Fantasy Drabble #380 ”Barry Constantine”

I killed a demon in the parking lot of a Waffle House three days ago. That’s not really the beginning of the story, but it’ll do for now. Since then they’ve been trying to find and kill me. One of us for every one of them, that kind of thing. But they’re not that bright, so the number of us I owe keeps going up.

Sorry. But staying alive is kind of a priority for me. So if I’m asleep and someone knocks on the door, asks to come inside, but can’t say the Lord’s Prayer… don’t let them in.

Fantasy Drabble #379 “Raised”

The bones slide and spin and skitter across the stone floor to construct a pile; they pull themselves up, end over end, one upon another, balancing and wavering and finally knitting together into the terrible shape of a man.

“You were Robasch.”

The skull’s expression is unchanged, and unchangeable. It nods, once, slowly, with a sickening scrape.

“You swore an oath.”

Again a nod, deeper, almost a bow.

“Below us, deep within this cursed warren, lies my ring. Remember? You will retrieve it.”

The skeleton turned, but hesitated.

“Take heart. They have already killed you; they can’t do it again.”

Fantasy Drabble #378 “Rekkit and the Highwayman”

“Give me your scrip.” The man has a blade, the handle carved from volcanic stone. “Now.”

Rekkit, dressed as a beggar on the dusty road, smiles. He knows the man, his name, his story. “You have more than me. Why take what little I have?”

“Not your concern.”

Rekkit shrugs, gives the robber the meager fruit of his pockets, and then watches while he continues on, down the road.

The folk haven’t discovered radiation yet, so the robber will not know why he sickens. Vyl will be angry, as all folk are her children, but some lessons must be taught.

What Was Before Now

There is the beach, and there is the ocean, and there is the sky. Shards of broken boat litter the beach and the ocean, but there are none in the sky, none that she can see. Presumably it was her boat, the boat that deposited her here, but she doesn’t remember anything about it.

The future, that she can see. She sees the float plane that is to come, the yet-unfired signal flare, she sees the pilot and the wave of his gloved hand. She knows what she will say and how much of it he will believe. There is a gun under the seat, but she won’t discover that until later, sometime tomorrow, long after she realizes she can fly the plane without him.

It will be a three hundred and seven mile trip — most of it alone — to the weather station, where the radio is, where civilization can be reached. The radio operator will have been the pilot’s wife, and she will feel a momentary pang of guilt and regret in the face of the woman’s panic.

This will all be prelude.

The next part, the important part, she won’t be allowed to see until it’s much closer.

The Next New Amsterdam Vampires

It’s me, and Rocky, sometimes, and Willa. Still no Coral, still no Wen. Rocky would leave if Coral came back, probably, not that he’s said that explicitly. Willa’s young, or was young. Rocky made her. She approached him, wooed him, pitched herself as a candidate. She practically opened her own veins and pulled him by the hair to drink.

She’s fine. I don’t mind Willa. Terrible taste in music, but who gives a shit. She drags us to clubs and goes after blondes, always blondes: Rocky is her sugar daddy and they’re looking for a three-way. It’s a strong play, and usually pays off for them. I do what I’ve always done.

We have a house, this time, bought with pooled money as a fixer-upper. It’s comfortable now, though by design still non-descript. Rocky’s converted the basement into a bachelor pad and Willa’s room is a pink-and-white daydream festooned with LED string lights. Late mornings, I check on both of them, the way Coral used to.

Rocky is still asleep, and alone. Willa is up, earbuds in, dancing around in her skivvies, folding laundry. There’s a girl in her bed. “She going to be a problem?” I am channeling Coral, who was probably channeling her own maker, whoever that had been.

Willa pulls one earbud, squints, asks, “Huh?”

“The girl. Problem?”

“Nope. No problem. She’s for me.”

“Sure, but…” I pull the door shut behind me, take a step in. Willa nonchalantly stays between me and the bed. “Are you… is she alive?

Willa grins. I know this grin from other situations. It’s puckish. “She’s Schrodinger’s co-ed.”

“She’s a college student?”

“Not anymore.”

“Willa—”

“I told you. She’s mine.” She takes out the other earbud, crosses her arms. “I’m sick of just having two old dudes to talk to. I like her. She’s staying.”

Meaning Willa has made her. Meaning she’s turning, even now, lying in the bed. “I wish you’d consulted—”

“Did Rocky ask you for permission before turning me?”

“No, and that was a problem, just like this is.”

“I am not a problem.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“O.K., dad.” Behind her, a momentary stirring: a weak groan, a form contracting into a fetal position, a heavy sigh.

“Does she have a name?” Do you know her name? How much consideration did you give this?

“Emma.”

“You realize she’s your responsibility.”

An eyeroll. “Yeah.”

“You have to teach her. You have to… you barely know what you’re doing yourself.”

“Rocky will help.”

Speaking of Rocky; he’s behind me. “Hey, somebody’s at the front door.”

Willa glances out the window, sees a beat-up Toyota at the curb. “Oh, that’s her boyfriend.”

“Her b—”

Willa grabs a pair of pants. “I’ll get rid of him.”

Emma sits up with a start. “What… ” We all turn to look at her. “What’s going on? Will?”

Willa starts to answer, but realizes my hand is around her throat.

“Listen up, everybody.” I never understood Coral. Not really. “Here’s some new rules.”

Zombie Drabble #438 “Crow’s Nest”

“See anything?”

“Lights,” Mabel said, calling down in a stage whisper, “to the Northwest, maybe two miles. Looks like a school.” She had the binoculars, and was small and limber enough to climb up cell repeaters and water towers and utility poles to get a view of the way ahead. At dusk, she looked for lights.

“Come down.”

When she was back on the ground, she said, “Doesn’t look like a solar roof. Maybe they’ve got a generator? Lots of cars in the parking lot to syphon gas. Couldn’t see how many people…”

“We’ll go around. Too dangerous.”

She nodded.

SF Drabble #475 “Bullet Time”

“Twelve minutes.” He’d been obsessively checking his watch all day. Somewhere, over the horizon, and then some distance further out into space, was a rock the size of Key West, tumbling towards Earth.

“Okay, but twelve minutes until it hits the atmosphere, or twelve minutes until it hits? The guy on t.v. didn’t really give a straight—”

“Atmosphere. But I don’t think it’ll be long after that.” He looked at his watch again. Then, suddenly, compulsively, he stripped it from his wrist and threw it as hard as he could, off into the grass.

“Feel better?”

He sighed. “Not really.”