Monthly Archives: December 2013

Drabble: Dog and Dragon by Anna Zumbro

by specklit

Bruiser wagged his tail and ran toward the hedge, following the scent of a wild animal. He stuck his nose into the leaves and came face to face with it: a winged lizard the size of a cat.

The creature did not move, and that bothered Bruiser. He prodded it with his paw. It answered with a puff of fire that singed through Bruiser’s fur and made him howl.

He limped over to the man, expecting sympathy. Instead, the man went inside and returned to tend Bruiser with a stinging liquid. He should have known. His master was only human.

Author’s note: My dog had a few run-ins with bumblebees, which didn’t end well for either animal. I wondered what might happen if a dog met a small animal that was a bit more dangerous.

Drabble: Aaron by Lela Maria De La Garza

by specklit

Aaron was buried at sea, his body consigned to the deep, soul to a merciful God. Though he had been a bad man, drunken and blasphemous, cheating at cards, thieving from his shipmates.

Caught stealing one night, he’d fallen on his own knife—at least officially. Davy Jones, a skeleton with a pirate hat, hobbled over to look at Aaron’s canvas-wrapped body. “Not interested.” And went back into his locker.

Aaron wanders different ships, watching card games he can’t cheat at, seeing bits of money and jewelry he can’t pilfer—a sad, lonely ghost in a sad lonely hell.

Author’s note: When I first learned about these hundred word stories, I found the idea intriguing. In fact, I decided to do an entire book of drabbes, writing one every day for a year; then selecting those I thought were good enough to be published. Then my interest waned, other projects took my time, and I just quit in mid drab-

Drabble: Alien Birth by Maggie Denton

by specklit

I jerked awake, scared out of my wits, and leaped out of bed. The sound was coming from somewhere on the first floor.

There it was again! An echoey, hollow-sounding bang. Baseball bat in hand, my heart going like a trip-hammer, I tiptoed through the house. Once in the kitchen, I realized it was being caused by something smashing, over and over, against the inside of the closed refrigerator door.

I stood staring at the door in pants-pissing terror, wondering what exactly that horrible banging, and now low, eerie snarling could be, because there was nothing in there but eggs.

Author’s note: One day, I heard a really strange sound come from my always quiet refrigerator.

Drabble: All that Doesn’t Glitter by Gary Cuba

by specklit

K’ral the Barbarian finally figured out how to navigate the revolving doors in front of the First National Bank of Chicago. He strode into the lobby. Sweat glistened on his bare, bulging pectorals.

An attractive wench suddenly appeared at his side. “Good morning, sir. Would you like to open an account?”

“Where is your gold? A wizard majicked me to this odd land, saying I would find untold wealth here. Want gold!”

“No gold here, sir. Only cash, CDs, financial instruments­­…”

“Bah! Methinks I’ve been played for a blasted fool ­­yet again!”

Frowning, K’ral stormed out of the bank.

Author’s note: Which is, to wit, my sarcastic commentary on all dopey S&S books and movies.

Drabble: The Rub of Nothing by Rebecca L. Brown

by specklit

“The walls are closing in again.” As if I didn’t know.

“Then go outside.” I shrugged.

“Maybe I will.” Outside, it isn’t dark or light. It simply isn’t. Infinite amounts of nothing pile up all around the walls. We keep the curtains drawn and try to make-believe we hear the sound of early evening traffic passing. The last person to leave – we forgot his name the second that he stepped beyond the doorstep – never made it back.

We press up close and try hard not to think about how soon there won’t be room for both of us.

Author’s note: This piece started off as a thought about claustrophobia; would people be desperate enough to escape a closed in space to risk moving into the unknown or the unknowable? What if the closed in space was all that was left?

Drabble: Shoddy Construction by Anne E. Johnson

by specklit

Joey, the foreman, didn’t bother reporting that the concrete wasn’t setting right. He’d hightail it out of town long gone before anyone noticed, anyway.

He stopped by his pad to collect his stuff. The TV blared the breaking news: A powdery gray fungus, growing fast, covered sidewalks, cars, skyscrapers, and bridges. Even some people, sitting on benches, were suffocated. The infection stemmed from Joey’s construction site. Scientists called it an alien parasite in the concrete.

“That’s right,” Joey crowed. “Goddamn aliens. I mixed it right. This ain’t my fault.” Still, he decided he’d better leave right away, not wait for morning.

Author’s note: My purpose here was to suggest a world-ending scenario without showing much of it, and letting the person who may have caused it walk away…although he’ll probably pay later!

Drabble: A Better Mousetrap by Lela Maria De La Garza

by specklit

Snavely demonstrated his invention. “You put the bait here, see… the mouse goes in here, see… steps on this lever — no more mouse!”

“Where does it go?”

“Who knows? Disintegrates into the atmosphere probably. Millions of mouse atoms floating around.” He chuckled. “Who cares?”

But the mice did not disintegrate. Instead they landed on the planet Kharthom, where tiny catlike creatures worshipped them, made them beds of cotton, and brought offerings of cheese and bacon.

Humans called this Snavely’s Mousetrap. Mice called it The Portal to Mouse Heaven. Both species considered it one of the world’s greatest inventions.

Author’s note: When I first learned about these hundred word stories, I found the idea intriguing. In fact, I decided to do an entire book of drabbes, writing one every day for a year; then selecting those I thought were good enough to be published. Then my interest waned, other projects took my time, and I just quit in mid drab-

Drabble: Lunch Break by Gary Cuba

by specklit

Mankind was poised to join the Galactic Federation!

Our trade negotiations with the recently arrived aliens had been proceeding well ­­although, not without a few moments of confusion. Nevertheless, we strove to present ourselves in the best possible light. When we broke for lunch, a white-­gloved waiter entered the room and took orders from around the table.

“And what will you be having to eat, sir?” the man asked the head of the alien delegation.

Long after the aliens’ abrupt departure, we discovered the glitch: our translating system had been reformulating the English word “what” into the alien concept “who.”

Author’s note: I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of “First Contact,” and how fraught with difficulty it will be. Seemingly miniscule but very potent mistakes will likely prevail.

Drabble: Royal Beauty by Anne E. Johnson

by specklit

A message came from the Agrantels, Earth’s new allies: “Help! Zherans kidnapped our beautiful Princess!”

Commander Rodgers led his Lightspeed Troops from Earth to Zhera. Picturing this Princess´s delicate features, he daydreamed of her swooning at his heroism. But at the coordinates they found no princess, only a cavern splattered with oily slime.

Saddened, Rodgers sent a message: “Princess devoured by horrid viscous substance. Condolences.”

As the Lightspeed Troops headed home, the Agrantels responded: “Extreme fear turns Agrantel bodies viscous. You left our Princess behind. Worse, you called her horrid. We break our allegiance and hereby declare war against Earth.”

Author’s note: Royal Beauty was my attempt to condense the largest things I could think of (war and space travel) into a tiny format.

Drabble: The Present by Anna Zumbro

by specklit

Mike had been trapped for hours in the dark room. He was cramped. The room was scarcely large enough to contain him.

He heard voices outside the thin walls, but he couldn’t make out any words. Suddenly the room shook and rose, as though lifted by a giant. Mike trembled. He pictured his brothers, and wondered at their fates.

The little room stopped moving just as the ceiling was ripped off. As the light struck him, Mike froze. He was staring a young giant in the face.

“Wow, a toy robot! Thanks, Mom. I can’t wait to take him apart!”

Author’s note: I was considering Thanksgiving from the perspective of a turkey, which led me to think about gift-giving from the perspective of a sentient toy.

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