He fills in the crossword while he waits. He does not skulk in bushes, not anymore, not since he learned about Starbucks; cafes; newspapers. He shaves often, especially during the week of the full moon. Hunting is a mental state as much as an action. He sips his coffee, wincing at the bitterness. He writes an answer in the little boxes: “TEETH.” He has filled in all of the answers this way. He likes teeth. He wonders when she will emerge from the building down the street. He wonders what she will think of his teeth, when she sees them.
Count Darigon cackled as the Sword refused to budge. “I know you, King Amberion,” he rasped. "You are a thoughtful leader and a complicated man. You are good. But the Sword can be wielded only by the pure of heart. Can you truly say that you have never sinned, never fallen short?”
Amberion’s grip on the hilt slackened perceptibly. Darigon grinned. Behind Amberion, Kailen snorted. She strode forward, snatched up the Sword, and lopped Darigon’s head off.
“I’m not a good person,” she told his stunned expression as his head rolled on the ground. “But I know what I want.”
By the by, I remain interested/amused by Quarter Reads, where I have uploaded several stories. The ten dollars is a bit of a high initial ask, but it's almost intoxicating flitting around the archives, picking out stories to buy for $0.25 each.
Plus, now you can "favorite" an author and know when they've uploaded something new. So... you all know what to do, I trust. ;-) Given the amount of flash I write, I'm sure to have some Quarter Reads exclusives sooner or later.
I saw something move in the garage of the house on the end, and I thought, “Deer,” because Dad says they’re like rats and get everywhere. Then it lifted its head, and it didn’t have a snout, but the flat nose of a monkey and a big hairy beard at the end of a long neck like a snake. It met my eyes before it leapt away into the scrubby trees.
The sun felt cold, suddenly, like it was night and dark, instead of in my neighborhood with its sidewalks marked in chalk and birds chirping, and I was alone.
The summoning booth has a line. I scuff the leather on my loafers and check my phone. I don't really have time, but without a PowerPoint demon to run my presentation, I don't have anything else to do. I hope I won't be late.
The fat idiot inside can't work the latch. I tug from the outside, and he breathes garlicky breath in my face as he flees, sweating. He was calling a succubus. I know the type.
Inside, I sweep the remnants of his salt circle into the disposal. Disgusting pig. Push the button, the new circle falls down neatly from the dispensers. One, two, three go the blood-treated iron coins. I get mine from Soul Survivors. They do diversified holdings, no fewer than a thousand contributors per coin. It's a decent risk, so long as you get out before the law of averages kicks in and you run the risk of tipping over the fifty percent mark on your contribution. I've got good information. I researched the userbase and projected summoning habits thoroughly before I committed.
The demon appears in a flash of sulfur and heat. You never get the same one twice, but I swear it looks familiar. I open my mouth to tell it about the damned PowerPoint, but a rumble from overhead distracts me. I look up and see the lances of light penetrating the overcast. Wings and swords and trumpets, fire and smoke from beneath.
The hallway is long and walled in tile and steel, but you will notice it does not echo. The constant rush of saltwater and poison outside is an unending susurrus that swallows sound. First-time visitors
often feel that the structure is pulsing faintly, the walls breathing with the motion.
This is an illusion. The visitor's center is not near any of the lungs.
As you walk along, you may feel free to touch the walls or floor and
feel their warmth. Jormungandr is a reptile and therefore cold-blooded, of course; the heat is the exothermic reaction of the
venom impregnated in its every muscle and bone with the exterior metals and ceramics. The infrastructure requires constant repair by specialized teams. Their mining equipment is tipped with diamond and
coated in cat's blood to neutralize the effects. You need not fear; while collapses were common in the early days, the visitor's center has never suffered any lapses, whether structural or autoimmune in
The central columns contain the actual grid. Please do not approach them. Electricity flows along the grid through Jormungandr's nerves and bloodstream, piping information and power along its length and therefore throughout the world. The Plague of Quakes in the late 1800s was eventually diagnosed as a degenerative seizure disorder; improved wire shielding and a decades-long corpus callosotomy at Jormungandr's skull in the Marianas Trench, completed in 1973, have resolved these problems.
Your tour will conclude at the door marked in purple. The gift shop is open year-round.
There will be short stories and very short stories. The short stories will be from 1000 words up and will be rare. The very short stories are what I'm calling flitterfics. They will be posted whenever I have a chance, hopefully at least twice a week.
All material is under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license. Write your own, paint a picture, sing a song; just link back to me at some point and we're solid.