John and Sarah climbed the stairs, while Mike remained below to monitor activity levels in the building.
Would they really encounter ghosts? On the second floor, Sarah set up their equipment and frowned. She was the newest member of the team, and part of her was dubious about the existence of spirits.
“All right.” John clapped his hands together. “We—”
His radio crackled. “Guys? There’s something in there with you.”
Sarah looked around. The room was empty.
“Excellent,” John said. “We’ll attempt to make contact.”
“No, it’s not a gho—”
The radio died and the lights went out.
Author’s Note: Ghost hunters at a local spot were reportedly told by their team member on the ground floor, “There’s something in there with you. It’s not a spirit.” This is one of the accounts of the building being haunted by a demon, as well as ghosts.
Chef Gustave gaped at his creation. He had just sliced the thinnest piece of cucumber in the world. It was literally one atom of thickness.
After years of practice in the culinary arts, he had finally made his magnum opus.
I wonder if I can do even better than this, thought Gustave.
With great concentration, he prepared to cut the next slice. This one would have to be less than one atom thick.
The knife fell on the cucumber. Success!
At this precise instant, a nuclear explosion destroyed all of Manhattan.
Author’s Note: And they say there is no limit to self-improvement . . .
Not long ago, while in the restroom of The Leafy Greens, a vegan café, the vampire got him. He didn’t even get to finish his kale salad, which was one of his favorite menu items.
Now however, he could not afford to lament his past. What mattered at that moment was satisfying his hunger.
He silently approached his victim, desiring to pierce that beautiful flesh. It appeared so firm, so ripe.
He attacked, sinking his fangs in deep. Once satisfied, the Vegan Vampire stood up and wiped the red stains from his chin. The tomato before him had been drained.
Author’s Note: Vegans don’t eat animals, but vampires suck blood. What happens when the two mix? Hence the birth of the Vegan Vampire.
Sir Reginald was approaching his big speech. He was enjoying himself. The new gizmo in his eye was displaying the words for him.
He was too old to remember his lines now but with this thing he could go on for years.
“To be, or not to be, that is the Software Error 37.”
He stopped in horror. Nothing else appeared. His mind went blank just like his screen.
Slowly the lights came on. Every member of the audience looked up from their various phones and tablets.
The play seemed a little short but nevertheless they broke into warm applause.
Author’s Note: Don’t you hate it when people don’t watch the play in a theatre?
From April to June, 2014 we published some fantastic stories (as always), but there were three that stood out in our readers’ minds. The top Reader Choice story from the 2nd Quarter of 2014 was:
Congrats! The author will be receiving a gift certificate to her favorite online bookstore.
Our second and third place stories (whose authors will also recieve gift certificates) were:
Thanks to everyone who voted!
And speaking of voting, it’s past time we got you voting for the best stories of the 3rd Quarter (July to September, 2014).
We invite you to use the form below to vote on your top three stories. The winners will receive Amazon gift certificates. Votes must be received by the 30th of November. Winners will be announced during the 1st Quarter of 2015.
The Best of SpeckLit 3rd Quarter 2014
Enter the name of your top 3 stories in the spaces provided. To refresh your memory, you can visit any of them by clicking on the story title. Only one set of votes per email address allowed. Email addresses will not be used for any purpose other than confirm the validity of the vote. At the end of the month, they will be discarded.
As always, thank you for helping make SpeckLit the place on the web for micro-fiction.
His name was Ralph. I was just starting to like him.
We snuck off to the Edge to get high on visions and false memories. The abyss plays with your mind, so you start imagining lost cities in amazing detail, like you’d been there. (Everyone knows that “east” stops at Omaha.)
“Tell you a secret,” he said. “This ain’t the end of the world. It’s the beginning. I guess I’m as ready to begin now as I ever will be.” Then he stepped off the Edge. (Everyone knows he never existed.)
I come the Edge these days to remember him.
Author’s Note: I’d like to say that this came out of fascination with the unreliability of memory and also with the way contentment in the face of loss sometimes seems dependent upon a sort of self-inflicted selective amnesia. Honestly, though, I think I just had a Michael Swanwick story stuck in my head for several years straight.