Fantasy Drabble #356 "Acheron"

The boat slid up to the dock; the boatman looked her up and down. "Haven't seen someone carrying a sword into the afterlife for a long time." He scratched his head, furrowed his brow. "Can't remember the last time. How'd you manage it?"

She smiled. "Couldn't say."

"Going to make trouble on the other side?"

"Is that a problem, Charon?"

The boatman shrugged. "Not for me. My responsibilities end at the shoreline."


"Well, come on then, if you're coming."

She spat out the coin, wiped it on her tunic, and handed it to him before climbing into the boat.

Five Sentence Fiction: "Somewhere, Somehow, Somebody Must Have Kicked You Around Some"

Sweating, feet aching, back of the neck burning for the lack of sunscreen, slapping at insects that have bitten and gone, pressing on. The compass app on the phone still points, but the map waits in vain for data from long-gone positioning satellites.

The city I fled — first in a car and then in a stranger's truck and then on foot — is a bubbling mess turning into something horrible and alien. There are other people heading into the hills and woods, masses of people, huge crowds of them, but I'm avoiding them for fear that in their numbers they make a target.

It probably won't make any difference.

The Muse

"This is all that's left?" He nodded at the old desk, untouched, alone in the empty room.

"The movers came yesterday and took everything else to storage. The will says only you can touch the desk." She shrugged. "It's very specific on that point."

"Thank you." He was in a fog, staring at it, remembering the old man sitting there, encased in a blue menthol cloud, scratching away.

"You're a writer, too? Novels? Someone said—"

"Yes." He rested his fingertips on the desk. It was smaller than the modern, expensive one in his office; he'd have more room now. "Novels."

Giant Summer

I was working in London, then, as an artist's rep. Terrible work: they're terrible people, artists. One of them had a lady friend, called her 'Poodle'. Real name was Gwen. She was one of them, the 'growers'. Ended up about forty feet tall, as I recall.

The artist couldn't have cared less. Was working on an 'installation'. I saw it when it was done: he wrapped Nelson in some crepe paper and ribbon. Pastel. Hideous. City had it taken down, eventually, because of the uproar, but they'd funded the damn thing in the first place, so they couldn't look too keen. Anyway, he had me look after the girl.

Everything had to be ordered special, of course. Food in bulk. We had a sailmaker for the clothes. She said the canvas itched, but what could we do? When she eventually shrank to normal size, she nearly suffocated in the stuff.

SF Drabble #435 "Dance Of The Spirits"

He was a sudden voice from the doorway: "Hey, come outside."

"Can't. Processing soil cultures." They'd only brought so much seed, and couldn't afford to waste it.

"Take a break."

She wanted to; she needed to. "All right." She followed him outside, down the steps, into the cool alien night.  When he stopped and looked up, she did the same.

"What are we looking at?"

"Wait… a minute, maybe…"

There was a gradual brightening, waves of light, green and blue with red at the edges, spreading across the sky. They stared up at it together; eventually, she held his hand.


He'd been staring at it for twenty minutes, from far enough back to take it all in. She wandered over to introduce herself.

He didn't give her the opportunity. "How much?"

She repressed the urge to chuckle. "Well, they say if one has to ask, one—"

"How much?"

"Sixty thousand, not counting delivery costs, insurance, fees."

"He's dying, you know."


"Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Two months, maybe three. When he goes, it'll double in value. I'm amazed you haven't adjusted your price."

She seethed silently, face frozen. Eventually, she said, "I apologize, I was incorrect; this painting is not for sale."