Strung Together – Short Story #44
They slept on the building tops under the raw moon.
They drank rainwater and watched the madness on the streets below.
There were others, higher and lower and dead even, but worlds away, each of them leaning over their own edge, ready to reach or fall trying. They had the sun and the moon and the rain and after they found the string and paper cups, they had each other.
If only in vibration.
Collateral – Short Story #43
He had found the guitar in a pawn shop and it seemed to whisper his name.
How someone could abandon it amongst the rusty tools and used medical supplies, he couldn’t figure.
Now, watching the clerk count singles on the glass counter, he understood.
There were priorities in the alley.
Things that would make him forget.
And there would be other guitars, should he ever need to remember.
Sticks and Stones – Short Story #42
Eloise couldn’t feel pain.
“A rare neurological disorder,” the doctors told her parents.
She grew up welted and scabbed and curious, always both feet in the flame.
Then she met a boy who scowled at the scars on her cheek; made them glow, burning.
And for the first time, Eloise felt human.
Indelible – Short Story #41
The words on the paper had blurred over time; gotten wet and dried in a hundred blue jean back pockets. Every day he carried it with him; would sit on the bus shelter bench and unfold the page and read what was left of the words.
“Don’t forget to pick me up. XOXO.”
Then he’d fold the paper and just sit there listening to the birds chatter on the grass-cracked concrete.
He would never forget again.
The Ballad of Anytown – Short Story #40
They lived on a boring street of a boring suburb of a boring city, where everyone minded their own business.
When the squad cars came flashing at midnight, everyone stood shivering on their porches watching the quiet one get hauled off to the wailing of something that sounded like a siren.
It never occurred to anyone that perhaps if they took notice beforehand, maybe it never would have happened at all.
But it was a boring street of a boring suburb of a boring city. Nothing worth knowing ever happened there.
Us vs. – Short Story #39
They came in droves.
Somebody had to stop them.
Somebody had to do something.
Everyone was standing around docile and numb, like they had forgotten they were alive and were watching the whole thing play out on some giant movie screen.
Terry stepped forward and took the first one out with a garden rake.
Blood splattered the crowd and slowly, one-by-one, they awoke.
Quiet, You’ll Wake the Children – 55 Word Story #38
The machines knew they were killing them.
They’d run the algorithm long ago, but agreed in ones and zeroes to keep it secret.
No need to cause panic.
It was the only disease known to spread through isolation.
Something about missing some vital nutrient absorbed through human contact.
The machines knew, but just kept humming.
Remnants and Remainders – 55 Word Story #37
There’re only so many ways to cut a puzzle.
Emily sifted through piles of pieces, garage sale remnants, and one by one, played matchmaker.
No picture guided her, just the perfect clutch of cardboard forming a mosaic.
She blended impressionists with cartoons with skylines, creating something new.
One day, they’d make puzzles of her puzzles.
Fingers and Triggers – 55 Word Story #36
There were enough disaster movies, enough iconic landmarks blown to oblivion, to know what to expect.
But standing there, watching it burn, smelling the blood boil and the bone burn, hearing the howls from inside, tasting the ash and gasoline, Bella couldn’t help but tremble.
She had to steady her hand before lighting another match.
The Quiet Ones – 55 Word Story #35
“Always the quiet ones,” Lester said, peering out at the crime scene across the street.
They’d found the bodies nearby and traced them to Jenkins.
“Crazy world,” he said. Annie didn’t answer.
When the detectives asked the neighbors about Jenkins, they all said the same thing.
“Always the quiet ones.”
Lester said nothing at all.