Fantasy Drabble #382 : “Divorcée”

“You’re Fred? Sam’s friend?”

“…Yes, ma’am.” It was later than normal for a delivery.

“You can put the bags there, on the counter.” She tapped her cigarette ash into the kitchen sink, absent-mindedly played with the belt from her robe. “Sam said you’re quite the track star.”

“All-State, two years running. I’ll be on the college team come September.” He put the groceries down gently. He turned back, leaned against the counter. This is where I normally ask for a tip. “Sam mentioned you as well.”

“Well.” She smiled slyly, fangs just showing. “That makes this simpler, then, doesn’t it?”

SF Drabble #483: “Bobby”

“So, you want us to adopt it? I mean, him?”

“Exactly. Raise him like you would any other boy.”

They looked at each other, brows furrowed, nervous, still holding hands. Through the two-way mirror, they watched him play with the toy firetruck, happy as can be. She said, “What if he gets sick? Do I—”

“Do you what you would do if any child gets sick. Thermometer, chicken soup, wet washcloth on the forehead, whatever. Nurse him back to health.”

“But will he? Get sick?”

“He’s programmed to, on occasion. Nothing too serious.” The scientist laughed. “Chicken Pox, at most.”

Speed Chess

It was a castle once, with a bustling town around its base, but now it was a ruin surrounded by dense forest. The sorcerer climbed over a waist-high remnant of a defensive wall and made his way into a building so long-abandoned that it seemed unlikely to have remained standing without some magical aid.

The statue sat at a table, across from an empty chair, with the chess board between, its fingers having seemingly just released the tip of one of the marble pieces.

“The Bishop, then? Interesting move. I would have thought the rook.”  He laid his cloak over the back of the chair and set his bottle and glass down beside the board. “No matter.”

If he sat long enough, he’d be able to see the stone hand moving away from the piece, so slowly as to be nearly imperceptible. It would move only so far: the statue needed to see its opponent’s play clearly, but to withdraw it any further would eat already-precious time.

“The Queen again; you’re in check. Mate in…” he checked the board again, hand still on the piece, just to be sure, before releasing. “…six moves.”

He wondered how long it would take.

SF Drabble #482: “Deb”

Beatrice stepped into the circle naked and stood, arms outstretched, feet slightly apart, while the automatics went to work. Hair, makeup, perfume, lacy underthings and gown, jewelry, all in turn, all managed by the house computer’s Waldoes.

“Are you ready yet?”

“Almost.”

“We’re to leave by four.” Mother had worked for nearly a year to arrange her introduction to Society. All the best people. The Governor’s son. Everything must be perfect.

She’d spent the morning out with the Dolhrum workers, having learned the language young, talking about conditions, talking about treatment, talking about revolution without using the word ‘revolution’. “Understood.”

SF Drabble #481: “Citius, Altius, Fortius”

“Name?”

“Anton Voroshenko.”

“Origin?”

“Novgorod.”

“And where is that?”

He gave the lady behind the desk an annoyed look. Idiot. “Greater Russia.”

“The category in which you are competing?”

“Long jump.”

There was a snickering in line behind him. He looked back, then up: two rail-thin, ten-feet tall men with snow-white hair loomed over him. Loonies? Martians? “Can I help you?”

“I just remembered a joke.”

“I’m sure.” He turned back to the registration desk.

The lady, now wearing a smirk, held out his welcome packet and an ID lanyard. As he took it, she said, “Good luck, ‘greater’ Russia.”