Tag Archives: Short Story

Crooked (Flash Fiction)

I had always been told that the Devil smiles with a crooked grin. It seemed to be more of a warning than a statement. But I usually passed it on as some superstitious mumbo-jumbo. If the Devil would ever appear to me, I was certain I didn’t need to identify him by a grin. I mean, the Devil does have his generic, assumed looks. A grin wouldn’t be the only thing that would make him known.

But the Devil didn’t reveal himself to me with his presumed appearance. He didn’t have red skin. Nor did he have horns or a spaded tail. He didn’t even have a pitchfork. No, he made himself known as a well-dressed man sporting a sharp suit, striped tie. And…a smile made of a crooked grin.

He came to me not too long after I found out my grandmother had been diagnosed with an incurable disease. I prayed to any and every being that she would be spared. That a miracle would happen. My grandmother and I had forever been close. She raised me, after all. On that fateful night, I was devastated, vulnerable. Walking down the dark and dreary streets to our apartment.

It was then that the Devil approached. Pushed himself off the wall of a building. Flashing that infamous grin I had been forewarned about. But I was too lost in my sorrows to notice. “It’s a rather nice night, isn’t it?” he asked with a suave tone.

I immediately stoned my expression. Being a blonde, I was used to such encounters. Especially when the sun went down. “I’m not selling my body. I have more respect for myself than that. Buzz off before I call the cops.”

“I don’t want your body, Amy.” He stepped forward. I could’ve sworn I saw smoke dance in his dark eyes. “I want your soul.”

My lips curled in disgust. “I mean it, creep. Get back.” Then I blanked. “How do you know my name?”

He chuckled in a manner I did not care for. “Oh, I know all about you. Your father was never a presence in your life. Your mother died while you were a baby. Now, your grandmother lies in a hospital bed, terminally ill. And you’ve cried out numerous times that you will do anything to save her.” His tongue ran over teeth that suddenly seemed to be turned to points. “Will you? Will you really do anything to save her?”

I took a couple steps back. My unease about this man ever increasing. There was something about him that was not right, and I had a feeling it was something more than him just being a creep. “Wha-what do you want?”

“I’ve already told you. Your soul. Yours for hers. You’ll still get to live with her, of course. But, when you die, your soul is mine. Which shouldn’t be that big of a deal, anyway. I’ve heard a lot of you mortals claim your souls don’t go anywhere once you die. So what’s the risk, huh?”

“You–” I cut myself off, rubbing my eyes with the heels of my palms. This man was a lunatic, thinking he could collect people’s souls. It wasn’t like humans had supernatural powers or anything. I almost flipped out when he stepped even closer. Eyes widening, I waved my arms in a spiral motion in attempt to seem as crazy as him. “You know what, fine. If that’s what it takes for you to leave me in peace, fine. Yes, I agree to your stupid soul thing. Now get the heck away from me.”

But he didn’t leave. Nope. Instead, he smiled with that crooked grin. Approached me even closer. Both of his whole eyes swirled to black, and he transformed into a thick cloud of black fog. Which then swallowed me whole.

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Sword (Flash Fiction)

The young maiden gasped, amber eyes wide. Her lips trembled as she looked down at the sword sticking through her chest. Then she lifted her gaze to her attacker. It was none other than her lifelong friend. They had grown together, cried together, laughed together. Fell in love together. The person she trusted most. While it was true that Anne was considered nothing more than a handmaiden to the rest of the castle, Princess Marie called her sister.

The heir to the throne blinked as she felt her blood running down the front of her gown. “Why?”

Anne gritted her teeth, holding the sword in place. “You know why!”

Tears ran down Marie’s cheeks. “I-I don’t.” She gasped for air at this point.

Despite herself, tears welled up in the handmaiden’s eyes. Seeing her friend in such a pained state. But she persisted. “Yes, you do. You sent John to his death. We were going to be married.”

The princess’s eyes fluttered, and she struggled to remain balanced. “I always supported you and John. I don’t, I don’t have that kind of…authority.”

Anne’s expression twitched. It was true that the princess did not have the ability to carry out executions. “But…but–” She cut herself off, looking down at the cold stone floor. “They talked. They all said you wanted him dead. That you begged your father…”

Marie swallowed, though trickles of blood came out the corners of her mouth. “No, Anne.” She choked. “You, you have been blinded.” A short breath. “Fooled.”

The handmaiden’s mouth opened and closed. Yet, no words came. Her dark eyes searched her sister. “Marie…”

The royal heir struggled. “I thought…I thought you trusted me. I trusted you.” A final breath escaped her, and the last thing she saw was her lifelong friend weeping. Her eyes finally fluttered close. She didn’t know what had caused this confusion in Anne, but she knew one thing before her death. It was not the sword that cut her heart.

 


Retail

The Unknown presence descended upon the mortal world with what it could pass as a smile. A devilishly wicked smile. It knew exactly what it was going to do and where it was going to go. With a cackle, it went for the nearest source of greed and discontent. Passing over rows and rows of vehicles stuck in lanes of traffic, where the mortals yelled and cursed at each other. Instead, it went to the largest retail establishment. Soared into the air as its form grew to blanket the entire store. Settled into position and waited for the fun to begin.

The mortals reacted accordingly, giving in to hatred, anger, greed, envy. Every single one who walked through the store doors was affected. Their hearts turned to stone. The unsuspecting retail associates suddenly dealing with irate customers who could not be pleased, even if the world was offered to them.

“This box is scratched. I need a discount.”

“This product is missing its price tag. I want it for free.”

“I want to speak to a manager.”

“What do you mean it’s ‘online only?'”

“This was on clearance online; I want that price.”

“I demandĀ to speak to a manager.”

“You’re insanely rude for being in customer service.”

“Are you even listening to what I’m saying?”

“Get me your manager, now!”

“How dare you say I’m wrong. I don’t care if you work here. You are obviously stupid.”

“Do you think I’m fine if I’m obviously searching for something in particular?”

“Uh, it’s your job, right? Do it.”

And so the day went. The associates couldn’t wait until their shifts ended or the store closed. Whichever came first. They went home exhausted, devastated, depressed. Many ended up in tears, wondering why people could be so cruel. What would cause them to be this way? What would make them take out their personal problems on retail workers?

But the Unknown presence knew. It knew very well, indeed. And it would be back the next day to feed on the ignorance and strife. And the next day. The next day. All the days until the mortals ceased to exist. It would make sure their materialistic nature was at least good for something.


I Am the Storm

She stood with the quiet defiance of a self-assured queen. While the tempest around her raged on. The wind howled with a ferocity not seen in decades. Rain battered everything like an array of rapidly fired bullets. Still, she remained firm. Slowly stepping forward. One bare foot placed in front of the other.

All she had to do was make it across the natural stone bridge. Everyone deemed it impossible, that she would never make it to safety. But she would show them that she was the master of impossible. Her slender arms rose on either side of her.

Lightning struck the turbulent sea below her, sending salty spray to mix with the rain. The wind whipped her ebony hair about her face. Unfurled her crimson gown across the stone. Her pale skin contrasting the ash-colored skies. Still, she pursued onward.

Her striking eyes trained on the villagers that waited on solid ground. She was soaked to the bone, but she never felt the cold. Thunder rumbled the earth. Piece of rock plummeted into the crashing waves. More lightning streaked through the clouds. Yet, she crossed the natural stone bridge without hesitation. Startling the villagers as she strode by them. One called out, desperately trying to hang on for dear life, “How can you withstand this storm?”

She looked over her shoulder. A confident smile on her lips before she faded into the squall. “Darling, I am the storm.”

 

 

 


Apparition Taxi

 

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Music crooning softly, Samuel Walters continued his journey west. The truck headlights slicing through the darkness of the cool, summer night. His left arm hung out the window. Right thumb tapping the steering wheel in time with the old rock ‘n’ roll.

He drove this road every night on his way home from work. And he enjoyed every second of it. Typically, he was the only driver at this time.

The beat up work truck rose and fell with the road as it moved with the uneven land.

One particular dip took him through a blanket of fog. His hand outstretched to feel as much of the cooler air as possible. He smiled. Once the truck emerged out the other side, he checked the rear view mirror. Glanced over his shoulder. “Did we pick up any hitchhikers?”

Nothing answered him save for the tires crunching on the worn asphalt.

This had gone on for a year and continued for another month. Windows down, arm slung out, music playing, enjoying life. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then he drove through the dip filled with fog. Checked the rear view mirror again and looked over his shoulder at the bed of the pick-up. “Did we pick up any hitchhikers?”

“Yeah.”

Samuel glanced at the passenger seat. Staring down the ghostly barrel of a 1930s Tommy Gun. He couldn’t help but smile.

The apparition tried pressing the gun at the driver. Frowned when it phased through him. “I need ya to take me somewhere.”

His foot came off the pedal so he wouldn’t miss any possible turns. “Anywhere you like.”

“Gang’s held up at the Thompson Cemetery. They’re supposed to be puttin’ holes in a guy who crossed us. Take me there, and I’ll let ya walk another day.”

“Sure thing, Boss.” Samuel made a left at the next intersection. Wove through the country roads with the ghost riding shotgun. Dropped the passenger off at the cemetery. Shook his head when the ethereal gangster phased through the mausoleum.

The next few nights proved uneventful. Then he picked up the ghost of an 1800s woman who wanted to visit the orchard. The following night was the ghost of a lady from the 1950s who babbled about window shopping. The next night found him hauling the spirits of a family in the bed of his pick-up, taking them back to their farm. Then the spook of a fisherman who demanded to be driven to the lake.

On and on, it went. Every single night.

Even when the weather didn’t allow for natural fog, there would always be a cloud of it at the bottom of the seventh–and deepest–dip on his way home. Many of the apparitions returned for pleasant chatter, recalling how they died. Some, he helped to their final resting place.

But the ever-present one was the mobster named Charlie. Charlie never had a lot to say, and he always wanted to be taken to the Thompson Cemetery.

It had been six months since Samuel Walters first picked up Charlie. And when Charlie entered the truck tonight, Samuel came to a stop in the middle of the road.

The ghost turned to him, his form flickering. “Why ain’t you takin’ me to the cemetery?”

Samuel sighed. “None of the other phantoms repeat the same request over and over. Yet, you do. That mausoleum isn’t your final resting place, is it? And don’t go on about that gang of yours, because I know they’ve already passed on.”

Charlie remained quiet for some time. “Why weren’t you scared of me when I first appeared to you?”

He shrugged. “I’m an easy-going kinda guy. But you’re not evading this. Tell me what’s going on, so I can help you find peace.”

The apparition flickered some more, going in and out of focus. “The gang isn’t held up there. It’s someone else. My girl, Loraine. Her spirit left a long time ago, but I still like to visit her.”

Samuel softened. “Then why don’t you be with her?”

“I can’t. My body is at the bottom of the lake. They thought I stole some money, so they tied a bag of bricks on me. Let me sink to the bottom. I never took any money.”

He put the truck back in drive. Headed to his house. “Then let’s get you back. So you can be with Loraine.”

Once at his home, he went into action, hitching up his boat and grabbing the materials required. The night was still young, and he had more than enough time to exhume a body. It was the only time he was thankful he lived alone. That way, he wouldn’t disturb anyone in the middle of the night.

The old pick-up was driven like it hadn’t been driven in years. The john boat in tow. But he made it to the lake in record time. Once the boat was in the water, Charlie guided the still-living to the part where his body was dumped all those years ago.

It didn’t take long for Samuel to bag the remains and haul them into the boat. Nor to hitch it back up. The trash bag of soaked bones rattled around in the truck bed as the pair traveled to Thompson Cemetery in silence.

And it was actually Samuel who placed the remains in an available space next to Loraine’s coffin, while Charlie remained in the truck. When the living man returned, the ghost hovered. “It’s done?”

“Go be with your girl, Boss.”

The ethereal mobster flickered for a few moments. Nodded his thanks and phased through the mausoleum.

Samuel Walters couldn’t help but smile. He knew it was the last time he’d see Charlie. But he was pleased the spirit finally found rest. His trusty pick-up carried him home. With music playing low and windows rolled down. Waiting until the next night when he could escort another ghost around town.


The Fall

The water thundered over the side of the cliff, tumbling down below. The mist roiled skyward. But such was the ways of waterfalls. A peaceful yet violent force of nature.

She stood atop the falls, surveying the land below. It had taken her three hours to climb to the precipice, and it had been worth every second. The serene atmosphere gave her plenty of time to reflect. And nothing in her mind had changed.

Recently, it had occurred to her what life really meant. How futile human existence was. Their purpose was to make the world a better place. And how miserable they failed. That’s why their lives were less than a hundred years. Why would they live longer lives? They were only selfish beings who honestly deserved less.

It was why she climbed to the falls. Her life had been nothing but a selfish disaster. A selfish disappointment. She would make the world a better place by returning her body to fertilize the earth. It had been something that filled her with fear, but no more. It was something she came to terms with. Something she wanted.

Her eyes closed as the waterfall breeze mingled the spray with hair. It was time. Holding out her arms, she leaned forward. Felt the rush of the wind against her face. Tingling every nerve.

Ten.

She had no regrets.

Nine.

No fear.

Eight.

No more reason to live.

Seven.

This was her wish.

Six.

Her peace.

Five.

Her freedom.

Four.

She smiled.

Three.

No one would ever see her again.

Two.

Her body hit the water.

One….


Goodbye, Alice

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Alice woke to the pleasant humming sound of her alarm. Rubbing her eyes, she looked to her white robot plugged into its charging station on the other side of the room. “Thank you, R.B.B.T.”

The robot’s white, glowing eyes flickered to life as the sound ceased. Ethereal voice sounding. “Good morning, Alice.”

She watched it rise with the grace and fluidity clearly not based off human movement. The exotic android was sleek, built for speed. As per the alien race that inspired its design. Why it was her household robot, she wasn’t sure. But she had it ever since she could remember.

“Morning request, ma’am?”

“The usual.” She performed her morning ritual of stretches as the tint of her windows changed from black to almost clear, letting in the simulated sun. Then she moved to her bathroom. The door slid open in response.

R.B.B.T. entered the bedroom. “Breakfast is ready.”

Alice braided her light hair in a ponytail. Paused. Studied the mirror. Tilting her head, she ran her fingers down her neck. Her brows furrowed at the faint bump and discoloration that traversed around the middle of her neck. Something she never paid attention to before.

The android shifted. “Breakfast is ready, ma’am.”

She leaned closer to the mirror. “I know, but how did I get this? I don’t remember doing anything that could cause this. It’s like a scar.”

The robot’s eyes turned red as it sent a beacon to its true master.

There was a flash of light in the front room of the virtual house. The feminine voice of the home echoed. “General Cooper has arrived.”

Alice poked her head out of the bathroom, running to the front room. “Dad!” She threw her arms around him. Then frowned at his stern face. “What’s wrong?”

He sat her down. “R.B.B.T. has notified me you discovered the scar around your neck.”

One of her brows lifted. “Yes? What is this all about?”

Sighing, he sat across from her. Put a hand on her knee. “Do you remember you’re an agent for me and the government?”

“Yes…I just went on a mission not too long ago…”

“Well, last rotation, you were assigned to a highly sensitive mission. One I didn’t even know all the details for. Our greatest enemy traveled back in time to rewrite the future to her design. You were sent after her, you being our top agent. With its impressive shifting abilities, R.B.B.T. was sent along with you.”

Alice glanced at the exotic robot.

General Cooper continued. “Our enemy had been there long enough, she killed the king and placed herself as queen. We didn’t know at the time. We sent you straight in to explain a pre-scripted situation to the king. She had you beheaded on the spot. Thankfully, R.B.B.T. is equipped with the most advanced in medical science. It killed the queen and saved you simultaneously. It was able to fuse your head back on. Our damages team handled the rest.”

She sat in silence, blinking. Not given enough time to process the information. “This doesn’t make any sense…why don’t I remember any of this?”

“The queen, the enemy, was your mother.”

Her eyes lifted, realizing why her memory had been wiped. “How many times have we had this conversation?”

His expression stiffened. “About three times a week. There is so much we keep you from remembering. It’s why we keep you in constant surveillance at this facility. Your world that you think exists no longer does. You loved those Wonderland myths so much, your mother wanted to emulate them. In a way, I think she succeeded.”

“Why are you telling me this now?”

“Because your memory will be wiped once more. Goodbye, Alice. I’ll see you the next time this happens.”

“What? That’s it? You incredulously deceiving person!” She rose from her chair. Only to be forced back down by R.B.B.T. She screamed and kicked, but nothing set her free.

General Cooper transported out of the virtual house to monitor the rest from a station in the corner of the simulation room.

The last thing she experienced before she would forget was seeing the android’s white eyes blending into one piercing light, blinding her vision. And its mellifluous voice growing more distant as consciousness faded.

“Goodbye, Alice.”


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