Monday, May 31, 2010


Randolph stared at his hands, playing with a truck.  But he'd just been in the hospital, surely!  He could almost feel the tubes in his nose.

"Hey, loser!"

He recognized that voice.  Big Grady, the school bully.  Randolph recognized all of this, in fact.  Grady had beaten him up, badly, and ruined the rest of his school year.  I've gone back in time, Randolph thought.  Well, let's see how Grady likes thirty years of military training!

Randolph tried to stand, but the young body wouldn't respond.  He only sat, frozen, just as in his memory. 

A shadow fell over him.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Diabolical Plots Finale

Well, it's Saturday, and it looks like there won't be too many more entrants.  So here, in all their glory, are the stories from the Diabolical Plots prompts.  We are all winners in this game!  This page is now a permanent part of Mirrorshards (at least until Blogger finally craps out and/or I fill up all ten of the "free" pages they give me to create.)  Huzzah and etc.

If I could get the darned jump-cut to work multiple times in a single post, I would totally cut those individually for y'all. 


(Hey, it's a little late, but you got like twice as many stories this week as normal, so quitcherbitchin'.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Diabolical Plot-shards

I'm pleased to announce that Diabolical Plots is featuring Mirrorshards as a special extra edition of the Storygasm event a couple of months ago.  If you want another of your 2-5 word prompts made into a story, head over to this link and post a comment.  While you're there, you can see articles, interviews, artwork, and reviews about all sorts of things related to speculative fiction.  

There will be fewer and irregular Mirrorshards updates this week unless almost no one at DP decides to participate (as I am only human).  I'll post the end results at the end of the week when normal posting resumes.  

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cherry Blossoms in Springtime

He holds a kitten in his hand. It mewls and tries to knead at the unyielding surface.

Warmth and softness, he understands: heat and topography. As an atemporal being, he perceives that the kitten once was not and will not always be. He sees the limping, the coughing, the stillness, and later the bones and dust. They are always crying when their pets die. Why? It cannot be a surprise...?

He focuses, looks at one moment apart, as a separate unit of time, but without losing his knowledge of what must inevitably be.

He holds a kitten in his hand.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Size of the Fight in the Dog

He exists because something must always be given to replace that which was lost. Humans took their size, their teeth, their speed. Humans took even their adulthood, leaving them forever infantile. That is why he comes to them.

He stands eight feet tall, spindly as a spider, but he spends his time bent double. He leans and whispers in furry canine ears: “You are huge. You are a warrior. Your strength is legend.” His audience listens, rapt, and believes. They will strive to conquer, and they will fail, but they will always have his words in their tiny terrier hearts.

Grandma Was a Pretty Wild Girl

The stairwell echoed with the heavy tread of the pursuing Cybercop.

"We're trapped!" cried Bixby. He tugged at the doors, as though he could open a maglock by sheer might.

"What are we going to do?" said Shw, wringing her hands. "It's not just going to stun now. We're crispy."

Ant1n sighed. "Here, let me," he said. He laid his bare hand on the lock. A short hum and a click later, the door slid open.

"Wow," said Bixby. "You're cybered? Implants?"

"What, like a cyborg? Ew!" said Ant1n. "No, my grandfather was a robot. 'Cybered.' We have some pride."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One of Three

The genie rubbed his luminescent forehead. “This job hasn’t been fun for two millennia, at least.”

“I’m still waiting,” Joe smirked.

“Modern humans are a bunch of smartasses,” the genie growled. His blue-glowing skin gained a faint crimson tint.

“You’re stalling,” said Joe.

“You’re lucky I don’t turn you into a newt. My people used to be gods, you know. You worshipped us. Up until that prick Solomon went whining to YHWH.”

“Just grant the wish.”

“Say it again, more slowly?”

Joe cleared his throat. “I wish that this wish will not be granted.”

“I hate you,” said the genie.

The Work That Must Be Done

In the factory that makes teddy bears, there are rosy-cheeked women who stuff the soft padding into the fur. They laugh and tell each other about their grandchildren.

In the factory that makes teddy bears, artists paint bright-patterned bow-ties and miniature jackets. They smile and have comradely contests to see who can make the most delightful mixture of colors.

In the factory that makes teddy bears, there is a sad-faced old man with a hammer. As each fluffy body passes by his station and sits up, blinking with the wonder of the new world, he swings the hammer once, sharply.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Thinking Inside the Box

Reito slammed a fist against the metal wall. Not even an echo answered.

"Would you stop that?" Darren said. "Why are you even bothering?"

"They've taken us from our homes!" Reito snarled. "Locked us in a prison! Who knows how much longer we'll live?"

Darren shrugged. "Could say the same for everyone outside. We were starving and cold. In here," Darren laid a hand on the wall of his box, "we're warm and fed. It's not such a bad deal."

"You'd be their pet?"

"It worked for dogs for about ten thousand years. Maybe being the dominant species is overrated."

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Parting the Veil

Cathy found her Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper in the back of the break-room refrigerator, crowded away by other lunches. She stretched to her limit and carefully threaded it through the maze of bottles and thermoses. She’d almost succeeded when she jostled someone’s paper sack. It fell to the floor with a hollow sound.

The bag was curiously light when she picked it up. She glanced around, and then opened the top to peer inside: a shaped Styrofoam insert. A prop. Why would someone need a prop lunch?

Cathy told herself the sudden chill was just the air conditioning kicking in.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bag Full of Name

He had forgotten name. Not just his name, but the whole idea of names and naming. He didn’t like it. He climbed from the soft, warm thing and went into the cold, shiny place. He splashed something wet on his face.

He looked at the very shiny thing and saw something behind him. It was gray and had sharp teeth. It also had a bag full of name.

“I’ve stolen them all,” the thing told him. “What will you sacrifice to have them back?”

His face wrinkled, and more wet came out. “I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know.”

You Wooden Be-leaf It

The fat man in the red suit heard a wooden creak behind him. "Rudolph?" he called.

He might have said more, but someone stuffed an underripe apple into his mouth.

He awoke bound in thick, dirt-caked roots, stripped to his underwear. A skeletal figure stood before him, clad in his stolen suit. Not again, he thought. He spat the apple out. "Look here, Jack, you're just going to have to be happy... with... Hallowe..." he trailed off as the figure turned.

"It's worse, Boss!" cried one of the elves. "The trees want to take Arbor Day to the big time!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


I owe ya'll one from Saturday, so today's a twofer. I think I'm going to keep Snake around; his nickname is actually short for "Snake-Eyes" and, like most of my characters, he's probably in for a series of achronological unfortunate events. I need a recurring hapless thug.


“I, uh, wanna start an account,” said Snake. He put a paper bag on the counter.

The cashier opened the bag; a scent of sap and loam wafted out. “Where did you get this money, sir?”

“Found it. No law against that.” Snake jutted his chin out truculently.

“This is tree money,” said the cashier. “Did you find it on a tree?”

“Might’ve done,” said Snake. “Look, I just want an account, lady. What do I gotta do?”

“Well, if you’re using tree money,” said the cashier, retrieving the corer from under the counter, “we’ll have to verify your age.”

None of the Above

Snake was down on his luck. He was not in a mood to get fancy, so when he and his gun stepped out before the figure in the long coat, he stuck with the classics.

“Your money or your life!” Snake snarled.


“This isn’t a hard choice, fella. Give me your money or I take your life.”

“Well, that’s really the problem. I don’t have either one.”

Snake groaned and threw his pistol on the ground. “God-damned Multi-Vital America Act. You zombies need to get back to where you came from.”

The dead man shrugged. “We thought we were.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Public Service Work is Often Thankless

The truck rattled to a halt at the stoplight. "City Special Services," read the sign on the door.

The windows were opaque, but the driver's side was cracked, and a hairy, scar-knuckled hand tipped a bit of ash off a cigarette and onto the street. The back was a mesh cage. Inside, sets of shackles clattered against each other under the vibrations of the engine. The floor was speckled with the rusty marks of old blood. On the back of the cab, a clear red hand-print stood out against the white paint.

The light turned green. The truck rumbled away.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bigger and Brighter

"Watch," he told me. He flicked the switch on the black light and aimed it out at the yard.

"Oh, wow," I said. "They're like horrible little stars." Dozens of scorpions, previously invisible in the night, gleamed white-blue in the nearly invisible ultraviolet radiation. They ranged in size from fingertip-length to the size of my hand. "Why are some brighter than others?"

"They get more reflective over time," he said. "Every molting, they come out bigger and brighter."

I started to answer when something rustled overhead and a brilliant white glow threw our shadows into stark relief on the ground...

Friday, May 7, 2010


“Scalpel.” Doctor Ga’ak held out his withered hand. Nurse Urghl dropped the instrument in, her gray skin glistening.

The body on the table twitched, then began to thrash.

“We’re losing him!” shouted Doctor Ga’ak. “Scimitar!” That tool, too, was deposited in his leathery grip. “Chainsaw!” Nurse Urghl fired up the engine. “Flamethrower!” There was a crackle and the smell of burning napalm.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeep… Beep… Beep… Beep…

A slow and steady heartbeat emanated from the body on the abused slab. Doctor Ga’ak slumped against the wall of the tomb and covered his skeletal grimace with his hands. “We lost another one.”

Thursday, May 6, 2010

To and From

Mom opened her mouth to speak. A cloud of dust puffed from her lips. She blinked and waved irritably. Lori snickered, sending out little spurts of gray dust. Dad opened wide, a river of dust pouring from his throat to mound and spill from his lap.

Ashley ran. She hit the door at full speed and it puffed into dry fragments around her.

Her legs sank through the floor and...

she fell...


the dust and the wind
into the outside and the sky
above dust
the road below
dust and somewhere
there was dust
she ran

The Dread Greatsword Soulspike Was Safely Stored in His Employee Locker

"Doug, we need to talk," said Julie. She tugged on Draknar's spiked forearm gauntlet. "Come on into the huddle room."

Inside, Julie slid a form across the table. Underlined blanks were filled in with pen. "I hate to give a written this early," Julie said, "but I feel like you aren't listening otherwise."

Draknar held the paper between two metal-clad fingers. It began to scorch around the edges. "No," he mumbled. "I'm going to do this right." With an effort, he calmed himself.

"Speak up, Doug. Honestly," said Julie. "You're not the overlord here. You need to accept honest criticism."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Falling Leaves

He leaps from branch to branch like a cat, bending them no more than the wind. That's important. That's part of his job. The Lords of the Seasons can't be everywhere at once; they've grander and more terrible matters to attend to, anyway. He sniffs each leaf, licks some, touches others. When he finds a ripe one, he brings out his tiny silver shears. Snip, snip. Flutter, flutter.

Down below, a human shuffles along with a rake. Scrape, scrape, and in minutes the human undoes all his hard work. He sighs, leaps lightly to the next branch, and begins again.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Griffin's Lament

There was a piercing woman's shriek, and a black shape tumbled out of the sky. "Got another one," said DT. "Fuckin' bird-chicks."


"No, they ain't. Just random mixes. Generic chemicals."

"Chimeras," Darcy corrected. "I just don't understand why we have to kill them."

DT shrugged. "Eggheads say they're dangerous. I don't ask. Figure they got enough to study on 'em, and who cares about the rest?" A shadow passed overhead as he spoke. DT pointed. "Griffin!" He raised his bolt-thrower again.

Darcy closed her eyes as the bolt-thrower clicked and something thudded to the ground a hundred yards away.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Boulder and Braver

It's the first of the month again! How time flies...

Mirrorshards has something like a reader base now, which is pretty cool, even if most of ya'll are pretty quiet. For those folks who haven't been reading this since it started (Hi, honey!), on the first day of each month I trot out the general favorite of my slim cast of recurring characters (defined as anyone who's shown up in at least three non-consecutive flitterfics): The Wisest Stone and his friend/acolyte, Taku. If I could, I'd write about the Wisest Stone every day, so I limit him to once a month on the grounds that anything I like that much is probably annoying.

If you click on the "Wisest Stone" tag, you'll see all 15 or so of the previous stories. Thanks for reading, guys! See you next month.


When the would-be bandits had fled, Taku hefted one of the fallen scimitars. “I wonder each time if I will forget my lessons, if this time I will feel the bite of their blades.”

“You are courageous, friend Taku,” said the Wisest Stone.

Taku shrugged. “I learned from you, how you are so fearless in the face of danger.”

“What danger could such men pose to me?” said the Wisest Stone. “I am a rock, and they are only humans. No, it is not courage to be what you are. It is brave to be what you strive for instead.”