SF Drabble #127 “Iron Oxide”

No one comes out here, not anymore. The domes are so big now, people don’t need to leave them. They live their whole lives in one self-contained settlement. Need to visit another dome? You go by rail; don’t even have to put on a suit.

Fine with me, I have the dust all to myself. The airlocks still work, the ones that weren’t closed off. I’d hate to have to evacuate a dome, though: I doubt one in ten even owns a suit. Used to be mandatory.

I go for walks. Sometimes you just need to get your feet dirty.

SF Drabble #126 “Race Politics”

The little boy was barely knee-high. He walked up and tugged on the tip of one of Chulguh’s tentacles. “Mister, are you an alien?”

Chulguh gazed down at the human child. “I suppose it depends on how you look at it.”

“What does that mean?”

“Well, to me, you’re the alien.”

The little boy giggled. “I’m not an alien. You’re an alien! You’re all funny looking and weird!” He ran off, possibly to join his parents.

Chulguh turned back to his companion. “Are you sure we can’t eat those?”

“Absolutely not. Well, not before the trade deal is signed, anyhow.”

Zombie Drabble #135 “Homecoming Queen”

Missy was always perfectly put together: lip gloss, hair, skirt just short enough. Smiled at everyone, even the geeks and the emo kids. She helped me with an Algebra II problem once.

When the head cheerleader blackballed her, she went out for poms and then suddenly the poms were the cool ones. Missy owned halftime, and halls A through D at least down to the auditorium.

These days she’s working on her machete skills. She’s gotten pretty good at one swing, one kill. And she’s looking even better, the last of the baby fat gone: lean and quick and deadly.

Zombie Drabble #134 “Practice Is Cancelled”

“Sure are a lot of ‘em.”

The kid wasn’t wrong. “Hold your fire until the man gives the sign.”

“Hey, Coach Denny, look, it’s Mr. Weston.” He pointed at one particular zombie stumbling amidst the others.

“Yeah, looks like.”

“Sucks, man, I always liked him.” Perry shook his head, adjusted his baseball cap.

“Yeah,” added another boy from down the line, “he gave me an extension on that paper, remember?”

The National Guard Lieutenant with one arm came by, whispered quick instructions to Coach, and moved down the line.

“Get ready, now, boys,” Coach said, “Just like I showed you.”

SF Drabble #125 “Rhetoric”

“I think they’re commies.”

“What? Don’t be ridiculous, Henderson.”

“Well you heard the... that big one, the one with the white streak in the fur. Everything belongs to the village. No private property!”

“Josh, they’re aliens. You can’t apply our political categories to—”

“Listen, I know a commie when I see one, and these things are commies. You can talk to them all you want, but my report is going to recommend breaking off contact.”

When he was gone, the First Officer remarked, “God, I wish they hadn’t started putting political officers on these missions.”

“Right there with you, Frank.”

SF Drabble #124 “Silicone Nanny”

It’s nearly indistinguishable from a living person. Ironically, the greatest aid in that regard was the state of the art in sex dolls. They’re fantastically realistic these days, apparently, and the cost for that kind of workmanship is a drop in the bucket when you consider the overall price of a functioning android.

But we’re very careful to make the distinction clear: our product looks older, more nurturing, motherly. We’ve done focus groups about it. We just staged an event where our latest model worked at a day care for an afternoon. Press loved it. Kids never knew the difference.

Fantasy Drabble #86 “Saga”

The thing was jet black and fast, hard to see until it was almost upon him, to say nothing of the claws and rows of bony spikes and the fact that his torch had been knocked out of his hand early on and doused on the damp cave floor. At least he still held his sword and shield.

Had he any sense at all he would withdraw forthwith, and return later with a half dozen able warriors to assist him. But there are no songs about cautious warriors. He would make his name here and now, alone, or die trying.

Fantasy Drabble #85 “Father Knows Best”

“I live in the wilderness for a reason, you know,” the wizard said, as Alear approached.

“Forgive me, my Lord—“

“I’m nobody’s Lord, barbarian. What do you want?”

“I wish to be powerful enough to best my father, the King.”

“King? Which King? Who is your father?”

“He is King Rudolph.”

“…and you wish to take his throne for yourself.”


The wizard began chanting quietly. When the spell was cast, Alear began to feel different. But not stronger…

“What have you done?”

“Alas, your father has been here before you. I could have made you stronger, but never smarter.”

Zombie Drabble #133 “Source Readings”

We find records, such as the following words etched carefully into a basement wall in a collapsed building, where, protected from the elements, it remained intact:

Richard Albert May, Colleen Bowles-May, Howard Karl, and an unknown infant took shelter here on Thursday*. Remained two weeks. Baby would not take a bottle and died due to malnutrition. HK left to try to find help but did not return. Out of food must move on.

*The assumption is that, since the writer does not specify, the Thursday in question must be the first Thursday after the day the dead began to rise.

Zombie Drabble #132 “Hypatia”

“But we’re cold.”

“There’s plenty of wood outside. Go chop some down.”

“There are zombies out there, if you hadn’t noticed.”

“You have guns and axes. There’s only a few zombies out there. Go get some wood. Or don’t. But you’re not burning the books. When we let you in here—”

“Listen, lady—"

“When we let you in here, we made it clear: the books are not to be damaged. You saw the city burn. They’re probably all like that. We have to preserve the knowledge this building represents—”

“We’re building a fire. Get in the way, you’ll burn too.”

Zombie Drabble #131 “Demolition”

He’d spent most of the morning laying wires and setting charges. No interruptions yet, but they’d be coming. Behind him, uphill in the old resort, were a couple hundred of the last living souls in Colorado. That many people, doesn’t matter how high up you are: the zombies will smell them.

It felt weird not to sound some sort of siren first, but he didn’t have one: he didn’t even have a bullhorn. Instead, he bellowed, “hey! hey! look out below!”

When the echoes had faded away, he pushed down the plunger and the access road fell into the ravine.

Zombie Drabble #130 “Safeway”

There were no lights in the store, of course, but there was scatter from the waxing moon and some deep yellow coming through from the solar-powered lights in the parking lot.

Roscoe stood on the information desk keeping watch while the others filled carts. They had the operation down to a science. Cans, bottles, stuff still likely to be good. Candles and kitchen matches. The pharmacy, always the pharmacy.

Before they left, he would check the magazine aisle. Sometimes, but not often, there would be a paperback worth reading. If only he could get the group to raid a bookstore.

SF Drabble #123 “No Money Fun”

I went to a house party the other day. There was an alien there, one of the shape-changers, I don’t know what they’re actually called. He was drinking orange juice right out of the carton and getting hammered on it. Maybe it’s the sugars.

By the time the carton was empty, he was running around, asking everyone who their favorite T.V. personality was. Then he’d change to look like that person and carry on a conversation in character. When I left, he was chatting up somebody’s mom as a young Clooney.

I’d like to see him after a powdered donut.

SF Drabble #122 “Safari”

They set us down on a rocky hilltop. No vehicles, just our rucksacks and weapons. They lifted off as soon as we were clear. Whole operation: about twelve seconds.

I didn’t really understand why the hurry, until we caught sight of the herd through the binoculars. Twenty feet at the shoulder, easy. All muscle. “Damn, they’re big.”

“Yes, but we are not hunting them, we are hunting thing that hunts them.”

“Something hunts that?”


“In packs?”

“No,” said the Duow. “Gorag hunt alone. Not worry, Gorag leave us alone. We too small to bother.”

I shuddered. “I hope so.”

Fantasy Drabble #84 “Vanity”

You don’t call a god, even a minor god, lightly. You don’t ask for something it doesn’t want to give. And, there’s always a price, and that price could be out of all reasonable proportion to the favor.

Riolanna wanted beauty. All of the village boys thought her quite so already, but she wanted the kind of looks that launch ships, whatever that means. So she bought a lamb, and cut it’s throat at the edge of the pond where we honor Iop.

No one heard the conversation or saw him turn her into marble. But, I’ll admit: she’s prettier.

Fantasy Drabble #83 “We Also Cast Spells”

He came to the door, nice suit, briefcase. He presented his card with a smile. I found it all amusingly old-fashioned; but for some people, that can be reassuring. Someone well put-together is more readily trusted, I suppose.

Trust is very important. There are very few practitioners still around, and of those remaining some gave up their ethics long ago to avoid being lashed to a stake and set alight.

My sorcerer still has his ethics, and his power. That demon will be out of Jinny before the night’s out. And would you believe Nana wanted to call a priest?