GHOSTS (A 100 WORD STORY)

The following is part of a “shared storytelling event” over at I Saw Lightning Fall . We were tasked to write a scary story of exactly 100 words in length. This is my attempt.

Ghosts

It’s the feeling on the back of your neck when you’re alone in a darkened room. Are you really alone?

The voice in the back of your mind. Did you leave on the stove?

The prickle at your ear. Are they laughing about you?

The drive through the rural forest on a cold autumn night, the trees branches casting their shadows in your rear view. Do they not resemble long skeletal fingers reaching for you?

That headache you’ve nightly endured these past many months. Didn’t your favorite aunt have brain cancer?

Ghosts are real my friend. Oh yes they are.

Schroedinger’s Gift

This is for Advent Ghost’s 2018 at I Saw Lightning Fall. Short snippets of 100 words.

Once upon a time a troll gave me a gift.

“The day you die, you will open this box,” she said.

I cast it into a nearby stream and watched it float away.

It was waiting for me the next morning in my childhood closet.

I nearly opened it at University the night of my first true heartbreak.

…and after our first real fight (it met the wood-burning stove that night).

…and when I lost my job.

…and when I lost her.

My lonely, arthritic hands tremble as I chuck into the bin on this cold Christmas morn.

Not today.

Build It To The Sun: A Short Story

I wrote this story a number of years ago when my daughter was quite a bit younger than she is now. I quite like this story, actually. To be honest, I’m surprised at the quality. Doesn’t seem much like me. Anyway, I thought I’d share it here because I think it deserves some more views.

Build It To The Sun

“What are you building there, honey?”  said Ashley, raising her eyes from her smart phone just enough to verify her daughter was still in the room and that she was playing with something that was neither breakable nor lethal. The prior night had been such a trying one, again, and all she wanted to do was veg. At least her Facebook friends would provide her some sympathy.

“I’m building a ladder to the Sun, Mumma,” answered Sam, a pink spoke amidst a colorful loop of Duplo bricks.  “I’m makin’ it real high.”

“That’s nice honey,” Ashley answered. “You do know you can’t really build a ladder all the way to the Sun, though, don’t you?”  She was all for imagination, of course. However, preschool was less than a year away and theirs was a house of science, not fancy.

“Yes I can do it,” cried Sam, squeezing a brick with all her strength. “I’m doing it right now.”

“You don’t have enough bricks to build all the way to the Sun sweetie,” said Ashley. Why did they make the keys on phones so tiny anyway, she thought. And were the letters getting smaller and smaller, or had her eyes begun to age like the rest of her body?

“We could buy some more,” said Sam. “I don’t need much more.”

Ashley hit the send button on her status update, waited a moment, and then refreshed the screen, hopeful for the oncoming parade of comments and likes. She skimmed her friend’s status updates, clicking Like here and typing LOL there. “And how would you breathe when your ladder exited the Earth’s atmosphere? There is no air in space, you know.  You would need a helmet and oxygen.”

“I have my Dora helmet,” said Sam. “But I don’t wanna wear it.” Now on her tip-toes, she placed a blue block on top of the stack. The blues ones always went on top of the stack.

“Mmm hmm”.  Ashley  launched her phone’s web browser because Facebook was so dead. Her status update had received just a single Like. Everybody was probably eating breakfast, she figured.  She and Sam had done that hours ago, early as always.

This conversation was definitely post-worthy anyway. She contemplated putting away her phone and walking to the office to get the laptop, but she was just… so… tired.  The thumb pain would be worth it.  She logged into her blogging dashboard.

“Mumma,” said Sam, her voice loud with excitement.  “I’m really very close to the Sun now, Mumma.”

“Sammy,” said Ashley, typing a title to her post as fast as she could. “I’m sure you tried very hard but it just isn’t possible. The Sun is just too far away.”

“I know, Mumma,” said Sam. “You said.”  She turned the remaining blue brick in her tiny soft left hand. “But could you help me please Mumma?”

“Fine,” Ashley said. Come to think of it she was too tired to write anyway. She would blog later.

Placing her phone in her pocket, Ashley lifted herself off the couch. Stretching her arms, then her legs, she cracked her neck.  Then, finally, she looked up at her daughter’s creation. For the first time that morning, she saw.

A winding, mish mashed tower of blocks, thin in some areas and thick in others, was balanced just so against the living room wall. The ladder stretched ever onward to the ceiling ending just below the Sun-patterned border at the top of the wall.

“You were right Sam,” said Ashley with a whisper, kneeling down to kiss the top of her daughter’s head. “You really are close.”

Ashley reached in her pocket and for a moment considered taking a picture, but instead walked to the kitchen and placed her phone in the top drawer. The junk drawer.  “Why don’t we finish this up and then get out the play-doh,” she said, dabbing away the tear from the corner of her eye.  “Would that be fun?”

“Yes!” replied Sam, clapping her hands.  “I’m gonna make a car that can fly to the Moon.”

“That sounds brilliant,” answered Ashley.

My Waterstones Entry

Well, I wound up entering that writing contest at Waterstones I mentioned here last week. I’m pretty pleased with my entry, though I submitted it with a typo. My wife spotted it after it was already submitted. Oh well.

Their site is done in Flash, so there is no way to link to my entry directly. Instead, I did a screen capture of my story and am posting it below. Let me know what you think (I edited the typo).

The neat thing about the contest is that I was able to design the card background on their website. It’s not the most imaginative of designs, but I think it matches my story. After all, my strong suit is not graphic designer. My wife posted an entry as well, but her’s is much nicer than mine (she IS a graphic designer).

Anyhow, let me know if you enter the contest so I can read your story. I believe you still have a week or so before the deadline. If you write your story online, you get 600 characters (letters, punctuation, etc.) to work with.

Civil War on an Unknown Planet

I just wrote a quick little sci-fi Ficlet over my lunch break and though I would share it here. The title of the Ficlet is Civil War on an Unknown Planet stems from some daydreaming I was having the other day. I was thinking about the future and if space travel would ever be as common as driving a car. Then I thought of what would happen if there was life on other planets? Then I though, what if there was life on other planets and we visited one of these planets, and what if this planet was in the middle of a civil war? What if we chose the wrong side to fight with? What if we fought with the “bad guys”? What if there weren’t any “bad guys”?

Anyhow, here is my story for your enjoyment. Remember I was limited to 1044 characters and I left the ending open for someone to continue on. Enjoy:

 

Civil War on an Unknown Planet

One was to take certain precautions when visiting a planet that had yet to be documented by the Federation of Space Travelers. Were the natives friendly to humans? Was there oxygen available or would one have to rely on a respirator? Most importantly, where was the nearest Pub?

Mitch knew none of these things as he began his descent towards the glowing landing strip, flashing the Spee-Lunker’s headlights in the universal sign of peace. He had visited thousands of undocumented planets and never once had a problem, save for the time he nearly made love to the President of Ecabosh Alpha’s beloved house pet. Species confusion aside, Mitch had no reason to believe this pit-stop would be any different.

A mile above the landing pad Mitch first noticed the ground surrounding the landing site was completely charred. “Must be some type of protective shield,” he thought as he ejected from his ship, too close to the ground to pull up. Ship gone, Mitch was about to find himself stranded in the middle of a civil war.