SF Drabble #74 “Duel”

The war was all but over when they found each other.

Neither had anything resembling ammunition left, that had been spent months ago. There were no reinforcements to call, no air support. They were both sick with radiation poisoning, borrowing time with stimulants.

It was knives at first. Slashing that began with fury ended in exhaustion. If by then there was someone with interest in the outcome neither cared.

They were close enough to talk when they collapsed in the dust bleeding and nauseous, but neither spoke the other’s language. Even if they had, what now was there to say?

SF Drabble #73 “Rearview Mirror”

At present he was the fastest human who ever lived. There was no engine rumble: the ship wasn’t under thrust. It had plenty of velocity from slingshotting past Jupiter and, later, Neptune.

Now, he was passing Sedna, relatively close for out here at any rate, and the computer was working the cameras hard. He’d have plenty to send back.

When that was done, a flip of the switch would turn on the new drive. Either the universe would collapse or he would find himself suddenly elsewhere. The longest leg of a trip of years, taking only seconds. If it worked.

Fantasy Drabble #44 “Demon, Take One”

His force of will called itself back into existence, much as the first gods must have done. His bones knit themselves together from dusty shards, and his flesh boiled into place. Eventually, when he had a tongue, he spoke: “Who calls me?”

Before him stood a man, dressed strangely, holding a book.

“Umm…” the creature said, clearly confused, frightened.

“You dare summon me and now you try my patience as well?” He looked around. There were other men, some holding strange objects. There were impossibly bright lamps.

“Cut!” One of the men yelled. “Get the prop guy in here now.”

Fantasy Drabble #43 “Solo Encounter”

“Forget it,” the dwarf said.

“But… all that gold!”

The dwarf pointed his axe towards the ruins. “Do you see all those bones? They were after the gold too. There’s not enough gold in the world to make me go up against that thing. It’s about risk versus reward.” As if to reinforce his point, a distant growl came from deep within the fallen castle.

“Well, we’re going with or without you,” the hero said smugly.

“Good for you. I’ll remember you on your birthdays. .”

“Coward,” spat the warlock.

“Call me that all you want, Elf, if you survive.”

Zombie Drabble #93 “At The Rim”

There’s a great bubbling scar where the city was. Around the edges, I found blackened zombies, burned to bone and tendon. What few survivors I came across looked little better; they mostly wanted put out of their misery. There were buildings still standing, but they were empty shells, no useful loot.

I suppose I’m getting one hell of a dose of radiation. I haven’t been bitten yet, but it’s probably just a matter of time. I’m not even afraid anymore. What does it matter? I sleep in trees and eat from rusty cans. Welcome to the end of the world.

Zombie Drabble #92 “Last Request”

I don’t want to become a zombie. I know it’s just a scratch, but it could be enough to bring on the change. If it looks like I’m turning, you have to kill me. If your father were alive I could count on him, but he’s gone. That means it’s up to you.

I know it’s hard, honey. It goes against everything you’ve been taught, everything you feel. Against your nature. But it has to be done. Otherwise, you know what happens. You know what I’ll do, you’ve seen it. Your poor little brother…

You have to promise me, sweetheart.

SF Drabble #72 “Class Struggle”

Summer on New Delaware is hot, windy. The soil is far from rich, and there is little water to spare. Working the crops is hard, even with the machinery. We in the First Wave understand that.

But it has to be done. One bad harvest could spell disaster. If the second and third wave workers were allowed the freedoms they demand, the colony could fail. We could all starve.

The responsibilities of leadership weigh heavily on our shoulders. Decisions once made have to be adhered to. We will brook no disobedience. Our patience is thin, and our weaponry is orbital.

Fantasy Drabble #42 “Ace In The Hole”

They’re attacking again. They won’t get through this time, not enough of them. Next time, perhaps: their sappers are working to undermine the walls. Our archers can’t hold them off, and we’re running out of oil to pour on their miserable heads. They’ll break through eventually.

But we yet one more line of defense: Midz-Aset waits in the courtyard. I hear the barbarians believe dragons to be myth. Ours has been obligingly quiet. They’re in for quite a surprise.

We’ve told him he can eat as many of them as he likes, and we’ll split their gold down the middle.

Fantasy Drabble #41 “Mother’s Day”

Not burritos again.

“I have a craving. Deal with it.”

Sacred Mother, it gives us gas. It’s uncomfortable.

“It gives me gas, and I’ll eat what I want.”

You forget that I am the Chosen One, the Bringer of Balance, the…

“You don’t get to be in charge till you’re out. Oh, kick my bladder all you want, kid, worst that happens is a puddle.”

Fine. Eat what you want…

“Thank you, I will.”

…but I caution you: the day will come when you will eat only what I allow.

“Not if I drink a bottle of Drano, it won’t.”

SF Drabble #71 “Genus”

They built him cell by cell: tissue, bone, and brain. It cost millions, but given the practical applications of the technology it would eventually pay for itself.

It was complicated when a grad assistant called Child Protective Services. An Inspector was sent, but quickly realized she was out of her depth.

At the hearing, the University’s position was that technically the infant was an animal, and was owned by the Science Department. The state countered that Homo Neanderthalensis includes Homo, meaning human, so Junior had rights.

The judge, from his pained expression, spent most of the hearing thinking why me?

SF Drabble #70 “Population Pressure”

The detector beeped, but only intermittently. In well ventilated places like this one it was always more difficult to localize the airborne chemical traces. After a while, the technician said: “We’ve got a positive, but the reading is weak.”

The Inspector nodded. “Everyone, start knocking on doors: maybe someone knows something.”

The deputies spread out through the building. In the Common districts, there was little loyalty. If someone was violating the Procreation Act, others would invariably give them up for reward money.

Eventually, the Inspector was called upstairs. They had her, and two family members. She didn’t even look pregnant.