Monthly Archives: May 2014

Drabble: Sacrifices by Rose Blackthorn

by specklit

Saerlyn entered the glum village. Rumor said a dragon hunted here, demanding virgin sacrifices to sate its hunger. Saerlyn had heard otherwise, that “sacrifices” had been sold for gold in secret.

The headman Jefane, well-fed and oily, held court before his thatch-roofed house. He drew lots for the next offering, and girls dressed in white waited in terror to hear their fate.

“No more maidens,” Saerlyn said, interrupting the proceedings. “The dragon hungers for heartier meat.”

“How would you know?” Jefane scoffed.

She transformed, scaled and clawed and hungry, smiling. “Who better?” The headman was more gristly than he appeared.

Author’s Note: Saerlyn is a reoccurring character for me, and one of my favorites. As a woman or a dragon, she is impulsive and oft-times doesn’t think of consequences. But that said, she is invariably good.


Drabble: The Other Half by KJ Kabza

by specklit

When I finally found, and fell in love with, another telepath, our connection became indescribably deep. Forget finishing sentences–we finished each other’s thoughts. Experienced each other’s emotions.

Gained each other’s talents.

I could now cook bibimbap, rebuild diesel engines, and knit mittens for people I loved. She could now discuss the works of German philosophers, tend a vegetable garden, and hack networks. She got my abstract knowledge; I got her clever hands and her, herself. The jackpot.

But I did not get her cancer.

When your lover dies, they say half of you is gone.

You have no idea.

Author’s Note: We’ve all read stories with ominous telepathic characters who “read your thoughts,” but what might an average telepath in love feel?


Drabble: Oh! The Places I’d Go! by Katherine McCarthy

by specklit

Under my bed there is a monster. He is matted and cross looking. He has twelve legs and even more feet. He has the other things too, teeth and whatnot.

One day, tired of the life I had stumbled upon, I decided it was his turn to deal with this shit. I stuck my hand under the divan and I took hold of him by the hairy ankle and yanked. ‘You’re up top now’ I announced. His many, many eyebrows knitted. ‘You heard me. Scat!’ and as he stood up I wriggled myself into position.

It’s nice down here. Warm.

Author’s Note: I have fantasies of agoraphobia.


Best of SpeckLit – 1st Quarter Winners

by specklit

We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to vote for the best stories of SpeckLit’s first quarter. As we said beofre, while we love all our authors’ stories (we wouldn’t publish them if we didn’t), our readers have their favorites.

Congratulations to Sierra July and Anne E. Johnson for their wins!

Sierra’s Storytime was our readers’ number one story

And Anne took both second and third prize with Stitching Death and Bully Balloons.

Both authors will receive online bookstore gift certificates.

We look forward to hearing from our readers again in July for our 2nd Quarter Best Of.


Drabble: Ghost of a Smile by Ken MacGregor

by specklit

Ben had been haunting me for days. The moment he died, his ghost appeared. The apparition wore Ben’s favorite shirt: the orange one with the ink-stain on the cuff. He was smiling.

My brother was always happy. Some people are impossible to depress.

I watched the undersize coffin lower into the ground. Mom tossed a handful of dirt; her eyes were red with constant tears.

Beside me, Ben began to fade, starting at the feet. As more dirt fell, more of Ben disappeared. Finally, like the Cheshire Cat, there was only his smile.

That faded, too and he was gone.

Author’s Note: I love phrases that have double-meanings.


Drabble: Avoidance of Eye Contact by Simon Petrie

by specklit

Unease grows. Miss Eleni, our chaperone, has been gone some time.

I scan the grove. “We should go look.” My betrothed agrees.

Ahead, a statue. “It’s like Miss Eleni,” remarks my betrothed.

“Very like,” I agree. “In stone. Alarmed.”

“A gorgon?” The thought chills.

“No. These woods are safe. Kalliope always brings lovers here. Or so I’ve heard.”

Further, another statue. Philomena. My missing cousin, pure of heart.

Something clicks: a gorgon, crossed with a unicorn? Seen only by the virginal?

“Close your eyes.” I pull my betrothed close. Kiss deep. “We must save ourselves.”

“By not saving ourselves?”

“Exactly.”

Author’s Note: The Gorgon is possibly my favorite mythological creature. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a nominative fascination with the idea of ‘petrification’? The trick, as always, is to find a new wrinkle.


Drabble: Monsters by Samantha Lienhard

by specklit

She couldn’t sleep.

Whenever Sarah closed her eyes, her skin crawled with terror, as if something watched her. Something evil.

And then there were the noises. A tapping at the door, like something wanted to get in.

That fear, at least, she could calm. She got up and opened the door.

A hairy leg poked into her room, followed by seven more. She screamed. The spider reared back and lunged.

Sarah slammed the door against the spider and forced it back into the hall.

Claws grabbed her from behind, and inhuman laughter rang out. “Thank you. It almost stopped me.”

Author’s Note: I love stories that have a reversal—where a character that appears evil is actually good and vice versa. If a giant spider was trying to save my life, it would take a lot of work to get that point through my panic and terror.


Drabble: Patience by Rob Butler

by specklit

“Do I know you?” asked Sally plaintively.

“Yes. I’m your friend Dermott.”

Sally’s face cleared. “Of course you are. Hello Dermott.”

“Hello Sally.”

The two friends sat for a few minutes looking happily at each other. Gradually Sally’s face showed signs of confusion.

“Do I know you?” asked Sally plaintively.

“Yes. I’m your friend Dermott.”

Sally’s face cleared. “Of course you are. Hello Dermott.”

“Hello Sally.”

Outside in the corridor of the Dementia Unit a member of staff glanced in and smiled. Sally was happy.

As night fell and Sally relaxed into sleep, Dermott unplugged itself ready for the morning.

Author’s note: I think I’d be quite happy with a friendly robot if I got dementia and it would free up my family and staff to do other things.


Drabble: Tourists in Hell by Alison McBain

by specklit

“This is the first circle of hell.”

“What?” asked George, poking at his hearing aid.

“The first circle!” his wife shouted.

“Not bad,” he said, taking out his camera.

“No photos,” reminded the guide. “Be careful. The next level is lust. It’s windy.”

“What?”

“Lust!” Dolores screamed. Her skin pinkened as everyone on the tour stopped to look at her. “Sorry.”

“No worries,” said the guide. “Right this way. Eight to go.”

“You wanted the bargain tour,” complained Dolores, but her husband didn’t hear. “At least we won’t be here forever.”

Their guide grinned. “Don’t be so sure of that.”

Author’s Note: If you’ve ever taken a tour, you’ve probably seen these tourists. Just a bit more of an unusual location for a vacation.


Drabble: Ghostwriter by Erin M. Hartshorn

by specklit

Sunny tried to ignore the words on the paper. They had been there when she sat down, but no one would believe that, would they? This never happened when her mother or sister or even the therapist (whom they’d insisted upon) was near — only when she was alone. The therapist had even tried hypnosis “to induce the automatic writing.” It didn’t work because Sunny didn’t do the writing.

The ghost did it. Her mother (etc.) didn’t believe that, either. This time, he’d stuck with something he was known for. “It was a dark and stormy night . . . ”

Author’s Note: My introduction to Bulwer-Lytton’s famous opening line actually came via Snoopy, then Madeleine L’Engle. I always wanted to put my own twist on it.


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