Exploring a new moon, Captain Vasquez’s crew accidentally drilled into the side of a space vessel buried deep underground. Thousands of giant crystalline spiders spilled out the hole and began spinning fiber optic webs over the moon’s valleys.
Once complete, the web network began broadcasting its coordinates into outer space, presumably calling more spacefaring arachnids forth.
Their mission accomplished, the spiders began to eat.
They started with Vasquez’s landing craft. Next they went for the drill.
“They prefer electronic things, not flesh,” Helmsley said with relief.
“Yes.” Vasquez laughed grimly. “Electronic things such as our space suits.”
Author’s Note: Really, this one is all about the crystalline spiders and their fiber optic webs. The image popped into my head some time ago and never left.
There’s a monster under my bed.
I don’t want him to go away. He’s my best friend. My parents just think he’s imaginary, which is fine with me: he eats dust bunnies and cleans under my bed. Sure, I’ve had to have a talk with him about mangling my stuffed animals, but he’s learned by now that only dust is okay.
But tonight, I had a baby-sitter who wanted to kill him. She said it was unhealthy, and she tried to exterminate him. Of course he had to fight back.
But how do I explain that my baby-sitter is missing?
Author’s Note: I’ve always liked the idea that a monster under the bed could be a best friend, rather than enemy.
The boy was drowning and though Billy Somerset was still learning to swim, he jumped into the pool to save him.
As he reached for the boy, the body rolled, revealing empty sockets and a piranha grin. Then the dead boy was reaching back with gnarled, black claws.
Billy tried to surface, but a slender hand caught his ankle. Thrash as he might, he couldn’t break free.
Then new hands seized Billy, pulling him from the water.
“Don’t be scared, Billy, you’ll get it,” his Dad said as Billy fought for air. “Just take a breather and hop back in.”
Author’s Note: Inspired by that startling moment in the original Friday the 13th when little Jason erupts out of Crystal Lake and bear-hugs the lone survivor of his mother’s rampage.
The troll scratched his nose, and straightened his tie nervously. The humans were still carefully not watching him.
For almost two hours none of them had risked a glance. There were five of them, their eyes front, backs straight, breathing heavily. His commute was always like this. They were always so scared, and he was tired of it. He’d never eaten anyone because they looked at him funny.
The bus was crowded when it arrived, standing room only, and he could feel the weight of everyone onboard carefully not looking at him.
“I’ll take the next one,” the troll sighed.
Author’s Note: Awkward bus rides… with trolls.
It was the perfect heist. We planned every detail, finding the frequency of the casino’s shield grid, tuning the ship’s emitters to slide right through—we got door cards, passcodes, and schedules. I was the inside woman, slipping through their security loops like a ghost, the nanochip behind my eye directing me as I crept toward the server room.
It was a matter of moments to make the credit transfer, and then I was out, racing ahead of the automated alert system and onto the roof. My so-called fiancé, the pilot, was already cruising away. It was the perfect heist.
Author’s Note: It’s alright to admire someone else’s cleverness, even when it comes at your own expense.
“In 500 metres turn left.”
The man turns the car onto a dirt path. He has never been this way before. Empty fields stretch out in all directions. No houses, other cars, human eyes. He continues down the deserted road.
“You have reached your destination.”
This isn’t the location he entered into his GPS. He looks up. In the distance is a seated shadowed figure with a laptop. He puts his car in reverse. Nothing. The car is locked. Its systems hacked. He tries to undo his belt. Locked. The figured approaches. Slow, sure. There is something in its hand…
Author’s Note: I once entered the name of a restaurant into my phone and not only got directions for a place in another country, but another continent – would have been quite the walk.
The young monk Aris teetered at the cliff’s edge, arms outspread. Surf crashed into the jagged rocks far below.
“Aris!” Father Petrod called out. “Do not tempt God, my son! What you are contemplating is a mortal sin.”
Aris turned his head and smiled at the abbot. “No one in the monastery understood me, Father. They mocked the intensity of my passion for God’s most perfect creation, His holy sheep. You alone were kind, saying, ‘Only by your faith shall you be lifted up.’ Farewell!”
For the eternity of a moment, Aris felt his wings fill with God’s redeeming breath.
Author’s Note: One hopes that Aris’s faith preserved him. But one also wonders if he would’ve been better off without it.
The agent disclosed that the prior owner had hung himself in the closet. Not deterred, Connie requested time alone in the house. Death didn’t always mean hauntings, and hauntings weren’t always malevolent.
She tentatively entered the closet. “Are you here?” she asked aloud. “Are you here?” she repeated. A translucent man appeared, suspended by a rope. He smiled and offered his ethereal hand. Connie reached out.
Electricity tore through her body. Agonizing pain in her neck—can’t breathe.
He stood before her, as she swung from the rope. “Your turn,” he said. He left the closet and all went black.
Author’s Note: After I bought my first house I was told that the previous owner had hung himself there. Though I never saw or heard from him from the other side, I was always on the lookout.
Somebody brought pixie eggs aboard our starship.
It was not a bright move.
Pixie eggs are contraband on hyperspace spaceships for very good reasons. You’d think everybody knew about them. There are signs posted all over the spaceport. But some stupid person stored them in a suitcase of souvenirs from the pixies’ planet, and they were hidden from customs too well.
As soon as the spaceship entered hyperspace, the eggs hatched into a swarm of pixies. Only one thing could result.
Does anybody know how to turn a field of itchweed back into a navigational array?
Author’s Note: This originally started out life as a poem. But I was the only one who seemed to like it that way, so I wrote it this way instead. (Grin.)
The black thorns of Murkkill Woods. The leeching muck of Algray Swamp. The sharp-toothed dreadwort. The cold. The moat. The keep.
Worth it. The clawed marks, the contusions, the finger lost to a giant brood worm—all worth it. Her sleeping form, inert and available. Her pale, voluptuary flesh. The rotted blouse crumbles at his touch. The skirt pulls up. Breeches off. On top of his beauty. So deep asleep. Surely one kiss will not hurt…
Talons extend. Teeth gleam. She wakes. He screams. And he learns, all too well, that sometimes it is best to let sleeping things lie.
Author’s note: Okay, lesson learned. The best things in life come from an ice cream stand, not a murky wood.