Trail

She’ll be waking up now, wondering where she is and how she got there. She’ll be looking around her at the walls and doorways, heart starting to speed up, breath starting to hitch. She’ll see several paths open to her, leading her out of the maze.

But only one path will have a trail. I left it for her, to show her the way. It’s red and dark and sticky and frightening, and there’s no way for her to know what’s at the end of it, but it’s the way.

She’ll have to decide whether she wants to follow it.

The Cloud

I asked her what she saw in the clouds. I had already said a dragon, a train, Abe Lincoln’s hat, pointing out each of them.

“A rabbit,” she said, pointing. “And… a sword. And…”

She pointed at another cloud, but said nothing.

I turned to look at her.

Her face was twisted in horror. Her eyes were wide, the whites showing. Her mouth was open as if she wanted to scream, but couldn’t.

She sat up and stared at the grass, and though I asked her what was wrong she wouldn’t tell me.

She doesn’t look at clouds anymore.

The Foxes

Ben came in from the woods filthy, covered in mud and dirt and blood. He wouldn’t tell us what had happened. All he would say was “The foxes…”

We washed him off and checked him all over, but it wasn’t his blood. He wasn’t injured. Only terrified, and repeating “The foxes. The foxes.”

Now, whenever the foxes wail in the forest, Ben looks up from whatever he’s doing with wide eyes, shaking, suddenly unable to speak. And ever since that night, the foxes cry and bark more and more, and closer and closer, and Ben only cries

“The foxes…”

Smoke Signals

The smoke drifted down into the candle’s fire, and Cassandra watched until the blaze quieted. She held a sheet of paper over it, letting the fire etch Warren’s message. She studied his graceful writing, as graceful as the smoke that had carried it.

She picked up fresh paper and a pen, and wrote her response. Her penmanship was nothing like Warren’s; she hadn’t had his schooling. She had learned magic from her mother rather than a tutor. But she could still send smoke.

She held a corner of the paper to the fire, and the smoke curled out the window.

Fat and Lazy

Sebastian pounced, but didn’t land on the mouse. Its tail slipped from between his claws, and he gave chase. It scurried back and forth, but without an exit it had nowhere to go but forward. His slim frame kept pace with it easily – too easily. He was toying with it, prepared to snatch it up at any moment. At this moment. Now…

“Wake up, you fat lazy thing!”

Sebastian jerked awake and sleepily blinked up at the housemaid.

“What do we keep you around for? You sleep all day, never catch any mice.”

If she only knew…

Fire

She used to be fierce. She used to tear across the fields like wildfire, shouting and laughing. But then winter came and she was given away to a man she had never met.

She sat day after day by the window, watching the snow fall and build, feeling her fire dim into embers. Until one day she stood. She swept her cloak over her shoulders, slipped on her boots, and stepped out into the snow.

She knew that embers can still grow into a fire.

She knew that, just as snow snuffs out a fire, enough fire can melt snow.

Pest Control

“What are we looking for here?”

They descended the stairs into the basement, switching on their flashlights and sweeping the beams over the corners of the room.

“Typical pest problem. Stuff missing. Hairpins, wires, circuitboards. Ah, there.”

Something scrambled away out of his lightbeam. He pointed the light into the AC vent the thing escaped into.

The vent was teeming with bots. Hundreds of tiny little skittery bots with little skittery legs. And they were building more, in a nest of circuits and wires and bits of metal.

“That’s what we’re looking for. Hand me the EMPulsar.”

Shatter

It was a novelty at first, building robots out of glass. They were quite lovely, bright and shining, delicate and intricate, but novelties only.

Until I built her.

She was odd, gazing at the flowers and trees with an interest, watching me with fascination, listening to my every word. Being made of glass, she couldn’t smile, but I felt her smile as she spoke with me. It was in her voice, and in her every movement.

If only I hadn’t made her out of glass. One day she might stumble, something might hit her, she will fall. She will shatter.

Let You Run

I failed to make this one a drabble.  Sorry.

Flash Fiction: Sci-Fi

I’m on the rooftop, scanning the ruins of New York and the overgrowth spreading over the concrete, when he joins me.

“It didn’t always look this way.” It’s the start of one of his stories. The ones he tells without realizing he’s told me them already. But this time he says something else. “I’m not going to be around to see it much longer.”

“I know.” I do know. I’ve watched him age while I haven’t.

“Would you like me to shut you down before I shuffle off the mortal coil?”

I consider the question, though it takes the circuits in my brain only a nanosecond. “No.”

Continue reading

Gigantic

You’d think it was the wind howling, if you didn’t know any better. But even as a newcomer to this town you know about the ghost.

You’ll see it. If you haven’t already…

You haven’t?

Just got here?

Okay, then prepare yourself, because this ghost is gigantic. It walks the hills at night, Fifty feet tall, ice white, crying and moaning, thrashing and stomping, whipping the trees into a frenzy ’til you think they’ll blow right over.

It’s interesting at first, but you’ll get sick of it pretty quick. It’s not that great having a giant’s ghost in your backyard.