Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obligate Carnivore

His ears swiveled as another mouse peeped through the doorway. “You are too late,” he told it, letting his head drop. “Your mocking friends have been and gone.”

“Is it true, then?” asked the mouse.

The cat opened one bleary eye. “I have sworn,” he said, “never again to eat the flesh of the unwilling.”

“Will you not starve?”

“It seems so.”

The mouse crept nearer. “My nest is gone. My mate, our little ones… I could do nothing.” He hesitated. “I am prepared.”


The mouse was silent, trembling.

“So be it.” The cat blinked.

The jaws opened, lowered…

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hero of Sherwood

I hate the forest. The forest is his domain, where he’s laid in tricks and traps and blind trails, like a fox’s favorite run.

“Give to the poor,” ha! If Prince John had known how easily a few handfuls of their own copper could buy loyalty… They don’t understand. They don’t have to tell the families of the men he’s killed. And they blame me for that, too.

I would raise an army and burn the whole festering thicket to the ground, but I know that should I even try, he would already be behind me, laughing from the battlements…

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cultural Differences

“How’s that job with the trees going?” Brandon asked, sipping his coffee.

“They prefer Arboreal-Americans,” Jennifer advised him. “And I think I’m making progress. Today, Rustles-After-Autumn told me he wanted me to work with him more closely.”


“They’re adapting to the culture.”

“Well, what’d he say, exactly?”

“Er… something about keeping me as close as his shadow.”


“What? Is that bad?”

“C’mon, Jen. How long have you worked with tre- with Arboreal-Americans?” Brandon rested his elbow on the table, casting a shadow across the plastic surface. “What happens to a sapling that stays in the larger tree’s shade?”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


They met in the ruined office. One painting had miraculously remained undamaged, though it hung at an angle. The great mahogany desk, singed on one side, still dominated the space; most of the other furniture had been reduced to slag and splinters.

Behind the desk, Jericho sat on a scrounged crate. He was holding a conference, the first since the fighting had ended.

“According to satellite data, the last holdouts should be captured by 1730,” Cherie announced.

“What will we do now?” Big Hank asked.

Jericho shook his head. “I really don’t know,” he said. “I never thought we’d win.”

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Shut up, gaywad!

I make no apologies. This never fails to make me snort with laughter. (Poor taste, to laugh at one's own jokes. In this case, I don't think it makes much difference.)


Arthur stood and spoke. “My loyal knights, we have been given this holy quest: to find the Holy Grail!”

“Pfft. More like the Holy GAY-el.”

“Silence, Mordred!”

“You shut up, Sir GAY-lahad.”

“I’ll hear no more of this!”

“What was that, Sir GAY-wain? I couldn’t hear you over the Green Knight’s cock in your mouth.”

“That’s it! We’ll settle this as men!”

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

“Desist, all of you!” Arthur shouted. “Mordred, out! Go to your room! I cannot take any more of you tonight!”

Mordred paused at the doorway. He turned, eyes gleaming. “That’s what she said!”

Monday, February 23, 2009


He dipped his wing in the Painted Sands and drew it across his brow, staining the white feathers with color. Upon his breast he wrote the symbol of the Fallen Feather.

“Please, father, do not do this thing.” Nia was still young, not yet mated. She would grow to understand in time.

“I have no choice, gosling. Nest is sacred. Mates are sacred. He has violated them both.”

“And what will you do when you reach the mountain? What can one cob do against the gods themselves?”

He anointed his feet with the Crimson Spot. “I will sing,” he said.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

After the War

“Healthy crop this year,” Smith grunted approvingly.

“It’s healthy every year, Pop.”

“Well, not too healthy, then. There’s a good balance.” He poked at the crimson strands. “Processor’s been running all day, barely made a dent.”

“What if the picker drones break down again?”

“Then you’ll get out there and fix ‘em, boy!”

“Oughtta just get an overseer. The Clarks have one.”

“The Clarks are jackasses. Lost their last sharehold. Let the weed get out of hand, swallowed the whole damned house.” He gazed across the water-fields. “Martian weed is tricksy. Dangerous, but it’s got a kinda beauty to it.”

Saturday, February 21, 2009


When they are to become men, the boys of the Satere-Mawe tribe place their hands into mitts filled with biting, stinging insects. Their arms are paralyzed for hours and tremble for days afterward.

When a youth of the Tlitzteg people is of age to choose a bride, he first hurls himself from the cliff into the river. Should he emerge, bruised and battered, on the far bank, he is accounted a man.

Not to be outdone, the reclusive Zpatos have enhanced their maturity ritual to include complete decapitation. It is said to bring good luck and fruitful loins in marriage.

Friday, February 20, 2009

They All Come Back

Concept shamefully stolen from an thread which I have long lost the link to. Apologies all around.

“The funeral will be soon, yes?” Old Gunther spoke casually, but his gaze was intense. “Been three days already.”

“Well, with the frost and the cold…” Artir began.

“For that reason is my asking,” Gunther grunted. “Solstice coming.”

“You know Helda’s been sick. We can’t get to the kiln.”

“My own you can use. Small, but it will burn.”

“I don’t-“

“Artir! Whatever you are thinking, think it not. He will rise, yes, in his time, but he will not be the man you knew.”

Artir hung his head as the snow fell.

“The dead must be burned,” said Gunther.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Presidents' Day

“There were simply a great many factors to consider,” Fillmore whined. “I think it very unkind-“

“Close that mouth of yours, before I close it for you!” Lincoln checked the magazine in his assault rifle and nodded grimly.

“We’ll show them morning in America!”

“Stow it, Ronnie-come-lately!” Washington snapped. “You want a ‘cold war,’ try freezing your bollocks off in Valley Forge.” He lifted a flamethrower out of its case with a certain gleam in his eyes. “Now this… this would have been of great use.”

“Gentlemen,” Lincoln said, stashing a pistol in his hat. “Let us do this thing.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


“We did an experiment in Science today.”


“We put a celery in some colored water and it made the celery turn colors. It took all night.”

“Yeah, I remember. We did that last year. I forget what it was supposed to show, though.”

“Plants drink up stuff, I guess, and it affects how they grow?”

The two of them regarded the massive tree. Its branches writhed, clawing at the air. Mottled faces leered in the patterns on its bark.

“I think… maybe we should head home.”


Behind them, the tree’s roots slithered down into the dark, cold soil…

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tooth Fairy

The windows were all provided with flypaper. Strips of it hung from the ceiling, too, all through the room. William had lost several clumps of hair to them already.

He was crouching now, setting the mousetraps. They didn’t have bait; he wasn’t sure what would work. He compensated through numbers, laid in a careful grid to ensure maximum floor coverage.

The shotgun was loaded with birdshot and propped by the bedside. The motorcycle helmet rested on the pillow.

William probed about in his mouth with his tongue, his scowl deepening. This was the last night! he vowed. No more teeth!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Maria's Ghost

“What are you doing, Maria?”

“I found a ghost.”

“A ghost, huh?” Mom barely glanced up, washing dishes all clatter-clank-splash.

“Uh-huh. It was caught in the tree outside my window.”

“Oh, sweetie, it’s just an old rag. Throw it away.”

“It’s really dirty. I was gonna wash it before it had to go again.”

Mom sighed. “You can use the old mop bucket. Just keep it outside, okay?”

“Thanks, Mommy!” She pattered away to fetch the bucket and fill it with hot water.

“You know,” said the ghost, as Maria scrubbed happily, “I never thought it would end like this.”

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Samurai Pizza Cat

He crouched over his prize, gnawing on the pepperoni slices. His battered ears swiveled, tracking the gang as they surrounded him.

The leader was a deep-chested pit bull, scarred from many battles. “You have trespassed, Cat.”

Cat stood and bowed. “I desire no conflict, Karbar bar Barkar.”

“It is too late for you, stray,” snarled Karbar. “This alley will be your grave.”

Seven dogs, all well-muscled, all lean and hungry, fanned out behind.

“Give my regards to your master, the human daimyo,” said Cat. He crouched back, his claws extending, scraping softly against the concrete. “Make peace with your gods.”

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Queen's Day

Activity stilled throughout the complex: the waxworks, the launching pads, the processing stations, even the high-flying scouts were grounded. The younger workers joked. “A holiday!” they cried, laughing.

The old hands tapped their legs disapprovingly. “A holy day,” they murmured.

Down in the darkness, amid the hexagonal cells and walls that dripped golden sweet, the Dance began. Age and youth; wisdom and strength; waning and waxing; there was, in the end, only one possible outcome. Strongest of her sisters, she emerged, battered, triumphant, in the Great Hall.

“The Queen is dead,” she piped.

“Long live the Queen!” the hive chorused.

Friday, February 13, 2009


It’s dogs, I told him. Dogs fetch things. Not cats. He wouldn’t listen.

That’s pretty like a cat, actually.

At first, he’d bring me my book, or my shoes when I was heading out. Then he ranged farther afield. He brought mail from the post office. He brought my neighbor’s underwear. (That was embarrassing.)

One day he brought back a human hand. I buried it in the backyard.

And now, sitting in my basement, there is a pristine cube of bank-wrapped bills. I did some math. It’s over five million.

He brought travel brochures, too. I hear Brazil is nice.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Questor the Elf nodded solemnly. “And now you must embrace your destiny, young hero.”

Jim, the still-unfamiliar blade awkward in his hands, rubbed a sweaty palm on his jeans. “I’m ready,” he said, “even if I never believed in magic before.”

“The magic believes in you,” chirped Jub-Jub, the talking cat-bird.

“Go, now,” Questor said, with a gentle but insistent shove. Jim glanced once back at his friends and started across the Doombridge. He made it only halfway before the swooping Dreadwing picked him off.

Questor winced. “Unfortunate. We’ll have to get another one.”

“He was my favorite,” Jub-Jub sighed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Emergency Services

Two paramedics piled out of the ambulance. One held a large wrench.

“Is this a medical emergency?” he asked.

“Not really,” I said, glancing at my car. Smoke curled from beneath the hood.

“Right.” He turned to his partner and swung his wrench sharply at the man’s knees; he screeched and crumpled.

“You broke his leg!”

“We’re emergency services, aren’t we? Here, help me get him on the stretcher.”

“That’s not how it works!”

“It isn’t?” He looked confused. Just then, the fire truck arrived. The firemen leapt out, Zippos waving. “Hold on guys,” he called. “She don’t want any.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Paying the Bills

Well, we're heading slowly back to normal levels after the influx of hits from MetaFilter and Six Sentences. If you're still reading this, hopefully that means you enjoyed it enough to come back at least the once. Welcome MeFites! Welcome Sixers! I cannot promise that every day will be brilliant, but it will be here.

I really encourage people to post comments, especially if a story fell flat for you. I want to hear what I'm doing wrong, because I am working hard on correcting my deficiencies. (I take an average of twenty minutes to create and polish each day's flitterfic. Sometimes, like today, they come easily. Other times it takes some doing.) Some ideas still haven't managed to see the light of day, despite several attempts.


“What are you doing, dad?”

“Paying the bills.”

“Wow! Can we help? Can we can we can we!?”

“I don’t really need any help today, kids,” he said, folding the paper neatly into thirds. “Why don’t you go outside and play?” He held out the envelope for Archibald to bite. “Ark! Ark!” said Archibald. Dad gave him a fish.

“Awww…” They turned and slumped away, casting heartbroken glances back at the kitchen table.

“All right,” said Dad, making a note in his checkbook. He held the sealed envelope out the window. “Are we all settled?”

“Quack,” said the bill collector.

Monday, February 9, 2009


“I hate rain,” Jeb announced over his plate of bacon and eggs. Cheryl just refilled his cup.

“It’s pretty bad,” agreed Clem. “But not as bad as fog.”

“What’s bad about fog? It don’t weigh hardly nothing. Not like rain, all sloshing around on them sharp curves.”

“When it gets out and into the cab, it’s bad. I had to keep the windows down and run the AC full blast, and you know that’s a fuel hog.”

The cheerful argument continued. Gregor hunched over his eggs and tried to be inconspicuous. Nobody liked the guy who hauled the black ice.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Restroom Break

The restroom was ancient, like the rest of the theater. It was also dark and narrow, the stone walls barely four feet apart in the entry corridor.

Sean staggered as he ran into someone from behind. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you there.”

The man turned around, and Sean blanched. The man’s face was rotting, exposing the bone beneath.

“They say a ghost is formed when a man dies in the grip of a great passion. I regret many things, but most of all I regret that sixty-ounce soda,” said the dead man, as the walls began to bleed.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Gas Station

"Top 'er off, sir?" The attendant tipped his hat and gestured with his pump handle.

“Quite.” Professor Higgenstrom nudged his dirigible closer to the hovering platform. He released the wheel and opened the hatch, hydrogen tanks waiting. The servant popped the tube in place with a hiss of escaping gases.

"'old on. Somefin's off." The man scratched his head and glanced around. "Oi! The electrolyzin' eels!" Arms waving, he rushed to the water tub, where the energized fish coiled and sparked. There was a cacophony of clicks, whirs, and mechanical screeches.

"Bloody robo-crows. You can't even eat, you daft buggers!"

Friday, February 6, 2009


“So, like, how does this work?”

“Oh, dude. You’ve never smoked before?” Jer chortled, slapping Derek on the back.

“I had kind of a sheltered life.” Derek glanced around. Kids were sprawled on beanbags and couches, staring into space. Some were giggling.

“Well, you are in for the ride of your life, bro. Here, siddown.” Jer fumbled in his pockets and came out with a complicated device, all gears and tubes. “First, you just stick the one end in your ear.” He demonstrated. The machine whirred. “It sucks out the dreams. Then you light the wick here and just breathe.”

Thursday, February 5, 2009


RE: Protocol Updates

All right, everyone. I know we’re still adjusting to the recent staffing changes, but I want it made absolutely clear that “pranks” and “hazing” are to stop immediately. This means:

- No more iron shavings on the toilet seats.
- No more “Church bells” ringtones
- Shirts are to be worn right-side-out

This also goes for our new staff. If I hear one more report of someone going off to the restroom and not coming back until dawn, or another attempted drowning in the breakroom sink, there will be consequences.

Remember: Teamwork and Trust!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


“Of course I’ll do it! And do you know why?” He leveled a finger at the somber priest. “Because no one dies wishing they’d spent more time at the office, or more time asleep. No one regrets not lying back and waiting for life to come to them!” He leaped to the stage. “You have to take risks if you want to win. You only go around once, so grab for the gusto and give it a shot. What’s the harm in trying new things? You never know, you know?”

“The usual response is simply ‘I do,’” said the priest.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Parlor Game

He could smell the acrid traces of the hunters. All of the others were gone; he’d called and called, knowing the hunters were deaf to his voice. The wind blew from the south, carrying hints of the warmth that lurked in the sun-drenched valley. He quivered with fear and skittered to the next bush.

The cover ended here. Bare rock above. He could flee no higher. And the lowlands were full of the smothering heat that the warmbodies loved so much. Why did they pursue him? He did not know.

He called again, but only the hunters’ booming voices answered.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fires of Hell

The firemen picked their way through the smoldering wreckage. There were lingering hotspots, chunks of wood that appeared dead, but concealed still-burning hearts.

“Weird. It’s like it started everywhere at once. Arson?”

“Nah,” said Timmons. “Metaphysics.”

“What now?”

“Look here,” said Timmons. He tugged at a section of wall made brittle by the fire. Bundles of scorched money tumbled out, spewing ash. “He’s still clutching a whole pile of ‘em, too.” He gestured at the blackened corpse. “What we got here, Lawson, is an over-excited devil. Probably new. They’re always temperamental until they got a few centuries of experience topside.”

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Stone Who Loved

Taku sat beside the Wisest Stone. “She has rejected my advances,” he said, scraping at the wooden bench with his knife. “I feel as though I might die.”

The Wisest Stone thought before he spoke. “I once had a love,” he said.

Taku glanced over, eyebrows raised.

“I loved a river. She was beautiful, and she danced in the sunlight. I strove mightily to please her. But when I had achieved it, I found it was not to be, and it would have been better had I not pursued her.”

“What happened?” asked Taku.

“I used to be a mountain.”