Five Sentence Fiction: "B&E"

She knew he was coming before he did: before he'd bought the gloves, before he'd scoped the place, before he'd even moved up from disturbing the peace to petty shoplifting. He'd always been coming here, ultimately, like it was a scripted thing in a movie she'd seen in her youth.

She waited until he was inside — until he'd eased the door shut behind him, until he'd stopped to wait silently for his eyes to adjust — and then placed her hand gently against his chest. "You have something I need."

He stood frozen as his soul began draining out of him.

Interpretation

"I don't like this one."

"What?" It was three girls in identical bathing caps, wrapped in identical towels, going into a nondescript changing enclosure. "Why?"

"They're not happy."

"What makes you think they're not happy?"

"Well, look at them." Exasperation crept into her voice. "Look at the expression on the youngest one's face. She's not happy. And there's no door on the changing room. People will see."

"I don't think—"

"And where's the ocean? They're supposed to be at the beach but you can't see it. What if there's no beach, and no ocean? What if that's why they're mad?"

Five Sentence Fiction – "Some Men…"

There will be a fire: a vast, world-consuming fire, brought on by the judgment of the gods. It's coming whether you want it to or not, no matter what you do or do not do, regardless of your good intent or lack of same.

You can build all the shelters you want. You can burrow underground to your heart's content. What you don't understand, what you've never understood, is that when the world burns, the forests will grow back — slowly, cautiously, first shoots poking up out of the ashes like a soldier in a shell-hole — but the cities never will.

Restraint

You don't understand; you don't know how it feels.

I remember the first magic I worked. It was small, it was nothing. A compressed-time spell on a minute scale: forcing a dandelion to go to seed after it's been picked still-yellow and held pinched between forefinger and thumb. I remember the other students watching the seeds blow away in the wind, but the teacher, she was watching my face.

They say warlocks go mad because of the power, but I think it's the high. I think they're addicts, hooked on a more potent strain than the rest of us can procure, and they burn themselves from the inside-out chasing that euphoria.

That's why all my magic is small, subtle, gentle; every high is like that first hit. They can call me a hedge magician all they want, I'll still be here when they're a smoking ruin in a tattered robe.

Boots, With The Fur

"So what are yours doing?"

From around the corner, with disinterest: "What does it matter?"

"Mine are watching television. Something with people arguing. I think it's a reality show, but one of those ones that's mostly fake, you know? Where the producers set them up in situations and basically tell them what to say?"

"Listen, I'm trying to sit in the sun here. And it's already four, so there's only so much sun left. Sooo…"

"They feed you yet? Mine haven't. I smell food though. That yours? I can't see from here."

With a sigh: "I'm going to sleep now."

The Vacationers

"He's looking in the wrong end."

"He takes after his father," she replied. Louder: "Will, be careful with that, honey."

They rested on the church steps overlooking the piazza; their son was three long, purposeful strides away. "He's fine."

"It's an eight-hundred-dollar camera. Plus the lens—"

"I can take it from him if you want."

"No, just… I dunno, keep an eye on him."

"I was already doing that, babe."

The camera was eventually set carefully down and forgotten as the child took to running full-tilt at groups of pigeons. "Where to next?"

"Home?" She rested her head on his shoulder.

"The hotel already? It's only—"

"Home home."

He glanced at the list in his hand; it was a column of mostly crossed-off landmarks. "It is all starting to blend together," he allowed. "Should we tell him to stop chasing the pigeons?"

"It's not like he's going to catch one."

Zombie Drabble #432 "Afloat"

Get to the boat, you said.

Get to the boat and everything will be fine, we'll be well-supplied to wait it out offshore: there's a de-salinator and fishing rods for when the canned food and bottled water runs out; there's a flare gun and a marine radio; there's the non-stop entertainment of zombies wading out thigh-deep against the tide and getting first confused and then knocked over. We thought: you're right, that's a good plan, that's a better plan than hiding in basements and getting surrounded and possibly eaten.

That was a hundred days ago. A hundred long, sea-sick days.

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