Standing on the terrace, they thought about the first time it changed. All they remembered now was a rainy day, a moment of terror, the feeling of something solid hitting their chest and stomach, and a second of excruciating pain. Then there was darkness, and waking up, focusing on the first thing they could see. Their right wrist, with their birthmark in the shape of the number 9. Only now it was shaped like the number 8.
They smiled, looking out from their house, across the beach and to the ocean beyond, almost as if they could see all the way over to the opposite continent where that moment had happened. The moment that changed their…lives.
They adjusted their robe slightly, draping the material more comfortably down across their shoulders, flowing with the breeze around their ankles, and turned back inside.
Introspective, they turned more shadowy memories over. Crippling pain in their stomach, rushing through their body, being raced under flourescent lights and put to sleep. A laser shot to the head, the violent seizures that came before blessed darkness. Lying on a bed, surrounded by machines breathing for them, nodding for the breathing machine to be unplugged and hearing their own death rattle as the world shifted out of focus, and went black.
Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: Lifetimes”
Ariana yawned, stretched, and mentally checked off a list of the tasks, chores, and homework she had to do so far that week, before weekend fun could begin. Starting this in a boring Monday afternoon class and continuing it through the week, as she added to and checked things off the list, made things feel less overwhelming. It was easy to get overwhelmed. For her, anyway. She supposed it was the same for others, but then, who talked about that stuff? Not teenagers. And certainly not to each other.
Except to Marcos. They didn’t talk about much, she barely knew anything about them, but somehow she always wound up telling them everything. And they’d give her that easy smile and tell her she could do it, tell her how smart and special she was, and how she’d do great things. And suddenly everything would seem alright for a while. Til her drunken mother would break her restraining order and try to ‘visit’ her at 3am. Til she’d miss a chore or drop to a 7 on some test or other piece of schoolwork and get that disappointed look from her da. Til she’d visit her grams, and look at that shrunken face, staring out in terror at a world she knew she should recognise, hearing how she’d misbehave, and hearing her da huff as he misunderstood her reasons. Ariana understood them. So did Marcos.
Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: When Assassins Call”
Jenkin twirled the bottle in her flesh hand, the magnetised slide that ran out from the wrist of the other simultaneously spinning the cocktail shaker. As she slid the bottle across the barback to its home position, she upended the shaker into the iced glass, pouring with a flourish before sliding it down the bar, to stop exactly in front of the customer who had ordered the drink.
The next few drinks were mundane, and the magnetic slide returned to its home position just inside her left wrist, ready for its next use – be that the next cocktail, ensuring her safety knife couldn’t be taken from her as she walked home, or, really, anything else that she might need not to drop. Like cooking tools. That was the main reason she’d looked at the implant to begin with – hard to cook when you’re so clumsy everything winds up on the floor.
The monofibre that ran through it could be adjusted to ensure a variety of items stuck, as required. She didn’t really get how it worked, but the settings were adjustable from the eyeware that took instruction from her brain synapses, somehow. It worked, was the main point, and she had gone from scrabbling for jobs to pay rent on a oneroom where everything – kitchen, bed, toilet and stand-up shower – were in one tiny space without any doors, and which was about 8 paces wall to wall, to this job which, between pay and tips for the fancy moves, paid for a proper threeroom, meaning a bedroom, bathroom, and living room/kitchenette, all separated with doors. It was no palace, but it was hers as long as the rent was paid on time.
Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: Touched – Promises, Promises”
“Wait. What?” David stood and pointed the – surprisingly heavy – pen at Jonathan’s chest.
Jonathan shrugged, “I did tell you. Look, you know I changed my first name because, well, it was…” Jonathan sighed, “Dreamwave. Because they named me after some ‘vision’ they had when they were tripping. Like. Thanks for all the bullying, parents. But I didn’t want to dishonor them completely, so I kept the middle name.”
“Which was ‘Danger’.”
“Right. And I did tell you that.”
The registrar shifted in their chair, sipping a coffee while they waited for this to play out. They’d seen worse arguments while signing the marriage documents, but this might do a good job of being the weirdest.
“How was I supposed to know you were telling the truth when you said that Danger was your middle name? It sounded like a bad attempt at a Bond pickup line and I thought it was super cute. We had sex for the first time that night, if you recall! In part because of how damned cute I thought that was!”
Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: What’s In A Name?”
Angeline absently shimmied her hips in time with the music as she moved through the groups of milling invitees. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. After some light introductions, various different groups had managed to get talking together, and at least two of her potential love matches were hitting it off. Feeling like her job as a hostess had been well accomplished for the moment, Angeline shimmied her way past the lavish, and mostly demolished, buffet, into the kitchen, where the final treat of the evening sat, covered by a large silver tureen.
Smiling and rubbing her hands together, Angeline removed the tureen to reveal a huge cake, shaped like a sewing mannequin – to suit the fashion design degree she was about to begin – with her face printed on the head. She got herself a knife, a dessert fork, and a plate, and cut herself a satisfyingly large slice.
It was delicious. Coconut cream and white chocolate, and a sponge as light as a feather. She cut a second slice and began to eat.
“Dude! You cannot eat that entire thing all by yourself!” Skylar draped a hand around her shoulder, breathing alcohol and weed fumes into her face.
Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: Cake”
Tensae carefully brushed the dirt and dust of ages off the rectangular object one of the volunteers had excavated from the dig. Anthony, another of the volunteers, watched her closely, excited as ever.
“Wait, an iPhone?” He exclaimed, comparing it to various data and matching the correct one. “One of those old things? Does it still work, d’you think?”
Tensae shook her head slightly, “Unlikely. We’ll test it, sometimes we can get them to hold power, but these things weren’t exactly built to last.”
Anthony looked disappointed but nodded, “Can I be there when you try?”
“Sure. But right now I need you back out on the site, we’re behind schedule on section 7.”
“Right you are, boss, off I go.”
Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: Excavation”
Cheers from the battlements echoed around the hills as the flag bearer came into view over the distant rise, armour glinting in the full moon. Sylva Ironhocks waved the banner in greeting and spurred forwards, ahead of the main force.
As she rode into the courtyard to the creak of the opening gates, she sought around for the orc she was to deliver the King’s message to.
He pushed through the tribe and knocked her sideways with a blow to the shoulder.
She laughed and knocked him back into the crowd, “Abehg! I bring the King’s greetings and a message! Raiding was a success, we return with many riches with which to trade and build further. But the richest jewel of all accompanies our King! His wife to be approaches, with the remains of her own tribe. They will become one with us, as she becomes our Queen. We are to prepare for a feast in three days time, where they will wed, and our tribe will grow even stronger!”
“Hah! The King finally found himself an heir-bearer. Excellent!” Abehg replied. “And such a wedding feast we will throw!”
Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: An Unusual Couple”
Tanice automatically checked the spare magazines as she slotted them into the holders at the sides of her belt. The rounds, etched with magic, glowed faintly red. Next, the guns. She tested the bolt slide, the firing action, the grip. She knew these guns as well as – perhaps even better than – the back of her own hand. She could strip, oil, and assemble them with her eyes closed. And she did. Often. But today was too important for that. Today wasn’t a day for tricks and gimmicks. Today was her first mission.
She held still as she heard faint footsteps enter the room. She knew that step. “Mother.”
“Daughter,” came the reply.
Tanice turned, sliding her guns smoothly into their holsters, and looked into a face that was the spitting image of her own. Dark eyes, surrounded by smooth dark skin. A mouth, overfull, with the hint of a smile always in one corner. The biggest difference between them were the scars. Her mother held the results of many battles, including the raking claws of a shapeshifter across one sculpted cheekbone.
Her mother sighed, and Tanice braced herself.
Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: Touched – The Test”
04/07, 4th AF
I woke up this morning after a dream about the time before the fall. Goddess, it was so real. Waking up felt like losing everything all over again. My inner therapist tells me I should write down dreams, thoughts, that stuff, so I figure now’s a good time to start. Let’s pretend you, dear reader who doesn’t exist, are an archaeologist from way in the future, and you want to know what happened. Well, let me tell you a little about it.
The world was slowly dying. Between late stage capitalism, selfish assholes, and the easily manipulated gullible (who then turned into the selfish assholes), we were killing everything. The air sucked, we melted the ice caps, the weather patterns alone were enough to kill hundreds of thousands every year. But hey it was cool, cos the 1% that had all the money just shrugged and plugged money into keeping themselves safe (sarcasm still exists, right?). They established a moon colony and moved themselves and their “staff” (more like slaves at this point) in. The rest of us got left behind. But we were plebs, so fuck us, right? If we wanted to survive we shoulda just not been so damned poor.
Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: Evolution”
The knock came at her door just as Bryten settled down for a well-earned breakfast after a night spent treating one of the villages’ young men, injured trying to climb one of the harder sections of the mountain. Wanted to impress his friends, he said, eyes glazing as much from the pain as from the other pretty young man holding his hand and pressing a cold cloth to his forehead.
The youngster would be fine, her magic was strong and his breaks and wounds – inner and outer – would complete their healing over the next 24 hours. He had been left in the care of his pretty young man, and Bryten had returned home for a large breakfast before sleep.
Apparently it was not to be.
Wearily, she stumped to the door, pulling her greying hair back into a ponytail, and flung it open.
The two figures outside flinched slightly.
“Yeah? Who got hurt now?” Bryten prompted, squinting to try and recognise the villagers in the dim morning light.
“Hi Mama Bryten, do you remember me? Ami?”
Continue reading “Prompt Short Story: Balance”