes. He hadn’t wanted to come to Desdemona, but human-friendly habitable planets were few and far between, especially now that Sol was trending toward red giant these days.

“Most of what lies beyond the energy barrier could kill a person in a blink,” the guide continued. “This bit of safe haven you’re standing in has been carved out with a lot of sweat, blood, and tears.”

And that was when James spotted the maintenance hatch down the path a little way. Making sure no one was watching, he nonchalantly walked away from the group — they were all distracted, anyway — and opened the hatch, using the adjoining service tunnels to get out beyond the barrier.

Sometime later, James finally stepped into the open air and took a deep breath — and a razor-sharp leaf spiraling from a nearby tree sliced cleanly through his skull.

Desdemona was not kind to invading, incautious species.

[Originally posted at Ficly.]

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Grimnebulin

I shamelessly stole the name of the monster in this story from China Mieville’s main character in Perdido Street Station. Sorry about that, China — and thanks. ‘Grimnebulin’ is just a really kick-ass word.

——————

Greg set his tray on the table and took a seat across from his friends. The expression on his face was one of pure misery.

Tom inclined his chin at the sickly creature clinging to Greg’s back. “Still carrying that little bugger around, eh?”

“Of course he is,” Mike replied. “He still hasn’t gotten the nerve up to go see the old lady.”

Tom waved his fork at the creature’s fingers, which were wrapped around his friend’s throat. “Y’know, Greg, it looks like it’s dug those claws a little deeper into your voicebox today. If you ever hope to speak again, you’re gonna have to go see her.”

Mike snorted and elbowed Tom. “He doesn’t like owing the old lady a favor.” He looked at Greg. “Suck it up, old buddy. None of us like it, but we all have to do it eventually.”

“Seriously, Greg,” Tom added, “once she gets it off, you can’t ever get infected again. And, besides, her favors aren’t… unpleasant.” He looked away. “Well, mostly not.”

Greg just nodded and kept eating. A problem delayed was a problem denied.

[Originally posted at Ficly.]

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So Long, Jack

It was a small memorial, only two to witness the laying of the casket into the ground.

“So long, Jack. We hardly knew you,” one said.

The other quirked up an eyebrow. “That’s it?” he asked. There was a note of amused incredulity in his voice.

“What’d you expect?” A ghost of a smile. “This is, what, the eighth time we’ve buried you now?”

A nod. “At least.”

“Does it ever get old?”

Jack shrugged and pushed his hands down into his pockets. “Hasn’t yet. I’m good for at least another half dozen deaths, I think. There hasn’t been any detectable signal degradation yet.”

“Well, that’s debatable.” The first man sounded sullen now.

“Oh, c’mon, Charles. This project was as much your idea as mine. You don’t get the right to be grumpy about it.”

“I’m not. I just—” Charles broke off, leaving the thought unfinished. A pause. “Do you remember what it feels like each time? Y’know, after?”

Jack grimaced. “Every bloody detail. I’m thinking I’ll go for something less violent next time.”

“Fine. I’ll arrange it.”

[Originally posted on Ficly.]

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Flight

He soared.

He had always wanted to fly, and now he was doing just that. He had no feathers, no wings, but he was flying just the same. The special magic that fathers possessed had made this possible. He laughed with the euphoria of the moment.

The wind blew his hair back, and he closed his eyes, reveling in the pure joy of the experience. He threw his arms out, tried to catch the air, tried to use it to his advantage. It was a thrill beyond belief.

Tumbling over, the last thing four-year-old Jacob Brown saw before the ground broke his tiny body was the figure of his father standing at the top of the cliff, arms still outstretched.

[Originally posted on Ficly.]

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Delivery

Fog drifted, wet and heavy, over the short mall between the Wetherill Laboratory of Chemistry and Stanley Coulter Hall. Six tall lampposts bathed everything in an eerie, orange glow. The hour was late, and the campus was deserted — deserted but for one.

She stood at the south end of the mall, seemingly in contemplation, a small bundle clutched under her arm. Her other hand rested lightly on the fountain there, its lion face spewing water in a thin stream into the stone basin below its chin.

The fog swirled, and a cloaked figure appeared. She approached it, cautiously, the fog parting like a veil before her. Drawing to within three paces of him, she bowed slightly, a greeting.

“Your delivery as requested, Professor.” He spoke not a word in response, merely tipped his bearded chin in thanks as he collected the items into the deep folds of his robe.

Her task complete, she turned on her heel and strode quickly back to the edge of the mall, glancing only once over her shoulder. Only mist and vapor remained.

[Originally posted on Ficly.]

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Golem

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Golem

Rain lashed down on that ravaged plain in furious sheets. The broken earth drank it up through ragged cracks that went down forever.

At the center of the plain, a gaping maw of a hole sucked down water in great, sodden gulps. Perversely, gouts of flame licked up out of it, unnaturally green and purple. A lone figure stood at the edge of the pit, unaware or uncaring of the tremendous heat. Its lips moved, inaudible over the combined roar of rain and fire.

Smoke and steam heaved from the pit, and up rose a great clay monstrosity, towering dozens of feet over the figure below.

“What would have of me, my master?” it bellowed. The figure looked up at the beast, allowing her hood to fall back. Her features were fine and fair, hair so blonde as to be almost white.

Her voice was cold as ice. “Your time of sleep has come to an end, my dear. I have need of a titan.”

The golem pulled its massive bulk out of the pit. “Then let us be on our way,” it replied. It scooped its master up and lumbered out over the plain.

[Originally posted at Ficly.]

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Clean Underwear

Didn’t your mother ever tell you, “Make sure you put on clean underwear because you never know when you might be in a car accident?” Mine sure did. I don’t really know why it matters, though. If you’re in a car accident, underwear is probably the last thing anyone’s going to be worrying about.

In fact, I know it is because, here I am, pinned under this damn truck, and my lower half looks like it’s been put through a bloody meat grinder.

Always put on clean underwear.

Oh, right, Mom. That’s just fucking hilarious.

[Originally posted at Ficly.]

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Blood Rite

The albino stood on the platform and dragged the knife down his forearm. Blood ran in scarlet rivulets over his hand, his fingers. It dripped the sidereal pattern of his god onto the wooden planks around his feet.

Before him the air shimmered as it struggled to call forth his deity. The hot sun bore down full on his naked back, dampening the potency of the blood. Day was not the time for such magic, but there was no choice for it.

With each heartbeat, more of his life pulsed away, more of his power to prolong the spell ebbing. His was a complex gift, a dangerous magic. Each practice of the blood rites risked death, if the ritual could not be completed before last blood flowed.

The albino chanted, his voice barely a whisper, conserving energy, yet he felt his strength diminish.

He slashed again, savagely, desperately, hoping more blood would fuel the spell’s completion. Still it foundered, and he sagged to the platform.

The albino wept his final breaths. His failure meant that his people would die.

[Originally posted on Ficly.]