Flash Fiction: Zoo

sfzoo_home_carousel-zoolights17
Image Source

We captured their memories as points of light, arranged them into living constellations. We drew them with an ordinary crayon, with no magic in it except the possibility each star contained.

These were the casualties of planets and races lost to time, resurrected and preserved here for posterity, in this cosmic menagerie.

As they came alive, they said, “We are self aware, and this is not the best of all possible worlds. This is a Problem.”

“Look there!” we shouted, pointing to the spaces between the lights, where the mystery of their beings resided. But the creatures did not hear.

~100 words

via Daily Prompt

Advertisements

Writer’s Tag

writerstag

I got tagged by J.W. Martin. I accept this challenge, for great justice!

What genres, styles, and topics do you write about?

I write speculative fiction almost exclusively. Sci-Fi, Horror, and Fantasy are the only genres I tend to care much about. My stories tend to have elements of cosmic horror, or faery tale logic. I like to ask existential questions, like “What is identity?” or “Can humans exist in ways other than they currently do?” with my fiction.

The theme varies depending on the genesis of the idea. I tend to start with a nice, chewy story and work it over until a theme emerges, rather than starting from theme and working outward. Common threads I’ve noticed are death, memory, love (lost, spurned, or blossoming), family, and legacy.

But I really never know what I’m going to write, or what’s going to come out of me, until the pen hits the paper.

Continue reading “Writer’s Tag”

Flash Fiction: Selfie

cd9fbc86e4a94272b27dc2f25fe71bd8
Source: Bikurgurl

Outside the Ministry of Self Expression, Lakshmi finished posing for her government mandated, hourly selfie. The photo was automatically tagged with her location and her mood, analyzed via face recognition software and resting heart rate.

Within seconds of posting, she received several likes, and notice that one of her followers was within a few meters of her location. These days you were expected to engage with your public face-to-face. Lakshmi smiled.

But the man in the red shirt delivered no friendly greeting, only an ominous warning: “Crest sales are down. We need you to show your teeth when you smile.”

~100 words

via Bikergurl — 100 Word Wednesday

Flash Fiction: Man Bites Zombie

man_bites_dog_by_mariokluser-d5de5ir
From Deviant Art

“What are you trying to say?” said Maggie, stoking the campfire.

They bedded down in their sleeping bags by the old railroad tracks, in the moon shadow of an abandoned boxcar.

Lewis was acting strange lately. They’d been caught up in the melee when the horde overran Boston. The two of them had barely escaped, and Maggie often wondered if Lewis was concealing something underneath his long sleeves and high collar.

“I mean,” said Lewis, “all this time, we’ve been so worried about being infected by these things, whatever they are. We haven’t considered, what happens if we bite back?”

~100 words

via Daily Prompt: Bite

Flash Fiction: Sludge

spare-cthulhu-big
The Sun Is Sick (Austin Osman Spare)

We’d been trudging through the treacherous sludge of the Louisiana bayou for nigh on a fortnight, when we came to the clearing. Boudreaux, our guide, stopped us outside the stone circle.

“I do not go into this place,” he said. “It is cursed.”

At the time, I laughed off Boudreaux’s melodramatic warning. I did not laugh when we found the heathen idol on its crimson stained altar, its bulbous outline depicting the hideous features of a membranous winged monstrosity. And as I compile my notes, here in the British Museum’s archives, it begins to glow with a pale, unearthly luminescence.

~100 words

via Daily Prompt: Sludge

Thursday Quotable: Danse Macabre

danse-macabre-pb2buk2bed

“I think that writers are made, not born or created out of dreams of childhood trauma—that becoming a writer (or a painter, actor, director, dancer, and so on) is a direct result of conscious will. Of course there has to be some talent involved, but talent is a dreadfully cheap commodity, cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work and study; a constant process of honing. Talent is a dull knife that will cut nothing unless it is wielded with great force—a force so great the knife is not really cutting at all but bludgeoning and breaking (and after two or three of these gargantuan swipes it may succeed in breaking itself…which may be what happened to such disparate writers as Ross Lockridge and Robert E. Howard). Discipline and constant work are the whetstones upon which the dull knife of talent is honed until it becomes sharp enough, hopefully, to cut through even the toughest meat and gristle. No writer, painter, or actor—no artist—is ever handed a sharp knife (although a few are handed almighty big ones; the name we give to the artist with the big knife is “genius”), and we hone with varying degrees of zeal and aptitude.”

― Stephen King, Danse Macabre

Can you write, if you weren’t given the tools? If not born with knife in hand (sorry, Mom…), can you find one, somewhere out there, buried under autumn leaves? Or maybe you have to learn to disarm someone who does have a knife, pry it from their stiff fingers and claim it for your own. See, that’s what happens when you extend a metaphor too far.

In the book, King points out that he’s not a great guitar player, no matter how many years he’s been at it. I can sympathize. I can barely keep a rhythm; perhaps it’s something inherent in the writer’s brain that they can only follow the beat of the sounds inside their own heads? The point is that some people weren’t born with talent, in one area or another. The trick is to find what you’re talented at, plunge your face in, and eat the whole damn thing, heart and all.

The book is great, filled with all the candid, black humor that you’d expect if you’ve read On Writing, a more directly applicable piece of nonfiction for the aspiring author. It’s also a brilliant meditation on the horror genre in film, although I’ve learned that King’s taste in movies and my own deviate beyond his distaste for Kubrick’s The Shining, which I think is one of the greatest films to have been put to celluloid. Put it on your shelf, Constant Reader, and take it down some dark night when the tree branches scratch at the window panes.

via Bookshelf Fantasies

 

Flash Fiction: Because I Could Not Stop

100ww_w46
Image Credit Brooke Lark

“It’d be so nice to hear little footsteps, tramping along the boards of this drafty, old house. I’ve asked outright, but Barbara is too busy with her career,” said Esther.

“You don’t have to worry about Barbara anymore,” said Death.

“I’ve set two places at breakfast. I don’t know why I did that. Charlie’s been dead ten years now.”

Death reached out a black gloved hand and helped her up from the dining room chair. “It’s time to go. There is nothing more for you to do.”

“Easy for you to say,” said Esther. “I’ve got to wash these dishes.”

~100 words