Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No Regrets

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. My family used to be like all those happy families. Then Grandpa came to live with us. He was in a wheelchair and couldn’t go upstairs. Dad had to convert his den into a bedroom for Grandpa and expand the bathroom so it had a special shower in it.

I was only 10 at the time and I really didn’t want to spend much time downstairs when he was out of his room. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him but there was something about the way he looked at me that made me self conscious.

Mom and Dad didn’t usually leave me alone with him but one night Dad called and said he needed a ride home. “You can stay with Grandpa,” Mom said.

“Okay,” I had replied then turned back to the show I was watching.

“Jenna! I dropped my book,” he called about 10 minutes after mom left. I jumped off the couch and went to his room. His chair was next to the bed and the book was on the floor almost under the bed. I bent over to pick it up, forgetting that I was wearing my school uniform.

I felt a hand on my butt. It caressed the cheek then a finger slid under the fabric between my legs. I froze. The finger slid inside me and I could hear Grandpa’s zipper. Then I heard moaning behind me.

“Oh god yes!” he cried out then slid the finger out.

“Here … here’s your book,” I said and put it on the bed then ran out of the room.

Several minutes later Grandpa came out of his room. “If say anything, I’ll tell them about how you broke your mother’s vase.”

Grandpa’s book fell under his bed whenever my parents were out of the house for the next year. It was the same thing every time. I never said anything about it; I didn’t want to get grounded.

Then, one morning, Dad went into Grandpa’s room. He was dead. During the night his breathing machine had come unplugged. There was an inquiry by the police but it was declared an accident.

We never became a happy family again. But I didn’t mind. The look on Grandpa’s face when I unplugged his breathing machine gave me something to smile about every day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crossing Over

Detective Jan Hanson stepped into the old house and flipped on the lights. The bulbs in the chandelier flickered then there were several loud pops as they exploded from old age. The foyer fell dark. “Crap!” she said then fumbled for the flashlight in her jacket pocket.

She turned it on and light flooded the small room. There was a coat rack next to the door with a small table and mirror above it. Jan glanced into the mirror. The image of a woman appeared over her shoulder for a second then was gone. When Jan turned around there was nothing to see.

“Who … who’s there?” she called out. There was no reply. Suddenly a door slammed shut upstairs.

“Hello? Is anyone there?”

There was still no reply. Jan suddenly wished she hadn’t decided to go exploring the old house on her own. She didn’t believe in ghosts and was sure there was a perfectly good explanation as she climbed the stairs.

With each step she climbed there was an echo of her footsteps. Jan paused halfway up and turned around quickly, nothing was there. “You watched too much Scooby Doo as a kid, there’s nothing there,” she told herself and continued up the stairs, ignoring the echo.

Jan looked down the hall to the left, all the doors were open. She looked down the hall to the right, and the second door on the left was closed. The floorboards behind her creaked and she turned but nothing was there. She took several deep breaths then walked towards the door.

As Jan neared it she could hear the soft refrain of Braham’s Lullaby being sung from within the closed room. She paused outside the door, her hand reaching out to the door but not quite touching it. Suddenly it turned and swung open.

She screamed and fell back against the opposite doorway then looked into the room to see the cradle was slowly rocking back and forth.

“Who … who’s in there?” she called out.

“Shhh! You’ll wake the baby!” a woman’s voice scolded then the song resumed.

Jan stood up and quietly stepped into the room. As she neared the cradle she could see a young baby wrapped up in sheets. It matched the description of the baby that had been snatched just before dusk from a nearby park. The police department had gotten several calls about a baby crying in the house and she had been sent to investigate..

“Isn’t he lovely?” a voice asked. The woman Jan had seen in the mirror earlier appeared next to the cradle. “He’s just like my James.”

“He’s not yours,” Jan replied.

“Yes he is,” the woman said frantically. The baby started crying again. “See what you’ve done?”

“Please let me take the baby back to his mother and father,” Jan said as she watched the baby seemingly levitate as the spirit picked it up.

“No, he’s mine!”

“What happened to James?” Jan asked as her negotiating skills kicked in.

“They … they took him away. Said I was unfit to care for him. They said I killed him. But I didn’t. I’m a good mother. See?” the spirit said in a desperate voice as she clung to the baby.

“How did you die?”

“After they took the baby … my baby … my husband beat me then tied me to the cradle to punish me for James and tarnishing his career,” she answered. She was sobbing and squeezing the baby who was crying in protest. “He left me here to die.”

“You’re hurting the baby,” Jan said reaching out towards the child. “Please, loosen your hold on the baby.”

The ghost woman stared at Jan then eased her hold. The baby’s crying stopped and the spirit looked at Jan.

“If you give me the baby, I will bring you back a baby you can keep,” Jan bargained.

“You’ll bring back James?” the ghost asked hopefully.

“I promise,” Jan answered and held out her hands towards the baby. The woman hesitated then allowed the Jan to take the baby. “Thank you. I have to take the baby home now. I will return tomorrow with your baby.”

The spirit was gone. Jan smiled at the baby then headed out of the house to return him to his rightful parents.

The next day, she went downtown to the doll boutique. She bought a boy doll with a voice box. It could be programmed to cry at certain intervals and even could say ‘momma’ and ‘I love you.’ Jan returned to the house and went back to the room with the cradle.

She switched the doll on and it started to cry. The ghost woman appeared and looked down at the life-like doll. “He’s beautiful,” she said.

“No more taking babies from the park, ya hear?”

“I promise,” the ghost replied.

Jan smiled and turned to leave the room as the ghost started to rock the cradle and sing to her baby. When she got to the door, the woman paused her singing and whispered, “Thank you.”

After that day, the baby kidnappings from the park stopped. The ghost, who had gotten what she needed to pass over, was gone and the old house fell silent.

Several weeks later, Jan, who had finally found the woman’s identity, stopped by her grave. She placed a bouquet of baby’s breath and blue cornflowers next to the grave marker.

“Rest in peace,” she said then got in her police car and headed to the next call.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Family Matters

The residue on the driveway could only mean one thing: humans.

Nature sighed and dialed her brother. “Luci, we have that … that parasite again,” she said. Her disgust towards the creatures that had infested her yard was undeniable.

“I’ll be over as soon as I can. The “Master of the Universe” is on my ass to rid his nebulas of Martians,” he replied sarcastically. “Dad can really have a God complex sometimes.”

Nature snickered. “See ya later bro and don’t forget to bring your pitchfork, I’ve been itching to try that lightning feature on the new model, it has been too quiet along the Atlantic coast.”

(From a story prompt to use residue, parasite and master in a story 250 words or less.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Miracle

The echoes of the woman’s screams reverberated through the bathroom. She held onto the sink with her left hand and lifted her skirt with the other as she squatted over a puddle of water. She was breathing funny as her body was wracked with a wave of contractions.

From my hole in the wall I could see a dark mass begin to show between her legs. The woman was gasping for air when the contractions stopped briefly. She let out another bellow when the next contraction hit.

She seemed to be oblivious to the building shaking or the walls crumbling around her as the buildings near them were destroyed by bombs. I could safely watch from my little space in the wall.

More of the baby’s head appeared between the woman’s legs as she screamed again then grunted as she bore down. “Get thee the fuck out of me!” the woman cursed, gripping the sink harder as more contractions hit. “Ye are gunna be thee death of me.”

There was a sudden splash as the baby landed in the woman’s bodily fluids on the cold tile floor. The baby started to cry and wave its arms around. Exhausted, the woman fell back on the floor and hit her head against the wall, knocking her unconscious.

The baby’s cries filled the small room as it shivered in the puddle. It was covered with blood and other goo. I leaned out of my hole to sniff the air then pulled back. It was quite unpleasant. The baby’s cries were overpowered by the sounds of a bomb hitting the building. The walls and ceiling crashed down on the woman, killing her as the light fixture punctured her heart.

Moments later, an older man appeared in the door. “Susan? Oh my god!” he sobbed. He quickly moved the debris from on top of her. He leaned over her, checking for a pulse. The baby, who’d been quiet, cried again. The man turned his head and stared at him for several seconds then quickly moved to pick the baby up.

He pulled his Swiss Army knife out of his pocket and cut the umbilical cord. Holding the baby in one arm, he cleared out the sink so he could clean him then dried him gently with paper towels. He looked for something to wrap the baby in.

The building shook as another bomb landed in the street and the man hunched over the baby to protect him. He looked down at the woman and he ripped off the skirt portion of her dress. It was dirty and torn but it would have to do.

I watched the man wrap the baby up then he paused to look at the woman. “Rest in peace love. I’ll take care of ye wee one,” he said then disappeared out the door.

With the show over, I ducked back into my hole and scurried along the walls to see if there was any food left behind in the office.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Another writing prompt: The first sentence of Twilight

My mother drove me to the airport with the windows rolled down. I don’t know why. Maybe she thought it would get rid of the foulness between us. I really didn’t care either. The wind blowing past my right ear blocked out most of her bitching, which was a bonus.

“Are you listening to me?” she demanded as she turned the wheel sharply to take the ramp for the airport entrance.

“As much as always,” I answered as I silently prayed she wouldn’t kill me with her horrific driving.

“You’re just like your father,” she hissed.

“No. I’m not. He lived with your toxic personality for 30 years and it ended up killing him. I’m not going to let that happen to me,” I replied.

“I am not responsible for your father’s pathetic suicide!”

“Of course not, you’re not responsible for anything,” I replied as she slammed on the brakes in front of the United terminal. I picked up my duffel bag and got out of the car. “I’d tell you to have a good life but I’d be lying and you taught me better than that. Good-bye mother.”

“You wise ass sonovabitch,” she ranted as she leaned across the seat to grab me. I stepped back then laughed as she forgot her foot was on the brake and she slammed into the stretch limo parked in front of her. I headed into the airport as the driver got out and started screaming at her in Russian.

“John, darling! Wait! Help me!” she called out as the automatic doors opened. When I didn’t stop I heard her switch gears and could hear her trying to explain it wasn’t her fault and blamed the accident on me.

I kept walking and didn’t turn back.

That was 15 years ago; I could remember it as if it had happened yesterday. I hadn’t seen or talked to her since. When her doctor called to tell me she had died alone in her home I smiled and felt the world get a little bit brighter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

From a Writing Prompt

The small boys came early to the hanging. Their ma said they shouldn’t be there, they was too young but that wasn’t going to stop them.

“I think that’s going to be the way I die,” Billy said as he stared at the noose.

“Whys that?” Johnny asked.

“I jess has a feeling about it when I looks up there.”

“Your ma taught you right. Yous wouldn’t steal or kill.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Billy said.

The prisoner, who was accused of raping a young woman, was brought to the platform. Even as they put the noose around his neck he swore his innocence. At high noon he was dead.

* * * * *

Billy looked down from the hangman’s box and saw two small boys, neither of them older than he’d been at his first hanging. Like the man that day, he was pleading his innocence as they put the noose around his neck.

He saw Johnny on the outskirts of the crowd. Billy yelled, “I didn’t do it Johnny. You know I couldn’t a done it.”

Johnny shook his head then turned and walked away. Billy died inside as he felt the noose tighten then the floor dropped.

Writing Prompts: Why Some Are Better Than Others

I've been a member of a micro/flash fiction writing group on Yahoo! for probably close to a year now. The moderator offers up one word writing prompts that can be written in any genre, style, etc. up to 1,000 words (sometimes slightly longer works are allowed) but the prompt word has to be included. It is very open ended and can lead to some interesting takes. Some or all reply with their offerings then whomever feels like it, offers a critique of the stories. Literary writing is not welcomed.

On Google+, I've found a fellow writer offering up writing prompts. In the ones I've worked on there has been a premise to what you're supposed to be writing, with a word count limit. The prompts are fairly detailed, but yet open-ended at the same time. 

Today's, which I'll be posting in a few, was the first line of a Ken Follet book. The people who have posted each had a different take on the line. There is no critique per se, but the others let you know their reactions to the stories. Literary writing is welcomed.

Between the two, I have found myself being much more driven to write using the more detailed prompts. There are more rules and requirements but it really focuses my thoughts as I'm writing. I am going to be leaving the first group as I want to write more literary style stuff. I have learned much from them but it is time to spread my wings and see where else I can learn more.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Mother’s Love

The lights flickered as John and Cindy started to argue. The louder they got, the more the lights flickered. Suddenly they went out.

“You’ve upset the baby!” Cindy accused then ran up the stairs to the nursery.

She rocked the cradle as she sang a lullaby. The lights flickered back on then came on again. Cindy looked down at the cradle and placed a blanket on the mattress. “Good night Annie. I love you,” she whispered then carefully walked out of the room.

As she headed down the stairs she heard the garage door opening and heard John’s car pulling out of the driveway. On the kitchen table there was a note. “Dear Cindy, I can’t take it anymore. I’ll be at my mom’s house. I’ll see you at Annie’s funeral. John”

Cindy rested her head in her hands as she started to cry. She wasn’t surprised he fled. Caring for a ghostly child who would never age was not something everyone could handle. The lights flickered again.

She dried her tears then threw the note in the trash and went back up to the nursery. She pulled the rocking chair next to the cradle and started to rock it again.

“Don’t worry Annie, Mommy’s here. I’ll always be here.”

Promises Kept

Brian sat down to watch the movie of the week with the rest of his comrades. After a long week of fighting cannibals, he needed to relax.

The intro for the movie started—a Columbia Pictures production. Brian started to get an uneasy feeling as the music started. He had a flashback to 2010, just before the cannibals started their war against the rest of humanity.

He was sitting in a movie theater with his girlfriend. She had insisted they go see the new Kevin O’Donnell movie—SALT. He hated everything about the movie. As they were leaving, he swore he’d rather be eaten with a spork than watch it again.

Brian’s thoughts returned to the present as the movie started and Angelina Jolie’s character flashed across the screen. It was SALT. “Can we watch anything else?” he begged.

“There is nothing else,” John replied. “Just suck it up and deal.”

“I can’t sit through that again,” Brian said as he jumped up. He grabbed a spork from the table and slipped out of the safe house. He’d barely gotten to the edge of the woods when he was spotted by a group of cannibals.

They rushed at him and knocked him down. “Use this,” Brian urged as he held up the spork. The one next to his head took it and used it to rip his eye out. Brian screamed. He passed out as the cannibal reached into the empty socket with the spork to pull out some brains.

His comrades found what was left of him the next day. They buried him in a shallow grave. On the marker John wrote: RIP Brian. SALT free since 8/20/2035.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Buyer's Remorse

I feel so unsure. When I’d bought the antique mirror, I was sure about it. But now that it’s in my bedroom, I’m having second thoughts.

I look into the aged mirror. I see a reflection of who I was during a dark time in my life. I’d taken the evil path, forsaking all who had loved me. Behind me I see her—my one true love.

“Come to me,” she whispers.

“I’ve too much living to do.”

She exposes her body and soul, beckoning to me. I resist, at first, then slowly step closer, wanting to feel her body against mine once more. I need to feel her forgiveness.

Cautiously, I step into the mirror, reaching for her as she dissipates into the darkness. I feel the heat from the molten lava surrounding me and the echoing moans of despair.

“Soul collection time,” says the Devil. “Welcome to Hell.”

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Marriage Saver

“Jim, try this,” Bob said as he handed his friend a mushroom he’d bought online at

Jim took a bite and looked surprised. “It tastes just like human!”

“They grow them in special green houses. Dead people are put in these special spore suits made in Japan and instead of decomposing in a box they grow these mushrooms.”

“Now maybe Mary will stop chewing my ass for not eating enough vegetables,” Jim said as he gingerly patted her favorite place to nibble on his ass.

“Take a few home,” Bob said. He handed Jim a handful of the mushrooms and a business card.

“You may have just saved my marriage.”

“That’s what friends are for!” Bob said. “Now let’s eat before this heart gets cold.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Story Published!

My story Phobic Consequences has been published. A short horror story about spiders and a young girl's fear of them. You can read it here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing

Molly hung her purse on the coat rack and kicked off her shoes. She hadn’t been drinking but she felt giddy like she’d had a few wine coolers. Her eyes were bright and she couldn’t stop smiling as she made her way into the living room and plopped on the couch.

“What is this feeling?” She hadn’t felt like this since before her mother had died years ago. This sudden flood of happiness had caught her off guard. As she thought about her life for the last few weeks, Molly realized it made sense.

She’d finally come to terms with being a lesbian after more than 18 years of wrestling with the decision and made the first move forward. Her decision to get a college degree after more than 20 years since her high school graduation had been a good one, too. She loved her new classes and was doing well.

Then today, they had spent the day with her daughter’s boyfriend and his extended family at a backyard party. Being around all those fun people including them as if they were family had definitely contributed. A successful trip to the store to get new sneakers and flip-flops for her teenage daughter was the cherry on top of her happy sundae.

“So this is what it feels like. I like it,” she said aloud. Molly smiled then stood up and got ready for bed—brushing her teeth and taking her medicine. She was at peace with herself for the first time ever and she fell into a deep sleep.

When her daughter went to wake her the next morning, she discovered her mother was dead. On the pillow next to her head was a note.

“I experienced true happiness and it was too much to bear. I’m sorry. Love, Mom”

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trapped at the Zoo

10-year-old Sandy loved animals. She had a dog, two cats, a rabbit and a tank full of fish. Every day she would spend hours taking care of them and they loved her. Sandy planned on becoming a vet when she grew up.

It was spring and her parents took her to the zoo on opening day so she could see all the baby animals. Sandy ran from one exhibit to the next. “Oh Mom! They’re so wonderful,” Sandy said.

At the lion exhibit, Sandy stopped and stared at the young lions. They were so cute and huggable. She just needed to pet one. When her parents weren’t looking she sneaked away to look for the entrance.

Sandy found the door and slipped inside. It didn’t take her long to get outside and find the cubs that were napping in the sun. She gently ran her hand over the head of the one closest to her and giggled when it licked her with its tongue.

She was so engrossed in the cubs that she didn’t hear the screams from the people around the enclosure. Sandy looked up when she heard her mother’s scream, “Help my daughter!”

The lion trainers entered the lion exhibit with tranquilizer guns. Their only hope was to shoot the lionesses before they realized what was happening. One was napping in the sun and they were able to shoot her easily. The other, however, had been roused by the screams from the bystanders.

The lioness saw Sandy and let out a roar then bounded towards her. The trainers shot at her three times and missed with each shot. Sandy saw the lioness coming towards her and tried to run away but the animal was too fast.

The lioness pinned the girl to the ground then ripped out her throat. Sandy died instantly. The cubs gathered around Sandy’s body and started tearing her apart. The trainers had reloaded and easily shot the lioness as they ate and they were able to remove the cubs and lock them. Very little of the young girl remained.

The parents approached the zookeeper. “You can allow them to finish eating her and leave her carcass there as a warning to other children,” her father said.

“You don’t want to be able to bury her?” the zookeeper asked.

“There’s so little left, it wouldn’t be worth buying a casket,” Sandy’s mother said. “Besides, it is an appropriate punishment for her behavior.”

“Do you want to say good-bye to your daughter while the lions are still knocked out?” the zookeeper asked.

“No, we’re good,” her father said. They looked towards Sandy’s half-eaten body for a moment then headed towards the entrance.

Sandy raced after them. “Wait! Don’t leave without me!” she called out. They couldn’t hear her and kept walking.

When she got to the entrance to the zoo, Sandy ran into a barrier she that wasn’t able to pass through. She was stuck inside the zoo. Sandy was sad then started to smile as she realized that being stuck in the zoo meant she would always be able to be near the animals. Her dreams come true!

Sandy raced to the sheep pen. As she got close, they started bleating loudly and ran away from her. She went to the horses; they ran away from her too. The same thing happened with every animal. They were all afraid of her.

As Sandy sat on a bench outside the lion enclosure, she started crying as her mother’s words came back to her. “An appropriate punishment,” she’d said.

Her punishment was to be forever trapped in the zoo and unable to pet the animals because she was a ghost. Sandy said aloud, “I have the meanest parents ever.”

© June 14, 2011

Life Goes On

"Is that your new son?" Janice asked, pointing at the new picture on the wall.

"Yes, we adopted Timmy from Earth," Margo said as she served Martian coffee and grug bug bread to her friend. "There were so many Earthlings stranded after World War III destroyed everything. It is the least we could do."

"Have the twins tried to eat him yet?"

"Hannah did."

"That's terrible!" Janice said.

"Timmy wasn't happy about it but we gave him a space horse as a gift to help him be more forgiving. They’ve left him alone since."

"You're so brave. I don't think I could do it."

“They’re quite clean and friendly, at least the ones we’ve had.”

They looked out the kitchen window to see what the kids were doing in the backyard. Jenna had Timmy’s hand in her mouth and Hannah had half his foot chewed off.

Margo ran out the door yelling, “Put him down!”

By the time she got to them, Timmy was in shock from the loss of blood and she couldn’t tear her daughters away. She gave up and let them finish.

“That’s the third one this month,” Margo said after she returned to the kitchen.

“My goodness!” Janice said.

“You know how preteen Martian girls are. They can be a blood thirsty lot,” said Margo. “I’ll have to go back down to the agency next week and see if we can get another.”

The oven timer dinged and Margo pulled a baked zumbia out of the oven. She sliced the snakehead open to see if it was done. “Perfect,” she said and put it on the table. Margo and Janice quietly ate their lunch.

When the girls were done, they came inside. Their clothes were blood-soaked and the blood covered their hands and face. “We’re sorry for eating Timmy,” they said in unison. “We only meant to nibble.”

“You’re forgiven,” Margo said. “Now, go upstairs and take a shower then get ready to go to the mall.”

© June 14, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Father’s Gift

“Don’t do this,” he pleaded as she covered his body with webbing.

“The children need to be fed.”

“They need a father!”

“What greater gift can you give than to be their nourishment?” she asked as she bit his lip and filled his body with venom. His insides liquefied as she finished and hung him from the ceiling.

When the contractions started she laid down and soon delivered a large sac filled with spider eggs. She moved it next to the cocoon.

When she returned a week later their children covered his body, hungrily eating from him. “Thank you father!”

© 2006

Thursday, June 9, 2011


“Time to make the doughnuts,” said the man on the commercial. As a diabetic with a gluten allergy, doughnuts were something Bob couldn’t eat. Commercials like that had always frustrated him, especially when there was a new one every day.

Bob decided to take matters into his own hands. He drove across town to the studio and waited for the doughnut man to leave after filming another frustration-filled commercial.

“Time to bury the doughnut man,” Bob said and shot him.

© June 9, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You Are What You Eat

Four-year-old Sara Hinkle woke in the middle of the night with intense stomach pains. When her parents got to her room, she was bent in half and holding her stomach. She was inconsolable as her parents rushed her to the emergency room.

The doctor examined Sara carefully. He watched her stomach swell and the movement under the skin. The only time he'd seen anything like it before was when he tripped over a dead animal with maggots under its skin.

"What is it?" Sara's mom asked.

"I'm not sure," he answered then ordered an emergency ultrasound. The technician arrived with the portable ultrasound machine a few minutes later. The technician ran the probe over Sara's stomach. He stared at the monitor with a stunned look.

"I'll be right back," he said then disappeared from the room.

When he returned, the doctor was with him. They both watched the monitor as the technician moved the probe over Sara's stomach again.

"Has Sara eaten anything unusual recently?" the doctor asked.

"No, not that I’m aware of,” her mother answered. “Why?”

“Look at the monitor,” the doctor replied.

Sara’s parents looked at the monitor. There were dozens of small things swimming around her stomach.

“What is that?” her father demanded as Sara’s mother leaned in closer.

“Sara, honey, did you eat the stuff in the sea monkey kit?” she asked. Sara started to shake her head no then nodded her head.

“Oh Sara!” her mother gasped. There was no doubt that the creature on the screen looked like sea monkeys.

“Let’s step outside,” the doctor said. When they were in the hallway, he said, “I don’t know how to handle this. They should not have survived in her stomach. The acid should have destroyed the eggs and they should have passed through her digestive system.”

“We need to destroy them,” Sara’s father said.

“Doctor! Come quick!” the nurse called from the room. They ran back into the room. Sara’s stomach was expanding and she started to puke from the pain. They could see some of the sea monkeys in the vomit.

“Mommy, it hurts!” Sara’s mother wrapped her arms around her daughter and held her close.

The doctor turned to Sara’s father. “It is a long shot but if we hit them with a massive dose of radiation we can destroy them in one hit.”

“What is the downside?”

“She may never be able to have children, she might lose her hair and may have the usual side effects to getting radiation,” the doctor answered.

Sara’s father watched her daughter puke again and her cries from the pain cut through him. “Do it,” he said.

The doctor nodded his head then disappeared to set up the radiation treatment. The radiation therapy nurse appeared in the doorway a few minutes later and wheeled Sara to the nuclear medicine center.

“Please wait here,” the nurse said. Sara’s mother and father kissed Sara then watched helplessly as she disappeared into the radiation room. As they waited, they paced back and forth. Five minutes turned to 10 minutes, which turned to 20 minutes.

Suddenly there was a woman’s scream and they could hear the equipment being smashed inside the room Sara was in. An alarm sounded just as the nurse appeared in the doorway. She was bleeding profusely from a wound to her head and she was holding her ribs. “Run! It’s a monster!”

Behind the nurse they could see a huge sea monkey thrashing around as it tried to get out of Sara’s body, tearing the child in half. The sea monkey let out a frustrated high-pitch screech as it shook its body.

Sara’s parents and the nurse ran out of the waiting room and down the hall towards where military personnel were standing with their weapons drawn. When they were safely behind them, they formed a firing line.

“Don’t shoot my baby!” Sara’s mother cried out as they cocked their weapons.

The sea monkey dragged Sara’s body behind it as it slithered into the hallway. It saw the guns and let out another high-pitched screech as it shook its head back and forth and waved its many arms. The creature made its way towards them.

“On my mark,” the captain said. They watched as it came closer then he called out, “Now!”

Dozens of bullets tore through the sea monkey and it staggered as its blood splattered all over the walls and floor. They pulled out heavier artillery and focused it all on the monstrous creature until it stopped moving.

The hospital wing was devastated from the attack. A ray of sun light shined through a hole in the ceiling and landed on Sara’s head. Her parents rushed to cradle her dead body as the military cleared away the sea monkey, loading it on a stretcher to take to the science lab back at the base.

As they were leaving, one of the privates said with a smirk, “I guess you are what you eat.”

The Hidden Costs of Kids

Four-year-old Sara woke in the middle of the night with intense stomach pains. When her parents got to her room, she was bent in half and holding her stomach. She was inconsolable as her parents rushed her to the emergency room.

The doctor examined Sara’s stomach carefully. He watched it swell and ripple under the skin. The only time he'd seen anything like it before was when he tripped over a dead animal with maggots under its skin when he was a kid.

"What is it?" Sara's mom asked.

"I'm not sure," he answered then ordered an ultrasound. The technician arrived with a portable ultrasound machine and ran the probe over Sara's stomach. He stared at the monitor with a stunned look.

“Doc, look at this,” he said.

"Has Sara eaten anything unusual recently?" the doctor asked as he watched the monitor.

"No, not that I'm aware of," her mother answered. "Why?"

"Look at the monitor," the doctor replied.

Sara's parents looked at the monitor. There were several small shrimp-like things swimming around her stomach.

"What is that?" her father asked as Sara's mother leaned in closer. Her face lit up as she realized what they were looking at.

"Sara did you eat the sea monkey kit?" she asked. Sara started to shake her head no then nodded her head.

"Oh Sara!" her mother gasped.

"Let's step outside," the doctor said. When they were in the hallway, he said, "I’m not sure what to do. They should not have survived in her stomach. The acid should have destroyed the eggs and they never should have hatched, much less be growing."

"We need to destroy them," Sara's father said.

"Doctor! Come quick!" the nurse called. They ran back into the room. Sara's stomach was expanding and she was puking from the pain.

"Mommy, it hurts!" Sara's mother held her daughter close.

"It is a long shot but maybe if we hit them with a massive dose of radiation we can destroy them in one hit," the doctor said.

"What’s the downside?"

"She might lose her hair and the usual side effects to getting radiation," the doctor answered.

Sara puked again and her cries cut through her father. "Do it," he said.

The doctor nodded his head then disappeared to set up the radiation treatment. The radiation therapy nurse arrived a short time later and wheeled Sara to the nuclear medicine center.

"Please wait here," the nurse said. Sara's mother and father kissed Sara. Her parents were weeping helplessly as Sara disappeared into the radiation room. As they waited, they paced back and forth. Five minutes turned to 10 minutes, which turned to 20 minutes.

Suddenly they heard Sara screaming then the sound of equipment being smashed in the treatment room. Sara's father ran to the door and bumped into the nurse as she staggered out of the room. Her head was bleeding profusely and she was holding her ribs.

She slammed the alarm on the wall outside the room and the hospital was filled with flashing red lights and warning sirens. Sara's father tried to push past the nurse but she fought against him. "You can’t go in there!” she said. “It's a monster!"

He stopped when he saw the huge sea monkey. It was thrashing around the room trying to detach from Sara's body. It emitted a high-pitch scream of frustration.

The waiting room filled with security guards and hospital other personnel.

“What’s the emergency?” Fred, one of the guards, asked. Before anyone could answer, the mutant sea monkey screamed again then slithered towards the door, dragging Sara’s body with it.

“Holy crap!” Fred said. He pulled his gun and started to shoot the monster.

“Don’t shoot my baby!” Sara’s mom yelled as the guard emptied his gun. The bullets didn’t phase the monster and it continued towards them.

“Everyone out! Now!” Fred said. “Bob, get everyone cleared out of here. John, give me your gun then call for back up.”

John handed Fred his gun then ran down the hall to use the phone and dialed 911. While he talked to the dispatcher, Fred emptied the gun’s bullets into the creature. It still kept coming towards him, though its screams of frustration were now from anger as the pain ticked it off.

“Bring heavy duty guns,” John told the dispatcher. “Our bullets aren’t slowing it down at all.”

Fred and John joined the group that had formed at the end of the hallway. “Get everyone outside,” Fred ordered as the sea monkey slithered towards them. The monster had grown and barely fit in the hallway. Its head smashed through the ceiling tiles and its appendages scraped along the walls.

The 10-member police department SWAT team arrived with submachine guns and shotguns. They formed a barrier between the monster and the main part of the hospital then opened fire on it. The sound of the weapons firing was deafening as it bounced off the walls and smoke filled the corridor.

When the smoke cleared, blood was splattered everywhere and the sea monkey was dead, its seven-foot long body riddled with dozens of bullet holes. The National Guard was called in to remove the monster. They used chain saws to cut it into movable pieces, which were dispatched to a secret military laboratory for examination.

Sara’s body was taken to the hospital morgue for an autopsy. The final report was inconclusive on how the mutant sea monkey had been able to live and grow in her stomach. A week later, they buried their daughter. When they got home from the cemetery, a process server was waiting for them—the hospital was suing them for damages.

After two hours of deliberation, the jury found them guilty. The judge ordered all their assets be sold then their salaries garnished until the debt was paid. The judge dismissed the courtroom. On the way back to his chambers he commented to the bailiff, “No one warns you about the hidden costs of having a kid.”

© June 3, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Probing Tale

Dan ran into the bathroom and slammed the door, quickly locking it. With only one way into the room, he was sure he was safe from the aliens. Dan didn’t know why, but they always showed up when he slept in the nude. He sat on the toilet, his gun aimed at the door.

He felt a tickle on his butt cheeks then heard a small splash. Before Dan could react, the anal probe was inserted.

"Dammit! Not again!” he said. The last time they’d gotten him in bed as he slept in the nude.

Dan writhed in pain as nanobots shot out of the probe and escaped through the thin membrane into his bloodstream. They headed towards his brain. He gripped the sink and tried to move away but the probe dug into the tissue causing him more pain so he sat back down and didn’t try to move again.

The nanobots attached to his brain and started downloading his knowledge and memories. When they were done, he could feel them detaching and slipping back into the bloodstream. As they neared the probe they were sucked out. Dan could feel his innards being pulled downward with the suction.

He screamed in pain. “Please stop!”

They pulled the probe, full of the nanobots and his stool, out of his anus and it disappeared back down the pipes to the sewer.

Dan fell to the floor. He hurt more than he’d ever hurt before. Even passing a kidney stone two years ago had been less painful. Dan was sure death would be preferable and took his gun then shot himself in the head. The aliens outside the door broke in and teleported his body to the spaceship for dry-freeze storage.

Meanwhile, the aliens in the sewers flushed away the extraneous stuff and put the nanobots into a test tube labeled with Dan’s name. They teleported back to their spaceship then took the test tube to the laboratory where a robot named Dan II, which had been created with Dan’s DNA, waited. They loaded the nanobots into the robot and they formed a brain inside the head.

The aliens entered some codes into the computer and wirelessly transmitted the start-up sequence to the robot. Dan II’s eyes flickered open and he looked around. “Who are you and where is my house?” he said as he stood up then moved away from the aliens.

“We are not here to hurt you, we want to help earthlings,” the alien said.

“What do we need help with?”

“Overpopulation and not enough food for everyone,” the alien answered.


“We have provided you with the information and it will be activated after you awake tomorrow.”

“What if I won’t do it?” Dan II asked.

“You have no choice; you cost too much to make for this to fail. We are going to power you down now. When you awake you’ll have no memory of this.”

Dan II tried to protest but it was too late; the shut down sequence had been sent to his body. They moved his lifeless body to the transport chamber and closed it, then sent Dan II to Dan’s house.

The aliens undressed him and put him into bed before teleporting back to the spaceship. The start-up sequence was sent along with the codes for the plans to fix the Earth’s woes. Dan II slept through all of it.

Dan II woke up when his alarm clock went off. He sat up then looked around. Everything looked normal but he couldn’t shake a feeling that something had happened last night. He chalked it up to drinking too much then went downstairs. Dan II started making coffee when the plans to fix the overpopulation and food shortage loaded into his head.

“That’s brilliant,” he said aloud.

He called work and quit then went to the bank to get a loan. When he got there, he discovered that he had received a huge boost to his bank account that morning that would more than cover the costs for the project.

Dan II built several storage silos on some land he bought out in the country. Next, he built a factory with a machine that could turn any living creature into highly nutritious compost that when used by farmers to grow more and better crops.

The aliens, who had been monitoring the progress, teleported a dozen poor and homeless people to Dan II’s factory to test it out. He ran them through it then tested the compost. It was better than anything on the market.

The next day he sent samples out to farmers in the area. They were impressed by the nearly instant difference and ordered tons of the compost. Every night after that the aliens teleported hundreds of poor and homeless people to the factory then Dan II shipped the compost out.

The news was filled with reports of missing people and the sudden boom in farmer’s crops, which eased both the overpopulation and the food shortage. The subsequent effect was a higher quality of life for all Earthlings. No one made a connection to Dan II and the aliens were pleased with their plan.

All was going well until Dan II bumped his head and the nanobots were temporarily dislodged. When they started working again, his knowledge of right and wrong had been restored and he could no longer kill humans and turn them into compost. In fact, he was going to turn himself into the police the next day for the murders he had committed.

The aliens couldn’t have the truth about Dan II’s technology discovered. That night the aliens teleported Dan’s dead body back to the house then teleported Dan II back to the spaceship and powered him down. When the aliens returned home, they reported their findings: “The human conscience is more powerful than our programming. We must remove it and free will before we can move forward with the plans to purify the Earthlings’ DNA for our consumption.”

© June 1, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Surprise Endings

Omar installed the bomb in the trunk of his car. He set the detonator in the glove box then headed to the town center.

“If you die, love continues. Protect your family,” said the radio spokesman.

Omar saw an insurance agency and stopped to talk to an agent. Omar left knowing, regardless of the cost, his large family would be taken care of.

He stopped at a traffic light and was rear-ended. His life passed before his eyes as he braced for the explosion then died from a heart attack.

© May 31, 2011

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Carrie laughed as she ran ahead of the group. She’d been warned to stay with tour but she hadn’t been listening. She never listened.

Just as she was out of sight a giant stepped out onto the path. Carrie ran into his big toe.

The giant squatted to get a better look then picked her up. “You’ll make a yummy snack.”

She screamed as the giant put her in his shirt pocket. No one heard her as the giant continued on his way. Carrie was never seen again.

Moral: Listen to your tour guide.

© July 12, 2006

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Twitter fiction

I focused the lens on my target. She was beautiful but oblivious as I waited for an embarrassing moment. Ahh, the life of the paparazzi.

I blew out the candles and made a wish. I smiled as a zombie hoard attacked my family. The inheritance I got was the perfect birthday gift.

I sat on the privy, the gun aimed at the door. I'd be safe here. I felt a tickle then the probe. "Argh!" There's no escaping damned aliens.

"We're free!" cried the guppies. They swam into the deep water, oblivious to the turtle until he lunged at them from under the rock. "Nom!"

Dan circled X-70. He realized how the planet was named: it was like stepping into a disco filled with green-skinned aliens during the 1970s.

He stalks me in my dreams. Trying to bribe me with all the things I want so I'll stay. But I can't; I'm not ready. Death will have to wait.

Torrential rain falls, flooding the window sill. As I close it, I see the open car window. I run out, keys in hand. Soaked, I utter, "FML."

The groom ran off with the pastor. Stranded and devastated, she destroyed the flowers and the wedding cake then hung herself with her veil.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Missing Scones

Sue started brewing a pot of coffee then opened the cookie jar to get a chocolate scone she’d made the night before. Instead, she found $150. “What the heck? Bob, did you eat the scones?” Sue asked. He shook his head. “Do you know where this money came from?”

“The scone fairy?”

“Very funny,” she replied.

That night she made a double batch of chocolate scones. The next morning, they were all gone and $300 was in their place. They didn’t know what to think.

“Make more tonight,” Bob said when he called her at work later. “I’ll set up a hidden video camera and we’ll solve this mystery.”

When they got up, the triple batch was gone and there was $600 in the jar. They watched the video—the chocolate scones disappeared then were replaced with money but there was no one visible on the tape.

They left four batches of chocolate scones on the counter that night. In the morning, they found $900 and a note.

“Thanks for making those amazing chocolate scones. As a rare delicacy on Zarflart, we could have both been rich. Too bad you were greedy and saturated the market. Sincerely, Hyzar”

© May 24, 2011