Monthly Archives: June 2014

Drabble: I’ll Never Have That Recipe Again by Simon Petrie

by specklit

Plague spread fast, culling old and young. The King summoned his wizard.

But the plague summoned first.

“He died,” said Abigail, his apprentice.

“Then it’s hopeless,” the King said.

“But he found a cure!” she protested. “A potion. He told me the incantation, most of the ingredients.”

“And they are…?”

“Badger’s eye, baby’s hair, hawk’s egg, elm’s bark—“

“Those we can find. What else?”

“One herb,” said Abigail. “It won’t work without it.”

“What herb?”

“He only said ‘Time is of the essence’. Then he died.”

“That’s that, then,” said the King. “Pity. Sounded promising for a minute.”

Author’s Note: If, as a reader, you find puns distasteful, I’d suggest there’s a lot of my writing you probably shouldn’t read.

Drabble: Hat’s Off by Katherine McCarthy

by specklit

There was a woman from Newbiggin-On-Lune who kept her brain in a hat. She put it on a high shelf in the downstairs lav.

In this way the woman succeeded in meeting everyone’s expectations. In the hat in the lav the brain lived contemplating, concluding, combobulating. The brain grew tired of the indoor life and longed for the taste of the open road. With its hat already on it set off and it did not take long to find more stimulating occupation.

When the woman returned to find it gone she did not have the wit to mourn it’s loss.

Author’s Note: Newbiggin-On-Lune sounds like the kind of place where strange things happen, I’ve built a cast of curiosities around it. I drive past it often but never stop as I’d only be disappointed.

Drabble: Magic by Samantha Lienhard

by specklit

“Magic.” That was what the media labeled the new energy source. Gregory supposed that made him a sorcerer, since he was the first to use it. No one else had the nerve.

It was the future. It would replace electricity—and change the world.

He entered the workshop and touched the glowing stone that contained the “magic.” It filled him. Power. Warmth. Energy. He embraced it and fell into its depths. The workshop and the crowd outside vanished.

It called to him and embraced him. It was all there was.

It was all he needed.

It was all that mattered.

Author’s Note: I was thinking about magic, and I imagined that it could be so addictive, the people who tried to use it would never be able to think about anything else.

Drabble: Time Dynamics, Inc. by Erin M. Hartshorn

by specklit

Thank you for choosing Time Dynamics Incorporated. Please direct your attention to the instructional video. Your suit will enable you to survive any environment on Earth at least long enough to signal for retrieval through the device on your belt. In case of miscalculated coordinates that land you outside Earth’s atmosphere, the suit is capable of functioning as an oxygen-carbon dioxide exchanger. You may choose any time period for your excursion, although it is recommended you engage the camouflage circuits before you jump. Please remember, gray is the only color these suits come in, and avoid Roswell and Area 51.

Author’s Note: There’s got to be a reason everyone sees Grays, right?

Drabble: Ready to Go by Rob Butler

by specklit

The spaceship had always been there. Or so it seemed. It had landed so long ago that it was now classified as a prehistoric monument. There were even tourist trips.

“Our delightful ancestors had no interest in investigating the artefact or seeing if they could communicate with it,” explained our tour guide, “they simply tried to destroy it with their primitive nuclear weapons. However, as you see, it is still in pristine condition and, sadly, we now think it is empty. Its purpose will probably never be known.”

A little boy tugged at his mother.

“Look, Mummy, the door’s opening.”

Author’s note: Aliens who live for millennia would probably take their time working through the pre-EVA checklist.

Drabble: Half the Man by Simon Petrie

by specklit

The nymph and the satyr had hit a rough patch. They sought relationship counseling.

In a one-on-one session, the counselor asked Nereie to describe the problem.

“It’s his animal urges,” she explained.

“You feel he’s too highly sexed?” asked the counselor.

“Oh, not that,” said Nereie. “He’s a satyr, you know? It goes with the territory.”

“Is infidelity an issue?”

“No. But he’s half goat. It… causes problems.”

“You find body hair repulsive?”

“You’re missing my point,” Nereie complained.

“Then, please, what is your point?”

“Whenever I wash my diaphanous gowns, and hang them out to dry, he eats them.”

Author’s Note: A close friend of mine has always wanted me to write a story with a satyr, but I never found an angle I thought I could use. But if you think about something long enough, often the idea will occur.

Drabble: Across the River by Samantha Lienhard

by specklit

Rivers. If he had a choice, he wouldn’t go anywhere near them.

But he did not have a choice, because he was dead.

Hermes came back for him. “Will you please stop delaying?”

“Nope. I know how this goes.” He held up his coin. “I have to get in a boat. No way.”

The god rolled his eyes. “I can’t believe the great hero is afraid of a boat… Look, you’re set to go to Elysium, so why don’t you just get this part over with?”

Elysium. This was just one more battle to overcome first.

He could do it.

Author’s Note: I challenged myself to write a drabble with a happy ending in which the happy ending was not necessarily a twist. I also was thinking a lot about Greek mythology and the Underworld, so I decided to incorporate that.

Drabble: Cantankerous Bones by Ken MacGregor

by specklit

The necromancer spent days preparing the spell, gathering the necessary components and the skeleton of course.

The skeleton was all that was left of the necromancer’s apprentice. The lazy, difficult lad that had no aptitude for sorcery. He was the necromancer’s nephew, and he only took the boy on as a favor.

He poured his magic into the bones, slicing open a much-scarred left arm to draw the sacrificial blood.

The skeleton rose and stood shaky, knock-kneed before the necromancer. The dark wizard told his creation to go and lay waste to his enemies.

The skeleton shook his skull, no.

Author’s Note: I like the idea of powerful evil wizards failing in small, pathetic ways.

Drabble: The Unexpected Suitor by Bryce Hughes

by specklit

Aelrick didn’t hear the bear foraging outside when he cast his first love spell. He strove to get the words right. He liked his favorite wizard’s lilting incantations, so he worked on that as well.

The bear pushed the back door open, rose on his hind legs and made for Aelrick. Aelrick dropped his grimoire and started to run, but the bear caught him in a hug. The look on the bear’s face told Aelrick what he’d done.

Aelrick grabbed his book. Chanting as fast as he could with no lilt at all, Aelrick turned the bear into a man.

Author’s Note: I set out to play with what could go wrong, or right, with a spell, and this came to me.

Drabble: Ghost Detective by Erin M. Hartshorn

by specklit

It took less time than I thought for ghosts to be declared citizens after the planes overlapped; it took even less time for me to get a sign up on my door proclaiming me a “Detective with Ghostly Interests in Mind.” They come see me to straighten out bigamy issues or get their names cleared (somewhat belatedly). I listen to their stories, take their funds (all digital now anyway), and resolve every case–never had a single complaint. Of course none of them notice that my expertise comes from being trained in exorcisms by the Vatican. Requiescant in pace, indeed.

Author’s Note: In urban fantasy, not everyone appreciates rights being extended to non-humans.

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