100 Words: Used Books

It was his father’s fault. Dragging him to auctions and estate sales. Wedging him between boxes in the backseat on the way home. Infecting him with the stench of cotton rag and printer’s ink. Stuart’s fate had been sealed before he could talk. His father had trapped him in this business. Continue reading

100 Words: Boxes

No one needed to bring a gift. The bride brought music. The groom brought words. And a lifetime apart had brought china and linens and two very nice toasters.

But nothing lasts forever, and wedding guests feel awkward showing up empty-handed. So each brought a box as covered with ribbons and bows on the outside as it was empty within. Continue reading

100 Words: Castle Panic Attack

The stonemasons’ brick and mortar had long since run out, but men still scrambled to repair the breach with whatever rubble they could find. Continue reading

100 Words: Bus Ride

A blind woman and two guys with Mets baseball caps took the last three seats when the bus stopped at Penton, so Adele had been obligated to stand for the last 257 miles. She stayed in the back, pushing herself as flat against the wall as she could when one of the other passengers lurched down the aisle toward the bathroom. They walked past Adele without looking her way, without even twisting sideways to avoid her. Continue reading

100 Words: A Different Kind of Spider Man

Jakub inherited everything from his father. His dark eyes and stubby fingers. The little house in Stare Mesto, with the front room that his father had turned into a restaurant. Even the recipes that kept the place popular enough that Jakub could hire another cook and a girl to wait tables.

He’d inherited the gold-filled fusee pocketwatch that his father had carried throughout Europe while he collected those recipes. And he’d inherited the curse that came with it. Continue reading

100 Words: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A Navy peacoat dwarfed the girl who tapped Theodore Grayson on the shoulder, the hem at her knees and the sleeves swallowing her hands to the fingertips. “May I borrow your phone?”

The girl’s voice was as small as she was, but her eyes were huge. Like Grayson’s daughter. Her eyes had been like that. Continue reading

100 Words: Acceptable Consequences

Bennett’s mother slapped his fingers away from the bandage. “Stop scratching.” Her eyes never left the road. Continue reading

100 Words: A Steampunk Captain Prepares for All Possibilities

Contrary to his name, Chancey was anything but a risk taker. Even if he had been inclined to life’s more dangerous pursuits, however, Pendergast’s secretary would have been hard pressed to understand as the captain wrenched the airship door open, pulled goggles over his eyes, and stepped off the deck into the nothingness of open air. Continue reading

100 Words: The Boy Who Cried Fire

Jayce closed his eyes and breathed in deep. The air had the taste of commercial-grade cleaner and fresh Cinnabon. “Sorry,” he mumbled, then yanked the fire alarm lever down. Continue reading

100 Words: I Wouldn’t Order That without an Alibi

The clerk smiled as he handed Abigail a brochure. A plastic tag pinned to his chest named him “Franklin”, but Abigail suspected the man had helped himself to an old nametag from behind one of the retail shops on Market Street.

The brochure was a single page. Tri-folded and laid out in columns and sections, it looked for all the world like a restaurant menu. Continue reading