Alex’s Very Short Stories

Short stories dip us into a narrative just long enough to suggest hopes, conflicts, tensions and invites readers to fill in many of the blanks that necessarily hover around the sparse words. Below is a collection of my recent attempts to contribute to the #vss365 tag on Twitter. The “key word” of the day is preceded by a hashtag. I hope you enjoy.

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Stories from July, 2021

July 28

He could hear every scream but dared not open his eyes.
He’d said a solemn #farewell to his parents. They’d told him he could still turn back. Change his mind.
But he’d promised his older sister he would go on the roller coaster with her.
No matter what, he would keep his word.

July 27

“This has got to be #illegal.”
“Dodos have been extinct for 400 years. There’s nothing wrong with cloning the bird for a taste if I can afford it.”
It did smell good tho, popping & sizzling.
But when the timer went off, the spattered fat had sealed the door shut. The last Dodo burned to a crisp.

July 26

She hadn’t been dead 5 minutes and Sara was already in trouble.
“You do not have #permission to be here,” the six-armed deity repeated, waving at the golden clouds.
“But I’ve been a good person!” Sara said. She wasn’t perfect, but she had adopted dogs from shelters, paid her taxes on time and never let her lawn get overgrown.
“Then be good and wait your turn,” the deity said.
And with that, Sara’s heart began to beat again.

July 25

I couldn’t leave my lions by themselves, helpless and #lonely, on their journey to Mars. Nightmares of my frightened felines haunted me.
Blastoff day came. I snuck aboard the ship & waited. I’d faced angry beasts before and when the rockets roared, I swallowed my fears. I was ready.

July 24

I did not trust this woman with a face like melted #butter, her fingers like long, dried carrots, her ears like cauliflower bunches.
She was the embodiment all the healthy lunches I’d ever spurned.
So when she offered me rutabaga, something snapped. I screamed & fled in terror.

July 23

This #technology nonsense was getting out of hand.
Steam engines were noisy but harmless. She’d tolerated the indignities of electricity. But these atom-smashing, quantum-wave hijinks were too much. A plague, a solar flare & she wouldn’t need to worry for another century or two.

July 22

Did my arrow hit him or did it #miss? Doesn’t seem to make much difference. As I sit here chained, somewhere the tyrant still lives.
Don’t cry for me: the wail of wind through the coarse gallows rope is all the mourning I need.
Take up my quiver, daughter of the river; finish what I could not.

July 21

It gave me no #pleasure to learn my son suddenly had a different mother. Biologically speaking.
It was easy to catch the wandering genes that now drifted from person to person like pollen among flowers.
But true motherhood, I consoled myself, was something else. Not changeable pieces, but memories & love

July 20

“If you are #afraid to die, this magic is not for you.”
What magic? Why would a pre-flight technician whisper these words as I boarded a rocket bound for space?
The countdown began. I could feel the rocket rumble in my bones, a mighty beast.
Flash. Boom. No way back now.

July 19

After the spellcasting mishap, every choice & action generated an apparition she could see, an #echo of herself living the opposite decision.
Mostly, these visions dissipated in seconds. But the apparition of life with him, before she made him leave, lingered on & on

July 18

“This won’t – won’t hurt a bit” Kudra stuttered, left eyelid fluttering.
Shifting from one #persona to another was much more difficult as a new mom. Previously partitioned home-self now offered her boss diaper changes. Work-self asked baby for deadline extensions.

July 17

“This is #dynamite” the captain said, crunching a second fork-full of Queliq thorax, spraying its juices from his mouth. His skipper kept the gun pointed at Cata’s head tho.
“Is dynamite good?” Cata asked the officer tied up next to her.
“Hard to say. He lost his hand in a mine blast.”

July 16

“Did you find the relic?”
Cindy held the #clear Dream Stone, feeling a rush of power within the jewel with every wave that gurgled into the sea cave.
“Nothing here,” she said, checking her gun.
As she turned, her elbow bumped the cave wall & the stone plunked into the water.
Shit.

July 15

What lay #beyond the farthest stars? With the new warp drive, Lev and his crew would find out. Trembling, they punched Go. Stars winked but all appeared unchanged. Again they punched; again, nothing. Returning home, Lev stoically reported failure.
“We’ll let the engineers know & try again. Go get some rest,” the debrief officer said. It was then that Lev noticed the man’s eyes were a deep magenta.

July 14

“Hey girl”

“Show more”

“I wanna break you in”

#Almost all comments on Zat’s OnlineFans feed were from human men. Couldn’t they tell which elves were male & which were female? Or did they just crave the exotic? Zat was thankful a screen and a lot of magic separated them.

Closing his laptop, Zat turned to his spell textbook. It was time to practice making things vanish. Forever.

July 13

“If it #sparkles, let it go. If you don’t, then it will blow.”

“Ellie – what’s our ten year old doing with the star-drive?”

“Just fixing a minor leak. It’s okay – she’s done this a thousand times already. She gets it right most of the time. But hold on to something. Just in case.”

July 12

The #antagonistic engine knocked and coughed, threatening to strand Mae in the blistering desert between Kansas City and Denver. She hated traveling in daylight but she had no choice. By nightfall, they would have caught up & found the grey body with six arms in her trunk

July 11

Next time you die, please choose a more #refined and elegant method. The children and I had an awful time finding your limbs & the blaster left a bitter, scorched taste to your eyes & mandibles. We may be repelling an invasion but we must still maintain standards.

July 10

As a polyp, Izx learned from its parent body that smothering an aggressive inseminating body was an #inelegant way of preventing violence. Better to seduce it. Control it. Izx looked out the window at planet Earth, fruiting with humans. How does one seduce a species?

July 9

Burnt wood, rotting chicken, wet stone: smells of #freedom to an ogre nose. With electricity out for a second consecutive night, Dugbak roamed the city unbothered by the hum of unseen current. In the dark, he found the old grave marker, placed a lily across a weathered name, and remembered his love.

July 8

In the photo, only shadows of a smile remained; nothing at all of her nose, or shoulders. Samara was fading from the photo taken years ago with her daughter. She was #crestfallen: despite all the busking she’d done that day, she was still vanishing, one averted look at a time.

July 7

Riding a unicorn is safe, you said, like #therapy, after I got bucked off that dragon. You always had more money than sense though, and I didn’t check it was a real unicorn, and not a zebra with a dye-job and a fake horn.
Now, I have trust issues to go with the broken arm.

July 6

“Can you hear me?” the paramedic asked.
Sue screamed yes, but after looking spooked, the paramedic just left. Sue gasped: not only had she become a ghost – her toes had #unraveled into tiny strings
“Might not want to answer the living,” a spectral head floating nearby advised.

July 5

For six days in the hospital, he had remained #compliant, eating what they gave him, never complaining about needles. Being a good boy. They all said it. But what did it mean? He tipped his bowl of pudding, watched it slide onto the sheets & wondered: was he still good?

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