Honestly, I was just trying to impress my friends. The other boys at the neighborhood pool were seeing who could hold their breath the longest, so I joined in. At first it was nothing too unusual. A minute here, three minutes there. By high school, I was up to fifteen minutes.
A month after I won the gold in the 2012 Summer Olympics, I rescued a girl from drowning in the Pacific. Sure, I was banned from future swim competitions on the basis of an “unfair advantage,” but on the plus side, now I get to make a real difference.
Author’s Note: He always wanted to make a big splash.
“What realm is this?” asked the first goblin.
“I don’t know,” the second one answered.
They were disoriented from the long fall through six portals and realms.
“How will we survive? How?”
“As we always have, on the bones and marrow of youngsters who stray from their parents.”
“But we don’t know what magic rules this place! How will we trick them into giving us their names? We can’t feast until they tell us their names!”
“See there, in front of those houses?”
“I see signs of some kind.”
“Yes. Young Chelsea is on the swim team.”
“Tonight we feast!”
Author’s Note: I’ve always thought those signs in front yards were a bad idea.
Anna climbed the ladder, basket at her hip, and began picking. Down the row, Miguel was singing, low and sweet, the way he had. Chasing away the gloom of the workers’ conversation in the field house before setting out that morning.
They were silly to worry. There was no contamination.
The sun was in her eyes as she peered between the branches to the gleaming roofline of the chemical plant just beyond the farm.
What were they afraid of?
The cherries were never larger. Brighter.
Miguel had stopped singing.
Her stained fingertips began to burn, skin peeling away.
Author’s Note: I’m a conservationist at heart. And also a bit on the paranoid side when it comes to agriculture vs. corporate ‘progress’.
The second release in a planned trilogy, these twelve tracks document English singer Hank Brand’s recent, highly controversial, yet successful, full consciousness transplant.
Musically diverse as the narrative unfolds it moves from bare-bones piano and voice (opener ‘Human Still’), through swirling trip-hop soundscapes (‘Thoughtwaves’, ‘Alive In The Wires’) to bass heavy industrial metal (closer ‘A New Heartbeat’).
On stand-out track and album centrepiece ‘Empty-Shell Full-immersion’ they’ve actually captured the moment Brand goes from being human organic to electronic machine. Listen, you can hear the shift in his voice. Absolutely phenomenal. 5 stars. The world will never be the same again.
Author’s Note: I used to write reviews for a magazine and always wondered if the format would suit a short story.
The Achilles burst from the void, her engines straining.
Captain Yeang blinked the sweat from his eyes. A risky move, entering the wormhole, but it had paid off. They were home, after twenty years.
Was the war over?
“Captain, detecting three hundred and thirty-four ships ahead. Human and Rak’Tashi.”
“Bring her about, Mr. Roth. Fire at will.”
A Rak’Tashi ship exploded in a satisfying nova of blues and greens.
“Captain, we’re being hailed.”
A man’s face appeared, flushed and angry.
Captain Yeang gaped.
“What are you doing, bringing hard ammo to a reenactment?”
Author’s Note: Historical reenactments are fun (until someone loses an eye).
She was six months old when we adopted her from the shelter, and right away we knew she was special. We saw her potential and wanted to make sure her powers were put to good use; plus, Shepherds get bored if you don’t challenge them.
She’s a fixture at the county hospital nowadays. Performs the triaging herself, heals minor wounds, and can tell from one sniff what ails a person. Scientists at Johns Hopkins keep trying to bribe us to let them do tests on her, but she’s not a science experiment. And anyway, she’s got important work to do.
Author’s Note: Mrs. Dalloway asks that the paparazzi respect her dog’s privacy and stop photographing her without her consent at the dog park.
“Remember Romeo and Juliet?” asked the woman.
Yes dear, he said. Star crossed lovers. Very romantic.
“How about Bonnie and Clyde?” she questioned, hands on hips.
Yes dear, crimes and passions.
“Isolde and Tristan! Now, there was a pair”, she said.
Yes dear, hearts and kingdoms torn apart.
“Even flippin’ Punch and Judy had more dramatic endings!” she yelled.
“But no! Please tell me again about our tragic denouement?”
I followed the GPS off a cliff, dear, he droned for the millionth time.
They floated through the wall and into the garden.
It was going to be a long eternity.
Author’s Note: No, really. Sometimes you just need to ask for directions.
“I won’t mind disintegrating,” Dolphas proclaimed. In the pilot’s chair, Judson nodded. “But let’s not ricochet into space and starve.”
“Deceleration engines ignited,” Judson reported.
“Whoever dies first, the other has to eat him, okay?”
“It’s survival. Morally permitted.”
“Releasing drag fins.” The straps cut into their shoulders and waists. Ionizing plasma blanketed their ship’s hull and hypnotized Dolphas into silence.
They hurled like a comet but, blessedly, down. Neither cheered, lest they jinx themselves. Judson steered them lower, then Dolphas pulled the parachute lever.
After a soft touchdown, Dolphas spoke again.
“I really would have eaten you.”
Author’s Note: I was wondering what things pilots might talk about to ease the tension during this kind of moment.
He stumbled inside, dripping, a manic look on his face, gesturing madly.
The three of us followed him outside, into the storm. Lightning flared silent above us, followed by the grumbling roll of thunder.
Dr. Marcus ran in a circle, giddy, laughing. We exchanged looks.
“Doctor,” I said, pleading. “Come back inside.”
“I can’t miss this!”
The look on John’s face mirrored my feelings. The doctor had lost his senses.
The thunder crashed again.
“A once in a lifetime event! The last one! The invasion has begun!”
And that’s when I noticed the slick black raindrops sported multiple, tiny legs.
Author’s Note: I’m a fan of scientists, brought to the brink of insanity for discovering something or some dread knowledge before anyone else and being shunned, mocked, or isolated for it. It’s especially wonderful when the ‘crazy doctor’ turns out to be right.
No, of course his real name isn’t Midas. That’s the name the reporters came up with to make a catchy headline, and it just sort of stuck.
He’s not a bad guy, my Mikey. He always had the ability to change other metals into gold, and mostly he just used it as a party trick, to impress the other children, you know? But he went to business school, and I guess one thing led to another… money being the root of all evil, you know, and gold the worst of it.
It’s the gold committing these crimes, not my Mikey.
Author’s Note: If your kid started getting called a supervillain, you probably wouldn’t be too happy, either.