Fantasy Drabble #69 “Reading is Fundamental”

Someone will read this, I’m sure. Who, I don’t know. The book will end up on some shelf somewhere, in some Government warehouse somewhere. Someday they’ll take inventory or something, and someone will think the cover is cool, some sort of expensive leather, and open it.

It’s not leather, asshole, it’s human skin. And I’ve taken a Sharpie to this, the title page, to make sure you understand something.

If you read any part of this book aloud, people will die. If you do what the voices in your head are probably already telling you, people will die. Including you.

Fantasy Drabble #68 “Toil and Trouble”

Most of my men are fanned out in the woods to the North and West, lanterns burning, making noise, driving her towards me. The ones with me, the ones with the nets, are absolutely silent. Head to toe in black, faces painted.

The old man warned us with his last breath: the witch has power, or would if she had her books, potions, powders. Now that she’s hurt and frightened, now that she’s desperate, she’s all the more dangerous. Our talismans should protect us from her, if we’ve done our research.

Nothing on this Earth will protect her from us.

SF Drabble #105 “Temporal Police”

I’m fairly certain he’s found me. When I got home Thursday night, the place had clearly been searched. He took care to put everything back where it was, but I’ve been at this long enough to know when my apartment’s been tossed. He won’t have found anything: I keep the machine in a storage space, and the location and combination aren’t written down anywhere.

It took him longer this time. I was only in Chicago 2130 for a week before he found me. Nero’s Rome only hid me for three days. I don’t know where or when I’ll go now.

SF Drabble #104 “Farming on Procyon IV”

I’m thinking of taking out a loan from First Colonial and buying one of those automated harvesting machines. Lord knows it’s hard getting an honest day’s work out of the Procs. They have some sort of damn fool religion where they drop whatever they’re doing every three hours, face B, and pray. Then, there’s this virus that they all seem to get at the same time. Doc tells me it’s just the common cold, or at least it was when we brought it here. Seems to be getting worse every season.

Yup, gonna be getting an automated harvester, I think.


It was late enough that the smaller children and their escorting parents had returned home. Only the slightly rowdy teenagers remained, and they were few and far between.

Fwip peered down into his plastic jack o' lantern bucket at the miniature candy bars and other assorted treats. “I seem to be doing well.”

“Relative to what standard?” asked Hrump.

“I'm not sure,” Fwip said as they continued down the sidewalk. “It simply appears that I have a respectable return for very little effort.”

“Indeed,” answered Hrump. “We have only completed half of one leg of our grid, and already my receptacle is nearly three twelfths full. In fact it is becoming quite heavy.”

“As is mine. The native life forms seem to exhibit extraordinary strength even when physically immature. Shall we?” Fwip gestured up the last driveway on the street.

Hrump rotated his sensory cluster towards the building and examined it. “The exterior light is not functioning. However, there is interior illumination, and I am detecting a life form within. I believe we should proceed.”

“Excellent. After you.”

They proceeded up the driveway, past the looming but quiescent vehicle. Once on the porch, Fwip reached up with a tentacle and very gently pressed the doorbell button. They stood silently for a few moments, but the door remained shut.

“In my opinion,” Hrump said, “you should depress it again. The resulting signal is auditory only, it is possible the resident did not hear it.”

Fwip nodded. “Quite right. Persistence may very well be key.” Again his tentacle strained upwards and pressed the button. Again, he could hear the bell sounding inside. They waited patiently, but again there was no answer from within.

“I fail to see how the native within could possibly fail to hear the signal. It is quite loud, and falls within the frequency spectrum detectable by their hearing.” Fwip was becoming annoyed by the unpredictability of the situation.

“As of course it would,” chided Hrump, “given that they themselves designed it.”

“Yes, I apologize; you are correct, I am being tiresome. Nevertheless, perhaps we should reassess our course of action?”

Hrump considered for a moment. “I have a suggestion if I may be so bold.”

Fwip turned to face his companion. “Of course; I value your counsel.”

“I have also observed natives petitioning for attention from within by battering lightly against the door with their appendages.”

“How lightly?”

“Lightly enough so as not to cause damage to the door itself, but strongly enough to produce a sufficiently audible sound inside the domicile.”

“Ah. It would seem to be worth a try. Since you seem to be more familiar with the practice I suggest you should make the attempt.”

“I would be happy to.”

Hrump wound three tentacles together so as to form a more massive implement, and banged it with as much force as he could muster. They immediately heard muffled speech and movement from within.

“Your plan of action appears to be proceeding.”


The door swung open, revealing a woman in a bathrobe. “Yes?”

Together, Fwip and Hrump said loudly, “Trick or Treat.”

The woman sighed. “Listen, you two are very cute in your costumes, but I'm sorry, I don't have any candy.”

Fwip looked quizzically at Hrump. “She has no candy.”

“I heard and understood her statement.” Hwip said with some annoyance.

“Forgive me, again: I was momentarily caught unprepared for this contingency.”

The woman pointed up at the darkened porch light. “That's why the light was off. We don't do Halloween.”

“It appears then,” Fwip observed, remembering his briefing materials, “that as per custom we should perform a trick.”

Hrump asked, “We perform the trick? Should not the resident perform the trick? As penance for her surprising lack of candy?”

“No. The honor of the trick is ours.”

“Listen...” the woman tried to interrupt, to no avail.

Hrump gestured to Fwip and observed, “You are the cultural expert...”

“Indeed I am,” Fwip interjected.

“...and thus I defer to you in this matter.”

“Where are your parents?” The woman was squinting to peer past them into the darkened yard and street.

“Thank you,” said Fwip to Hrump. “I believe this will satisfy our obligation.” Fwip turned to face the woman, opened his mouth, and ejected an aerosolized stream of acidic venom through the door and onto the woman's face.

The two watched the woman clutch at her face and scream, then fall to the floor where she began twitching and gasping.

“Strange.” Fwip observed.

“Yes. The native appears to have no natural resistance to a simple spitting defense.”

“I find that difficult to believe,” Fwip admitted.

“Nevertheless,” Hrump stated, “observe the deterioration of her epidermal layer, and the resulting loss of circulatory fluids. The optical organs are being dissolved even now.”

“I reluctantly agree with your assessment.”

“It would seem that we have made a rather serious error.”

“I agree,” Fwip offered sullenly.

“How should we proceed?”

Fwip considered. The woman had stopped twitching and was exhibiting only shallow labored breathing. “I am unsure. Perhaps the local authorities should be notified?”

“We may very well have to face consequences under law.”

“At least I may.”

Hrump quickly objected, “I, too: I agreed to our course of action.”

“Not in detail: your complicity was general. You agreed only to 'a trick', which I then chose, it seems quite poorly indeed.”

“How could you have known the results beforehand? I believe the fault lies in incomplete information having been provided to us.”

“Quite so,” Fwip admitted.

“I will have strong words for the embassy staff, I can tell you.” Hrump said.

“As will I. Perhaps the onus of contacting the authorities should fall on them.”

“That would seem appropriate.”

“Accordingly, I propose we return to the embassy and make a report.”

Fwip once more surveyed the scene before them. “Shall we close the door?”

Hrump considered the question before answering, “I fear it is far too heavy.”

Fwip gestured back down the driveway. “After you.”

“Too kind.”

Zombie Drabble #114

To stop to fight is to become surrounded and overwhelmed. The best weapons are the ones that knock the zombie down, or otherwise out of your way. Ignore the ones behind you, they can’t catch you unless you stop. Never stop.

Fire is good. A burning zombie is confused, blinded, in pain. At least they act like it hurts. Use fire to create barriers they won’t cross. Deep water is another effective barrier but harder to come by. There are zombies on both sides of your average river.

Ultimately you want an island, or a fortress. Good luck to you.

Zombie Drabble #113

“John,” she whispered insistently.


“There’s something moving in there.”

He stopped, raised the shotgun, and his eyes scanned the road ahead. It seemed deserted except for abandoned cars, some burned out. “Where?”

“The bus!”

She was right. The overturned orange bus seemed abandoned until he looked carefully. When he did: small corrupted faces, tiny blackened hands scratching at unbroken windows.

He stayed still for a time, then opined: ”I don’t think they can get out. It’s safe. Let’s go”

'”But…” she hesitated, “we can’t just leave them like that…”

He shook his head. “Can’t spare the ammunition.”

“Poor things…”