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

100 Words: Renewable Reminders

Post-It notes decorated Allison’s apartment, two-inch by two-inch squares laminated and mounted to walls, mirrors, and appliances with cellophane tape that had been rubbed transparent with a thumbnail and trimmed square with an Exacto knife. Continue reading

100 Words, Day 7: The whirs, the growl, the jingle and creak…

The whir of a space heater goes loud, then dull, then loud again as it sweeps back and forth. A Doppler effect confined to a single room. Continue reading

100 Words, Day 6: So, What Do You Think This Is?

Brown mottled with white in a pattern that mimicked rough stone. Bumps and ridges that should have been sharp against bare feet, but were smooth as triple-varnished oak. Shiny, too. Continue reading

100 Words, Day 5: Not At All Handled with Care

Somewhere between Bangkok and North Dakota, the letter had seen the harsher side of a postal mail sorter. Jagged tears ripped one side open, and the left edge was well and truly bent, folded, and mutilated. The return address, once inked in precise Spencerian script, had been reduced to a … Continue reading

100 Words, Day 4: Out of the Water and on to the Watering

The winter melons ran out first. Albiderak planted the seeds and, with a little coaxing, they took root. With a fair ration of honey mead each day, they thrived. Soon winter melon vines overwhelmed the small plot Albiderak had staked for them in the garden. They more than obscured the cottage’s brick walls; they engulfed the entire structure. For three seasons now Albiderak hadn’t needed to rethatch the roof. Even in winter, when the leaves were off and the stems died back to a woody brown, the vines tangled so tightly across the roof that not a single drop of rain or melted snow could seep through. Continue reading

100 Words, Day 3: Out of the Hold, Into the Water

The undertow pulled at Marlowe before the water reached his chest. Peters held out the respirator, but Marlowe didn’t reach for it. If he let go of the handholds, the current would rip him loose. He wasn’t ready for that. Instead, Marlowe opened his mouth. Peters wedged the rubber mouthpiece … Continue reading

100 Words, Day 2

The barge lumbered through the ocean, its hull so heavy and flat that only the crash of waves against steel assured those inside they were still at sea. Crates and barrels had dampened the noise when the Magadan left port in Ramsgate, but now the sound thumped through a hold … Continue reading

Not Quite a Story-a-Day

Apparently May 1st marked the start of the Story-a-Day challenge. Which I found out about a day or two before May. I was tempted to join in the fun, but Chad reminded me that I need to keep focused on the book I’m writing. Writing thirty-one different short stories is guaranteed to get my imagination going, but it’s also likely to yank my mind firmly out of early 20th Century Russia where it belongs right now.

Still, I wanted to do something. Continue reading