After Dark

Photo by Krys Amon on Unsplash

It’s new, just in, I got it from Porcelain, she says it’s better than JQ.

Nothing’s better than JQ. Nothing. But okay, I’ll try it, it’s just Wednesday, I got in free because the bouncer owes me a huge one, and half my squad isn’t even here. Okay. Gimme three. No, gimme three, you know my tolerance. But no I don’t want to go make out in the bathroom. Maybe later, you know?

There are normie girls falling over from a half; Porcelain’s stuff is strong. But it’s just enough to get me feeling festive. Only other powered person here is Twist, and he’s over there trying to tell the DJ how the last three songs he played interacted mathematically. Dude is looking at him like he’s fucked up, but Twist never partakes.

Eventually Twist and I will meet on the dance floor, have some fun. Later, like, last call-ish, we’ll end up in a corner, share the goss, run down the threat board, you know. Once, he had to carry me home, six miles at 3 AM, the whole time creating a bubble of positive pressure around us so we wouldn’t get rained on. Now that’s a true friend.

Falling Action

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

His cup was one of those oversized ones, big as a bowl of soup. “How much time have you got?”

She looked at her phone, because she’d stopped wearing a watch ages ago. “Half an hour. Forty minutes if I take a cab instead of walking back.” Hers was a medium to-go with the cardboard band around it.

They used to meet for coffee twice a week, then it was three times a week. Then it was once a week, but it was in a hotel room. They were back to coffee, now, just coffee: less complicated. “I knocked off for the afternoon. Slow at work. Thinking of walking over to the park.”

“You should do that. You totally should.” Without me. She didn’t need to say it, he’d always been good at reading her. That had never been their problem.

“I think I will. How’s George?”

You don’t care how George is. “George is fine. Working less, which is nice. Less stress, more time with the kids.”

“That’s good.”

“They’re moving me up, though, so I get less, so, there you go.”

“Always the way it is.” He stirred, absent-mindedly.

She checked the time on her phone, again. “Ugh.”

Fantasy Drabble #382 : “Divorcée”

“You’re Fred? Sam’s friend?”

“…Yes, ma’am.” It was later than normal for a delivery.

“You can put the bags there, on the counter.” She tapped her cigarette ash into the kitchen sink, absent-mindedly played with the belt from her robe. “Sam said you’re quite the track star.”

“All-State, two years running. I’ll be on the college team come September.” He put the groceries down gently. He turned back, leaned against the counter. This is where I normally ask for a tip. “Sam mentioned you as well.”

“Well.” She smiled slyly, fangs just showing. “That makes this simpler, then, doesn’t it?”

SF Drabble #483: “Bobby”

“So, you want us to adopt it? I mean, him?”

“Exactly. Raise him like you would any other boy.”

They looked at each other, brows furrowed, nervous, still holding hands. Through the two-way mirror, they watched him play with the toy firetruck, happy as can be. She said, “What if he gets sick? Do I—”

“Do you what you would do if any child gets sick. Thermometer, chicken soup, wet washcloth on the forehead, whatever. Nurse him back to health.”

“But will he? Get sick?”

“He’s programmed to, on occasion. Nothing too serious.” The scientist laughed. “Chicken Pox, at most.”

Speed Chess

It was a castle once, with a bustling town around its base, but now it was a ruin surrounded by dense forest. The sorcerer climbed over a waist-high remnant of a defensive wall and made his way into a building so long-abandoned that it seemed unlikely to have remained standing without some magical aid.

The statue sat at a table, across from an empty chair, with the chess board between, its fingers having seemingly just released the tip of one of the marble pieces.

“The Bishop, then? Interesting move. I would have thought the rook.”  He laid his cloak over the back of the chair and set his bottle and glass down beside the board. “No matter.”

If he sat long enough, he’d be able to see the stone hand moving away from the piece, so slowly as to be nearly imperceptible. It would move only so far: the statue needed to see its opponent’s play clearly, but to withdraw it any further would eat already-precious time.

“The Queen again; you’re in check. Mate in…” he checked the board again, hand still on the piece, just to be sure, before releasing. “…six moves.”

He wondered how long it would take.

SF Drabble #482: “Deb”

Beatrice stepped into the circle naked and stood, arms outstretched, feet slightly apart, while the automatics went to work. Hair, makeup, perfume, lacy underthings and gown, jewelry, all in turn, all managed by the house computer’s Waldoes.

“Are you ready yet?”

“Almost.”

“We’re to leave by four.” Mother had worked for nearly a year to arrange her introduction to Society. All the best people. The Governor’s son. Everything must be perfect.

She’d spent the morning out with the Dolhrum workers, having learned the language young, talking about conditions, talking about treatment, talking about revolution without using the word ‘revolution’. “Understood.”

SF Drabble #481: “Citius, Altius, Fortius”

“Name?”

“Anton Voroshenko.”

“Origin?”

“Novgorod.”

“And where is that?”

He gave the lady behind the desk an annoyed look. Idiot. “Greater Russia.”

“The category in which you are competing?”

“Long jump.”

There was a snickering in line behind him. He looked back, then up: two rail-thin, ten-feet tall men with snow-white hair loomed over him. Loonies? Martians? “Can I help you?”

“I just remembered a joke.”

“I’m sure.” He turned back to the registration desk.

The lady, now wearing a smirk, held out his welcome packet and an ID lanyard. As he took it, she said, “Good luck, ‘greater’ Russia.”