Hyun and I were on the D.C. mall when the tourists appeared.
You could tell by their jeans. Denim trends are too subtle, and tourists never get them right. Theirs were too high-waisted.
We sprinted toward Independence Ave. Other locals noticed and stampeded.
Tourists only appear for two things: the uplifting moments and the horrible ones. And nothing big was supposed to happen that day.
Of course, all the time travelers–jeans not right, faces eager, hands in their pockets to hit their return buttons at just the right instant–knew different.
Behind us, the first bomb went off.
Author’s Note: We know that humans will never invent time travel because history reports no instances of weirdly dressed yokels hanging out at, say, the birth of Christ. …OR DOES IT?
Luther won’t be happy.
Best get it over with. “Remember that armor you fashioned for me?”
“Aye,” says he. “Served you well on your foray into the Weird Vale, did it?”
“Better than my sword. But… I was attacked.”
“Took a few nicks, I’ll bet. But we’ll soon have the dents out.”
“Worse than that, I’m afraid.” I dump what’s left on his bench.
He examines the chestplate, obscenely corroded and pitted. “My lights! What fell beast caused this? Dragon? Hydra? Minotaur?”
“Worse. I was ambushed by regurgitant revenants.”
“How’s that?” he asks.
“The bilious undead.”
“Vombies,” I explain.
Author’s Note: I like blending things that don’t really go together, but sound like they should. If you think this example is bad, I once wrote a 40-worder combining Snow White and lycanthropy. The word ‘dwolves’ may have made an appearance.
With a sinking heart, Serena caught sight of the herbal remedy steeping on the sideboard. Too long. Shouldn’t have talked so long to Maybelle, but the gossip had been sweeter than a child’s fondest memory. The king’s daughter missing–!!
Steep five minutes, said the spellbook. How long had it been? Twenty? How bad could it be?
She ladled liquid into the tiny red jar and stoppered it. Took up a quill, dipped it in ink: Extra-Strength Love Potion, 3 gold pieces. She crossed out the three and wrote one. Someone would buy it and it would make delicious gossip.
Author’s Note: Besides being a witch (or so people tell me) I also am a terrible cook. But I have a fondness for finding the positive in my egregious cooking errors: hockey pucks, FB posts…and now, stories!
Paul Atkinson headed off into the hills for his favorite walk.
The sun was shining but he soon passed through a thick clammy cloud before emerging on the upper slopes. He’d never encountered cloud on the hill before and he felt quite chilled.
Further on he saw Bill and Dolores. He called out and waved at them but they didn’t seem to see him. At the top he paused and admired his surroundings.
There was a new bench he’d never seen before. He noticed it had an inscription with these words:
“In Memory of Paul Atkinson who loved this place.”
Author’s Note: It would be comforting to think that we don’t really notice when we die.
Space-suited on the hull of the ship, Ginny repressed a snort. Her ex-husband, Thomas, had finally replaced some items on her tool belt, before following her out the hatch. At least he was trying to win her back. It was almost enough.
“Long-handled spanner?” she asked.
Thomas shrugged, spinning goofily on his tether, almost adorable.
Ginny gripped the shorter wrench, unleashed her tether, floated the few inches to the repair job.
The reluctant bolt loosened, drifted away. She grabbed, twisted, eye caught by Thomas’ antics. Momentum took over, she sailed off. Thomas shot her a short safety line. Almost enough.
Author’s Note: I’ve found that some people will always let you down. And you have to learn to let go. Or not.