Short Story-Drop by Drop

Here’s another little vignette starring rockabilly vampire hunter Alex Rains, star of the soon to be released novel  The Devil’s Mouth.

Terry leaned sideways across the armrest of the old couch, one hand behind his head and the other across the back of the couch, holding a lit cigarette between two fingers. His mohawk wasn’t done up, and the blonde stripe of hair fell down to one side. He was shirtless, and had a skull tattoo over his heart.

Amber leaned into Terry, her head against his bare chest. Her tank top rucked up over her lean belly, revealing a bangly navel piercing. She readjusted and scooted higher upon him, her knees tucked up close.

The little house was dark, only lit by the TV.

“Babe,” said Terry, “I’m hungry.”

“I know,” she replied, playing with his hair. “But I can’t do it again. Not this soon.”

“Oh come on, just a little bit.”

“No, Terry. I can’t. I’m still dizzy from last time.”

“But I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Terry picked up the TV remote from amongst the mess on the coffee table and changed the channel. “But baaaaabe, I’m hungry.

“You just ate yesterday.” She rubbed her hand against his bony chest. “You said you’d be good for three days.”

“But I’m hungry now.”

“You know I can’t do it again so soon.”

Terry took a drag off his cigarette. “I don’t see why you have to be such a bitch about it.”

“Come on, Terry. I love you.”

“I’m just kidding.” He blew out smoke. “Bitch.”

“Don’t say that.” She snuggled against him like a child. “Just love me.”

“I love you even though you’re a bitch.” He tapped ashes onto the floor and then snaked an arm around her shoulders. She sighed contentedly.

Terry leaned in, parting his lips as he neared her neck. “I’ll just take a little bit. Just a pint.”

“No, babe. Please.”

He pulled his lips back, razor sharp fangs slick with saliva. His breath was hot on her neck. “But you taste so good. You know you want it.”

“Please no, Terry, you know what’ll happen.”

“It’ll just hurt for a second.”

“Please don’t.”

“Bitch.” He leaned in, and suddenly his hand was an iron collar around her neck. “You couldn’t stop me. I could just take what I want.” He rested his lips against her neck, and the tips of his fangs just grazed the skin. Her breath hitched.

She squirmed, halfheartedly pushing against his chest. “You know I couldn’t. But you love me.”

Terry grinned. “If you won’t do it, maybe I’ll go find some girl who will. Maybe I won’t be so nice to her. What about your sister?” Still holding her fast, he leaned forward and dropped his cigarette butt into one of the empty beer bottles on the coffee table.

She grimaced, and her voice was a childlike whimper. “Please, babe. I can’t. I’m still sick from last time.”

“Don’t you love me?”

“You know I do.”

“Well I’m hungry.”

She let out a shuddering sigh. “Okay,” she said. “Just a little bit.”

He smiled gleefully. “I love you, babe!” He released her neck, and slapped her ass as she stood up. “Bitch.”

She walked into the  bedroom and returned with a shoebox, then sat down next to him and opened the lid. He watched hungrily as she took out a length of surgical tubing and tied it around her arm. Amber clenched and unclenched her fist, watching as the veins swelled in her forearm. “Just a little bit, babe.”

He nodded. “I know. Just a little.”

Amber took out a length of plastic tubing, terminating at one end with a needle. She made sure the plastic ratchet clamp was tightened on the tubing, sighed, swallowed, and slipped the needle into her vein.

She undid the tourniquet around her arm. Red flowed up the tube to the clamp and stopped. She took a length of tape and secured the needle in place, then put the other end of the hose into a simple drinking glass.

“Hurry up, babe.”

“Almost there, Terry.” She released the clamp. Red flowed and looped through the clear plastic hose, sputtering and pouring out into the glass. She watched the level carefully, her fingers hovering over the tube clamp.

At about two fingers, she reached for the clamp.

“Wait,” said Terry. He held her wrist. “Just a little more.”

“No, babe, it’s too much.”

His eyes narrowed. “Who fucking cares.”

“Babe…” She made to sit up, and he pinned her down with a hand around her throat. Careful not to disturb the hose, he straddled her, holding her down with his weight. She struggled and he held her fast. “Babe, please.”

He screwed his face up into a parody of hers, “Babe, please,” he whined.

The level of blood in the glass still rose.

Her eyes fluttered. Her skin grew pale and clammy. She tried to fight him, but could not. Tears flowed down her cheeks.

“You know what, I’m fucking sick of you.” The glass brimmed, and Terry took the hose and popped the bloody end into his mouth. “You know why I never bit you? It’s cause I wouldn’t want you to be a vampire. The thought of listening to you whine for eternity makes me want to fucking kill myself.”

“Babe…”

“Say goodnight, bitch. I think you’ll be a better lay after you’re dead.”

Her fingers trembled and twitched.

A shotgun blast shattered the stillness of the summer night. The doorknob of the tiny house spun across the room and put a divot in the drywall. The cheap hollow core door, mortally wounded, twisted on its hinges.

The man in the white cowboy hat racked another shell into the shotgun as he kicked the remains of the door away. He wore a gaudy Hawaiian print shirt, unbuttoned, with a white tee shirt underneath. A Japanese sword hung at his waist. His eyes were dark as the shadow of a tombstone. He levelled the shotgun at Terry.

Terry spun Amber around as a shield and cowered behind her. She hung limply in his grip, her head lolling over his fist. “Who the fuck are you, man?”

“Boy, I’m the fucking grim reaper.”

Terry’s eyes danced around the room, searching for escape. “I’ll fucking kill her, I swear to God.”

“Looks to me like you already did.”

“Are you sure of that, asshole?”

“Seems she’d be dead either way. And really, what’s one more? See, I been lookin’ for you, boy. Been followin’ you since Taos. I know about all of them. Jessica. Sarah. Bethany. Rachel. In the big scheme of things, one more don’t matter to me. What matters to me is putting your punk vampire ass in the ground for good, and that’s gonna happen one way or another.”

“Then why don’t you just shoot through her, asshole?” Terry laughed, “Yeah, that’s what I though. You fucking pussy.”

Amber’s eyes fluttered open. She reached her hand around and seized the tube protruding from her arm. In one smooth motion, she ripped it free and jammed the needle, still spurting blood, into her lover’s eye.

Terry screamed and let go of her throat as he brought his hands to his face. She fell to the ground.

In an eyeblink, The vampire hunter fired. Terry’s head, from the nose up, ceased to exist. A red mess decorated the far wall. His body fell headlong over the couch, coming to rest at an obscene angle, legs dangling crazily in the air. Amber sunk to her knees and sobbed once.

“Easy there, little darlin’.” Alex drew his sword as he approached Terry. “It’s all over now. You best look away.”

She didn’t look away.

Six Word Stories Redux

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Round two…Fight!

***

“Give me liberty, or give…aaaargh!”

***

“Hold on!”
“I can’t! I love—”

***

“Mr. Goldstein? Come with us, please.”

***

His bulletproof vest couldn’t stop love.

***

“This must be a nightmare.” Nope.

***

“I had to. Don’t hate me.”

***

Dreams of dying hadn’t prepared him.

***

She smelled the wine. “Nice try.”

Microfiction-Cold Comfort

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The president faced the cameras. “My fellow Americans. We’ve all heard the rumors. Let me assure you, they are completely false. We are in no danger whatsoever. NASA has assured me that the asteroid will miss the earth by a wide margin. Everything is fine. I repeat, there’s nothing to worry about.”

The cameras shut off. The president loosened his necktie and poured himself a glass of scotch. He raised his drink to the room. “Not long now. It’s been a pleasure knowing you all. God help us.”

He emptied the glass in one swig, grimaced, and poured another.

Short Story-Mixmaw’s Intergalactic Travelling Bazaar

The spaceship dropped out of the clear blue sky above Marigold street.

John Sutter, kneeling to adjust the carburetor on his gas-powered lawn mower, noticed the flicker of shadow that crossed his half-trimmed lawn. He looked up, and the screwdriver fell unnoticed from his fingers.

Across the street, Margaret Wilson dropped her laundry basket and screamed. Soon, the entire neighborhood was watching, people pouring like ants out of their tidy suburban homes and gaping up at the sky. Dogs barked. Babies cried.

The ship looked insect-like, all strange angles and bulges, descending at a stately pace with no wings or rotors or jets.

The people gathered around in a wide, ragged circle as the craft hovered lower. It extruded a set of landing legs and settled down in the middle of Marigold street, hissing and venting gasses and steam.

A pregnant pause followed. The residents of Marigold Street began to talk in hushed tones, “Is it dangerous? Shouldn’t we call someone? How in the world…”

The alien craft shuddered, and the crowd once again fell silent. Then, as they all watched, it began to…unfold. Hatches hinged open, panels slid away, irises irised. Out came racks, shelves, tables, display cases, stuffed full of strange and wondrous objects.

From somewhere, jolly organ music began playing.

A door opened, and out stepped the alien: a six legged, bug-eyed, chitinous horror. Wearing a top-hat.

“Gentlebeings all, welcome to Mixmaw’s intergalactic travelling bazaar! I bring you unique and remarkable merchandise from around the universe, from the nomadic tribes of Kafazz, to the factories of Kranth. Wonders such as your eyes have never seen!

The alien stepped in front of the racks of clothing. He pointed at Margaret Wilson with two of his segmented arms. “You there, transporting your soiled garments. Never do laundry again!” With a segmented arm it held out a sky-blue blouse. “With your clothes made of hand woven Chiksa silk, the dirt slides right off! And it’s smooth as the underside of a Ganwellian cloud plant.”

Margaret ran her fingers along the cloth, sighed dreamily, and passed out with a smile on her face.

“And you sir, using that primitive machine to trim your photosynthetic ground cover! Try one of these, instead!” A boxy wheeled robot crawled out of a hatch in the spaceship and trundled towards the half-mowed lawn. “A tirelesss yard sentry, the Karvallian trim-bot never needs batteries, never stops working, and…it uses advanced Karvallian technology to convert your grass clippings into gold coins.” The little robot tore into the grassy yard with fervor, leaving a trail of shiny golden droppings behind.

“And that’s not all,” said the alien, pulling open a cabinet. “I have spices from the far mountains of Flandoor, the likes of which your terrestrial taste buds have never dreamed! Try this, sir, it’s a Taltanian garlic from the lowlands of Skrife.” He shook out a sample into John Sutter’s hand.

John cautiously tasted the powder. He gasped and fell to his knees, weeping uncontrollably. “It is the single most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced!” he cried. “My greatest regret is that I’ve gone my entire life without tasting this, the perfect ambrosia, the nectar of the very gods themselves! I’ll never again enjoy lesser foods. My life is ruined.”

“Quite right, sir.” Said Mixmaw. “And this is only a small sampling of my wares. Find true love! Defeat your enemies! Cure diseases and live forever! That’s right, the finest and most unique wares in the wide universe are available to you, right now, at low, low prices.”

“Well good God, man, how much!” screamed John Sutter. “I’ll pay anything. Anything!”

“I’m not a greedy being. I provide these wonders practically at cost, for the simple joy of bringing fine products to the far corners of the universe. The spices begin at a price of only twelve Chaburi.”

“What’s a Chaburi?” asked Martha.

“You don’t have Chaburi? Oh, my mistake. I also take payment in Megars, Tandillos, or Kawillian trade certificates.”

“But we don’t have any of those things!” said John. “We only have dollars.”

“What’s a dollar?” said Mixmaw.

“Or, or pounds! Euros! Pesos! Loonies! Yen, baht, rupees, gold, whatever you want!”

“I’m…I’m afraid I don’t take those. And why would I want gold? I have a lawnmower that shits gold. Are you sure this planet doesn’t even deal in Klavix? The exchange rate is terrible, but I suppose it’s better than nothing.”

“No,” answered Margaret,  “we don’t even know what those are.”

“Does anyone even have a credit account with the trans-galactic trust bank?” Met with blank stares, Mixmaw held his hat in his hands, sheepishly. “I’m afraid I’ve made a terrible mistake. Really must update these travel atlases. How embarassing. My mistake, of course. All my fault. Terribly sorry.”

The alien climbed into his spaceship. The stalls and shelves and racks and displays neatly folded themselves back into the ship. Irises irised. Panels slid shut. Hatches hinged closed. The ship lifted off the ground, up, up and away, and disappeared into the baby blue sky.

Six Word Fiction Day

Inspired by a few other bloggers, also too lazy to write a full blog post today, I’m gonna try out this whole six word fiction thing. Here goes nothin’…

***

Then the world exploded. The end.

***

“Shouldn’t have left the baby there…”

***

“My love is the sea. And heroin.”

Author’s note: Oops, this is seven words. Let me try that again.

“My lover is the sea. Lion.”

***

“Cut the red wire, right?” Boom.

***

The applause turned to horrified screams.

***

He spread his wings and died.

***

“Oh my God he ate it.”

***

“You’re bluffing.”

“Afraid not.”

“Well, shit.”

***

“I wasn’t completely honest with you…”

***

“But flipping off cops is legal!”

Short Story-Space Kitten

“What is it?” said Karen, staring at the blips on the radar screen.

“I don’t know,” Tom responded, the color draining from his face. “Some kind of deep-space radiation storm. But not like any I’ve ever seen.”

Boots, the new ship’s cat, jumped up onto the navigation console and strutted between Karen and the screen. She batted at the moving radar blips with her tiny paws. “Not now, Bootsie,” Karen scooped the cat up and deposited her on the ground. To Tom, she said, “Can we divert?”

Boots, insulted, sat and licked her paws.

“It’s too big and moving too fast. It’s coming right at us.” Tom read the displays for another second, scrolling through the data with one finger. Boots jumped back onto the console and rubbed her whiskers against Tom’s finger, closing her eyes and purring madly.

Tom shoved the cat out of his way. “Karen, I need to you go to the engine room and shut off all the manual breakers, so maybe this thing won’t fry our electronics. If it doesn’t kill us, at least we’ll have a functioning space ship.”

“I’m on it.” Karen rose up out of her seat and sprinted towards the cockpit door—and nearly tripped on the kitten that twined between her legs. She stumbled, stepping over the cat, and ran down the corridor.

The cat trotted behind her. “Meowp? Mroop? Mewp?”

Karen wrenched the breaker box open, ignoring the lid that clattered to the floor, making Boots jump. She frantically threw switches and pulled fuses out of their sockets. The fuses littered the floor of the engine room. One by one the ship’s systems shut down. The lights went out. The vent fans went quiet.

Boots batted a fuse down the corridor, then, after a butt-wiggling pause, chased after it.

One final breaker, and the artificial gravity shut off. Karen’s feet rose off the floor. Bootsie twisted around as she floated, still trying to get at the fuse.

“Here it comes!” Tom yelled down the corridor. “Hold on!”

The ship rocked violently. Green lightning shot across the engine room, showering sparks wherever it touched the metal bulkheads. There was a sound like the crackle of high-voltage wires. The overhead lights lit up of their own accord and pulsed a pale green. One of the lighting panels shattered and showered Karen with clear plastic shards.

Tiny green bolts of lightning shot from Karen’s fingers. Her teeth ached. She felt a rising warmth in her chest. The very air seemed to glow green. She screamed.

Boots howled.

In the cockpit, Tom hunched over, holding his belly, and gritted his teeth. his hair stood on end.

One more brilliant flash of green lightning, and it was over. The ship was quiet.

Karen replaced the fuse in the gravity system and sank gently to the floor as she eased the slider up to one g. She turned on a few more essential systems, then stumbled up to the cockpit while Boots, looking dazed, followed along behind her. “Are you okay?” she said to Tom.

“I think so,” he said, scrolling through the system diagnostics. “It’s crazy, but it seems like that storm…it seems like it didn’t do anything at all!”

Boots jumped up onto the console. The cat said, “You know, I’m actually not so sure about that.”

 

Shatnered

“So, I wrote a blog post yesterday,” I said, “sort of a comedy erotica thing. It was just a generic love scene where I replaced all the dirty words with made up words like ‘wangdoodle’ or ‘pickle-pocket.'”

We were at a round metal table outside a Starbucks in a generic California strip-mall. There was a Noah’s bagels on one side, and an empty space that used to be a book store on the other. I pulled my croissant apart while Rachel sat down across from me, setting down her cup of coffee.

“Yeah, I read it,” said Rachel. “It was hilarious. Kind of hot though. Really weird.”

I smiled and shrugged. “Hilarious, kind of hot, really weird. Just like me.”

She snorted over her coffee and rolled her eyes. “Weird, anyway.”

I sipped at my grande Pike’s Place roast. “So, yeah. It was just this goofball thing I wrote. But it was really popular. It got more than twice as many views as any of my other posts. I’m not really sure how to feel about that.”

“Maybe you’ve got a gift for writing erotica.”

“I know, right? Maybe I should just go all in and write erotica for a living.”

Rachel smiled. “But it has to be comedy erotica.”

“I’m not sure if I could keep that up,” I said. I paused for a bite of croissant. “No pun intended. I mean, it’s kind of a one-trick pony. How many gibberish words can I make up to describe sex acts? But what if that’s all people want? What if I try to write something else, and people are just like, ‘when are you going to write more of that funny sex stuff?'”

“Oh my god,” said Rachel, her face deadpan, “what if you got Shatnered?”

“Shatnered? Is that a sex word I made up?”

“No, I mean like William Shatner.”

I cocked my head. “I don’t follow.” I raised one eyebrow. “Am I going to have to start…talking with overly…long dramatic pauses?”

Rachel rolled her eyes again. “What I mean is, what do you think of when you think of William Shatner?”

“Star Trek, I guess.”

She rapped her fist on the table. “Exactly. He hasn’t been in a Star Trek movie in twenty years. He’s an accomplished producer, writer and director. He’s had literally hundreds of roles throughout a successful fifty-year career. And yet, what’s the first thing people think when they hear William Shatner? James T. Kirk.”

“So, I’m going to be the comedy sex guy? No matter what I do, no matter what I accomplish, when people hear ‘Matt Kincade’ twenty years from now, they’re going to think, ‘Oh, he’s that guy who writes the weird comedy sex stuff with made up words?’ That’s my future?”

She nodded sadly. “‘Fraid so.”

I stared down at my coffee cup. “Jesus. That’s terrifying. How can I stop this?”

“You can’t. Many have tried. Shatner. Mark Hamill. Sean Connery. Leonard Nimoy. It happened to all of them. I mean, it’ll be great, at first. You’ll be famous. You’ll have nubile college girls wanting you to sign their cleavage, giggling and asking you to squibble their jibbles or whatever. You’ll be on top of the world. There’ll be money, women, drugs, you name it.” Rachel sipped her coffee. “But then, it’ll get old. You’ll want to move on to other things. Only the world won’t let you. Pretty soon, you’ll cringe every time you see someone approach you in the street with a pen and a notebook. You’ll probably scream at some fan who interrupts you while you’re trying to have a nice dinner with your family. You’ll flip over a table, throw a bottle of champagne at the wall. Somebody will call the cops.”

“My god.”

“Oh yeah, it’s bad.” Rachel made a sympathetic face. “And that’s the start of your downward spiral. Your cocaine habit will get out of control. You’ll spend all your famous author money on hookers. You’ll wind up living in your car, offering to schlibble dibbles for five dollars so you can buy a crack rock.”

“I always wondered what rock bottom was going to look like for me.”

“Well, that’s it. You can’t get any lower. Then you’ll have your moment of clarity. You’ll probably find Jesus. You’ll accept your place in life as the comedy sex writer guy. You’ll start accepting appearances on television shows, parodying yourself. You’ll realize that some people would do anything for the fame that you’ve spent years running from. You’ll start to understand that everything your fans do, they do out of love. You’ll find balance. You’ll find peace. Are you going to finish that croissant?”

“You know what? You can have it. Suddenly I’m not hungry.”