Prompt Short Story: If Only

I can’t forget the moment. It still replays in my head. Along with all the others. They fight to be the memory that fucks me up that day. 

This one is the accident. A rainy day, just turning to twilight, streetlamps just being lit, bouncing their light off of raindrops. The street smells like wet horse and smoke from the stacks across the river.

I’m walking, looping my way home from a visit to a friend via the park, dripping wet and slightly grumpy that my favourite hat and jacket are likely ruined. I don’t see the carriage, don’t even hear it until it’s too late. The driver, blinded by the dusk and the rain, doesn’t see me in time. They swerve, but it’s too late. I get slammed and thrown aside, and they crunch into a lamppost.

They’re ok, mostly, some whiplash and some bruises from being thrown off, but that’s all, and the carriage was fortunately empty.

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Prompt Short Story: Anniversary

You can’t always see the big ones coming. The days where everything changes, for better or for worse. Sometimes you get a hint, a clue, an idea, even just a hunch. Other times? Zip.

She was just one of many, in the beginning. We get taught distancing techniques, mental exercises to keep us from getting invested, from caring about our subjects. Our instructor used to tell me I was good at them – “Jessica, you’re a natural, just keep up those guards!” – and I’d smile and nod and know I would be great.

And for the first few years, I was. But while I was on alert for the obvious signs we’d been taught to expect, the others snuck up on me. It was just a job. Three years watching her, and all the others, through that machine. And without me realising it, maybe a little part of me fell in love with her, because I wished she knew who I was. Until she did.

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Prompt Story: Speleology

Kelsey ducked under an overhang at the edge of the cave, “Left or right, Goober?”

Her twin sister, Ana, looked between the two options and shrugged, “Right!”

Checking the GPS to ensure they were still being properly tracked, Kelsey led the way down the narrow passageway, the light from her powerful headlamp tripping over the striated walls.

“Remind me again why we’re trekking an uncharted set of caves in the middle of the fucking tundra, sis?” Ana said, innocently, “Oh, that’s right, you have a crush on your professor!”

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Prompt Short Story: Duty

“The coordinates are wrong! Taking fire.”

“Shit! Beta team! Check in! Beta team!”

There was no response, just a hollow emptiness where even a quiet set of comms should have given a small hiss of white noise to show they remained active.

Bailey swore loudly. It was a setup and she’d fallen for it like the noob she was. She pulled off her headset, momentarily ignoring the cries from Alpha and Gamma teams, and took a long drink, from the nutrient tube that ran into her pod.

Fresh out of a promotion to Field Team Leader and her first mission was a shitshow. This wouldn’t stand. She couldn’t let it. Those were her people, and some of them had their real bodies on the line out there.

She activated her field ‘droid, smashing it out of its box and nodding to the salutes from the humans on Alpha team as she began issuing orders and moving forward with them: 3 warm bodies, 3 drones, and now her.

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Prompt Short Story: Mothball City

Mothball City

It’s always a little quiet here when one of us is fading. We always fade, you see, but we don’t always come back, or sometimes it’s just a long time before we do, and even then the chances of winding up in the same district isn’t super high.

The Agency assigns us based on some complicated algorithms, and if the numbers don’t land on you, well, you stay in the closet, so to speak. At least we’re dormant while we’re not in use, I can’t imagine passing all that time still awake and thinking.

Anyways, when one of us is on their way back to the closet, we gather around whoever it is, and we hear stories of their kid – from the first day they became their Friend, to the day they realised the kid was growing out of them.

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I broke everything!

Sorry, I’m working on a fix!

If you find a new email in your inbox saying you subscribed to me, it’s because you were and I reimported the list

Book links are up – and they’re new and improved!

And we’re back and starting from scratch… All the stories that used to be here are safe, but rather than repost every single one, I’m going to combine a lot of them, with some that never went up here, into an anthology and publish it. Any requests on what not to leave out will, of course, be noted!