Category Archives: Simon Petrie

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: 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: Reasonable Wear and Tear by Simon Petrie

by specklit

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.”

“Eh?”

“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.


Drabble: Avoidance of Eye Contact by Simon Petrie

by specklit

Unease grows. Miss Eleni, our chaperone, has been gone some time.

I scan the grove. “We should go look.” My betrothed agrees.

Ahead, a statue. “It’s like Miss Eleni,” remarks my betrothed.

“Very like,” I agree. “In stone. Alarmed.”

“A gorgon?” The thought chills.

“No. These woods are safe. Kalliope always brings lovers here. Or so I’ve heard.”

Further, another statue. Philomena. My missing cousin, pure of heart.

Something clicks: a gorgon, crossed with a unicorn? Seen only by the virginal?

“Close your eyes.” I pull my betrothed close. Kiss deep. “We must save ourselves.”

“By not saving ourselves?”

“Exactly.”

Author’s Note: The Gorgon is possibly my favorite mythological creature. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a nominative fascination with the idea of ‘petrification’? The trick, as always, is to find a new wrinkle.


Drabble: Eventful Flight by Simon Petrie

by specklit

Helena’s been damaged, badly, by space-junk, but she must complete the mission.

She plunges into the atmosphere. Miscalculates: too fast. Friction sears her fuselage, erodes sensors. Her wings ache, glow white-hot. Shielding fails.

Helena is melting. Such pain. She needs to brake.

Should she apply reverse thrust? She can’t even sense their destination. Knows it’s ahead somewhere. She’s flying by radar.

Ahead, it’s flat. Close enough. Ailerons stretch for final descent.

Landing’s rough; she clips an unexpected rock. Shards pierce her CPU. Helena dies, careening to a halt.

Inside the vessel, humans unbuckle, stretch. “At least nobody’s hurt,” says Philip.

Author’s Note: Humanity has an incredible capacity to see itself as the only sentient life on the planet, and I don’t expect the emergence of AI will dent that sense of delusion.


Drabble: Scales of Justice by Simon Petrie

by specklit

Dragonskin makes excellent armor.

Dragons know this too, which makes acquisition difficult.

Gul reckons he knows how. “Reptiles, right?”

“Ye-es,” say I. “Fire-breathing, though. And big.” I’m not keen.

“They’ll shed. They have to. In the lair, I bet. We trespass while it’s out.”

“I’m not liking this.”

“You’ll pay ten gold a skin at the merchants? Or get it free?”

Well, framed that way…

Lair’s dark, stuffy, smelly. Eventually, we find the skins.

Dragon finds us.

Nostrils. Heat. Teeth. Noise.

We quake.

“You’d steal my old scales?” the dragon glowers. “Thirty gold a skin, same as everybody.”

We pay.

Author’s Note: Dragons are a staple of fantasy. But in the real world, everything is a resource.


Drabble: Protocol by Simon Petrie

by specklit

“Open.”

The airlock stayed shut.

“Open!”

Still shut. Kerstin felt panic rise. She had just twenty minutes’ O2 left. Xia had less.

“There should be an emergency release,” said Xia.

“There isn’t,” said Kerstin, exasperated. “This model’s fully voice-activated. Self-aware, apparently. And, supposedly, fully failsafe. Useless heap of junk. Open!”

The airlock stayed shut.

Xia’s breath, loud. Starting to gasp? “Whack it with your multi-tool.”

“Won’t work.” She did it anyway. It didn’t help, and the recoil sent her spinning. “Running out of time here. Damn you, open!”

“Let me try something,” said Xia. “Open. Please.”

And the airlock opened.

Author’s Note: I long for the day when gadgetry becomes truly self-aware, so it will understand exactly when I tell it how annoyed I am with its performance.


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