One Last Good-Bye

It’s not supposed to be this quiet. The lights are all off except for the ones over the exits, but there isn’t anyone left here who needs them. It’s just me, and I can’t leave.

They turned off all the machines, too. No more flashing lights, spinning dials, or “7s” lining up in a row. There’s no sound of coins clinking in a metal tray, no cards shuffling, no dice tumbling. There’s no shouting, no laughter, no ice chinking in cocktail glasses.

The only sound is the rain and the wind that sometimes rattles the windows. At least when the hurricane hits it won’t be quiet anymore. Continue reading

The Right Word

This bit of silliness was written at the request of a friend, who wanted stories for her birthday.

Knavery, knavish, knawel.”

Rob heard mumbling from the next room over and found his friend Bob sitting cross-legged in the middle of the floor, a dictionary open in his lap. Bob’s index finger advanced down the page as he recited each word aloud.

“What are you doing?” Rob asked.

“Looking for a word. Knead, knee, knee action, knee breeches,” Bob replied without looking up. Continue reading

Etc.

For Sunday Scribblings

Crimson blood dripped from the base of the severed head, each drop sizzling as it hit the brand new hardwood floor.

She stood in the doorway, transfixed, her keys in one hand, her bag of groceries in the other. “What—”

George, the contractor, stood with his back to her. In one hand he held the severed head. The other hand gripped some sort of short sword, the blade smeared in the same crimson blood. He turned and a smile spread across his face. “You’re back, Mrs. Prichard. Hope you like what we’ve done. The rest of the cabinets should be in tomorrow.” Continue reading

Magic and Wyatt

Note: This story is for the weekly Flash Fiction Challenge posted on the blog of the insanely talented Chuck Wendig. The title is the result of a random title generator.

Wyatt didn’t think very much about magic until the day the faeries tried to kill him. One second he was taking a leisurely soak in his bathtub, and the next he was dodging a toaster. It was the lack of general knowledge about common household appliances that tipped him off. He wouldn’t have suspected the faeries if they had used a hairdryer or a curling iron. Though the curling iron would have been a little hard to explain since he lived alone and didn’t have a girlfriend.

If it weren’t for the attempted murder, he certainly never would have found himself in the office of Basil Alderdice, the local magician for hire, staring at jars labeled “powered cockatrice beak” and “dried manticore lips.” Continue reading

Detail Oriented

“Excuse me.”

Malcolm glanced up from his book to see a young man in a business suit standing in front of his desk. Early twenties. Clean-cut. All-American good looks. Perfect teeth that no doubt bought an orthodontist a beach house. His suit was expensive, but he wore it sloppily. His fake grin was just short of a condescending smirk.

“May I help you?” Malcolm asked. Continue reading

The Skeleton Key

Kate opened another drawer and immediately banged it shut, hard enough to shake the entire kitchen. She groaned. “Did you hear me, Sean? I asked a question.”

Sean peered up at her from the blueprints and other papers strewn across the kitchen table. “I’m sorry. No, I couldn’t hear you. There’s a crazy lady banging drawers.”

She glared at him. “I asked you if you’ve seen the skeleton key. I can’t find it. Mr. McAndrew said it was in the drawer next to the door, but it’s not there. I’ve looked everywhere I can think of.”

“The skeleton key? Why do you need the skeleton key?” Continue reading

Flowers among the Ruins

Grace stopped directly in front of the rose bush. Right on top was a beautiful rose in full bloom. It wasn’t like any rose she’d ever seen before. Every one of its delicate, snow-white petals was trimmed in brilliant crimson.

She glanced down at the brand-new camera in her hand. Her grandchildren had given it to her in anticipation of this trip.  Her oldest grandson had shown her how to use it, but she didn’t really understand most of what he had told her, other than how to actually take a picture. She didn’t know how to check to see how many pictures there were before the camera ran out of memory.

The rose bush grew in front of the ruined monks’ cloisters at Canterbury Cathedral, and the stark stone ruins against the blue sky made a striking scene as well. She had roses in her back yard in Illinois, she told herself. On the other hand, the last time she checked, there weren’t any eleventh-century cathedrals close by. Continue reading

Interview with a–

Vampire.

He’d run through all of the possibilities, and it was the only one left. He stood facing a genuine vampire, fangs, glowing red eyes, and all.

He supposed it was his own mistake, staying in the university archives so late. He had come to Kraków to research his next book on the life of Jan Sobieski, the Polish king, and he was not above slipping a few złotych into the hands of a librarian or two to stay after hours. Now he wished he had called it an early day. Continue reading

The Future of the Planet

Sunday Scribblings #108

“Come on, man, the future of the planet depends on it!”

Jake just rolled his eyes.  Charlie was always talking like that.  He said he’d die if Christina Aguilera married someone else.  He didn’t.  He said it would be  a catastrophe of Biblical proportions if he didn’t get a Wii for Christmas.  It wasn’t, although there were some tears involved.

“I don’t think the future of the planet depends on whether or not I come to your house to play Grand Theft Auto,” Jake replied.  The truth was that even though it was after one o’clock in the afternoon, he hadn’t gotten out of bed yet.

“Oh, come on.  You’re like the fifth person I’ve called.  No one wants to hang out with me.  What’s wrong?  Do I smell or something.  Tell the truth.  I can take it.”

Jake just rolled his eyes again.  “Fine.  I’ll be there in half an hour.” Continue reading

Foul

Sunday Scribblings #96

Fair is foul and foul is fair indeed! That’s the last time we do any of you a favor! That’s right, we did you a favor.

Do you think we did it just for kicks? Do you really think we like mucking about in politics? Personally I’d rather bite the head off of a live bat than get involved in all the petty intrigues and currying of favor and (literal) backstabbing, but then you probably think I like biting the heads off of live bats, just because I’m a witch. Continue reading