SF Drabble #287 “Second Life”

“Where’s the file?”

“She was ripped before the process was automated. I don’t think we’ve written anyone from that far back in years. Try sorting the folders by timestamp.”

“Gotcha.” The technician touched various spots on the table display, until finally, a light began blinking. “Found her.”

“Whenever you’re ready.” The simulacrum lay on the table, already fully dressed.

“Why so long on this one?”

“Her trust fund took a nosedive the day after she was ripped. Took this long to recover enough to pay the fee.”

He said, “Well, it’s a whole new world, baby,” and hit the button.

Fantasy Drabble #219 “Recovery”

Midz-Aset stood at the cave mouth, high on the mountain, and stared out across the valley. He was fully healed now, after hibernating for more than a year. The bones of his challenger lay bare and sun-bleached on the rocks below him.

He was hungry — starving, in fact —  but down in the valley there were livestock that would sate him. He would wait until nightfall, though: he was still weak, and didn’t want to draw attention.

But he was alive. He had fought to live and won. That one simple accomplishment bestowed a welcome clarity: he still wanted to live.

Zombie Drabble #313 “Distillery”

The pavement was covered with broken glass and charred zombie remains. Horace and Mr. Turnbaum walked carefully through the detritus, boots crunching, watching for twitching.

“Well, that worked,” Turnbaum said, sounding tired but pleased.

“We’ve gone through half the bottles already.”

“Look how many we killed!”

“Yeah.” Horace looked at the city skyline in the distance. “I can’t help thinking there’ll be more.”

“We’ve got plenty of pumps. Go tell Bobby to cut one out of its frame. And we’ll need enough hose to aim the stream.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’m not losing my business to a bunch of dead people.”

Fantasy Drabble #218 “Drought”

He made his way across the brown grass and cracking dirt to where the edge of the lake — now a mere pond — now lay. The water was brown, silty, but he had no choice: he lowered his bucket in to fill it.

The dryad rose up, a woman’s shape in water. She was smaller, less sharply defined than she had been in better times. “What news?”

He shook his head “Still no sign of rain. The wizards work at it, but…”

“Thus it ends.”

He offered, “We could move you to the ocean…”

“Salt water? I would die even quicker.”

SF Drabble #286 “Collaboration”

I wasn’t nervous: I always got good grades, had never been a discipline problem. When it was my turn I walked in with confidence and sat down with a smile.

“Rudolph Minnet?” The Griong pronounced my name easily; it must have been here a long time.

“That’s me.”

“Your curriculum vitae is outstanding. Humans with your qualifications can be very helpful to our administration of Earth.”

“Thank y—”

“They can also be dangerous.” It stared at me.

I felt a sudden panic. “I… I mean, I’ve always been—”

It laughed. “A little joke. Relax. We have a place for you.”

Fantasy Drabble #217 “Real Bad News”

The old black rotary phone rings, which is a little disconcerting because it’s not plugged into the wall. There’s no chord at all. Of course I don’t pick it up, and it eventually stops ringing.

A few minutes later, it rings again. I’m scared to touch it; eventually it stops ringing again. I pick it up and put it in an old hatbox and take it down to the basement.

Later, I’m trying to sleep, but I can hear the intermittent ringing — distant, muffled — coming from the hatbox in the basement.

I’m going to have to answer it, aren’t I?

Zombie Drabble #312 “Drop Box”

We’ve never met. I think he lives in one of the high-rises over one the West side near the river. We leave each other spray-painted messages on the concrete retaining wall along forty-third street. Yesterday, after avoiding a few dozen itinerant zombies wandering around, I found:

Got any books? Looking for long ones. I’ve left more DVDs.

In the milk crate, encased in saran wrap, were a couple of the Terminator movies and a box set of “CSI”. In return I left him Moby Dick and Billy Budd, and the collected stories of Hawthorne. Not sure if he’ll like them.