Week Eight Winning Entry

Prompt: command4769308007_92f2b99375

Thaddeus Crowe was restless tonight.

I was trying to catch up on my latest short story submission–a steampunk genre Civil War piece–when the moaning and clanking started again for the third time.

See, Thaddeus was my very own ghost in the attic.

I shut down the project as well as the laptop; giving writing up as a bad job for the night.

“I guess I’d better see what’s bothering the old coot,” I muttered to myself.

Climbing the creaky stairs, I was surprised when my black and white cat, Max, hissed at me and ran off.

“Max!” I called after him. “It’s just the ol’ man! C’mon back!”

Be he was gone. I loved cats, specifically because– like me–they never obeyed any commands. But the fur ball liked any opportunity to harass Thaddeus. Something was definitely up. I shook my head as I climbed the rest of the stairs to the attic.

I opened the door to the large, unfinished space to find the shimmering, pale form of Thaddeus, dressed as always in what looked like an 18th century military uniform, staring mournfully out of the half-moon window overlooking the grounds.

“Sir!” I said smartly. “Permission to enter?” He usually liked it when I asked to come into “his” attic.

Thaddeus turned his gaze from the window and looked me over. I couldn’t actually see him do it, as the apparitions’ eyes were nothing more then hollowed-out sockets. It was just a feeling I got whenever I arrived in his attic space and ‘looked’ toward me.

“Oh, why not. Enter” the ghost said in a melancholy voice.

I furrowed my brow at the lack his usual barked command of either “Come Hither, mortal!” or “Granted Soldier!” Something was definitely troubling the ghost.

I climbed into the attic, ducking a little to avoid whacking my head on one of the rafters, and let the door close behind me. I joined Thaddeus at the window, ignoring the chill that always caused my skin to crawl when I got too close to him.

After a moment of awkward silence, I cleared my throat.

“Sir, permission to speak candidly?”

“Go on then,” said the ghost in the same bored voice.

“What seems to be the trouble, Sir?” I asked hesitantly. I’d seen the ghost get upset only once in my four years in the house. It wasn’t pleasant and I didn’t want to experience it again.

“Mmph,” Thaddeus said. “It’s a bad night, soldier. A bad night.”

“And why is that sir?” I asked relieved. Looks like I’d be spared a ‘poltergeist incident.’

“Time for new recruits. I hate training new recruits.” Said the old ghost dejectedly.

The thought of another ghost in the house quite frankly annoyed me. I was already behind on my deadline. But I was also curious.

“New recruits?” I asked. “Wouldn’t you like company, sir?” I asked.

“Sure,” said Thaddeus. “But there is always the denial and the whining before acceptance. I hate that part. That, and the speech. I hate that blasted speech.”

Ok, I thought. I’ll bite. “What speech?”

The ghost sighed. “Welcome to the spectral plane, newly departed. You are here because the afterlife wouldn’t have you. You are condemned to haunt this world in ghostly fashion until the end of time.”

“That doesn’t sound so bad,” I said.

“Yes,” said the ghost seemingly more depressed. “It is. See, I can only say those words to a new ghost. Now I’ll have to deal with the shock and the denial…” his voice faded away and he went back to staring out the window.

“But it can’t be….wait.” I said.

“Here it comes.” Thaddeus mumbled.

“No! I’m not dead…!” I screamed.

“Shouldn’t have shoved all that white powder up your nose to write tonight, kid.”

 

 

Week Nine Winning Entry

Prompt: inefficient 

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I don’t like sleeping very much. Well, that’s not entirely true. Sleep, I like.

It’s the dreams that come every time I shut my eyes.

They always start the same. I’m in a big city. New York, maybe. It’s a beautiful day and I’m walking along the street taking in the hustle and bustle of city life. Relishing the chaos as I walk through the man-made canyons.

At some point, the dream changes. I’m at the top of a large building, overlooking the city. The view is breathtaking. That’s when I see it.

A plane, flying fast– heading straight for me. There is an explosion and a sense of falling.

Before I hit the ground, the scene changes. I’m in a field somewhere. The smells of grass and of farms permeate my senses. I’m happy.

I look up when I hear a noise. Once again I see a plane, this time it’s heading straight for the ground. In my head I can hear people scream as the large jet impales itself in the once beautiful field at my feet.

Once more the scene jumps. I’m in a building wearing a military uniform…

A noise, one less dramatic, startles me. I’d nodded off again, damn it. The cold sweat dribbled down my back and a wave of helplessness almost overwhelms me.

I see the door open and two men enter. One, I know all too well. The other is dressed in a suit and a tie. I don’t recognize him. It is this unknown man who speaks first.

“And this one?” He says in almost a bored voice.

“Sloane Peterson,” says the man in white. “Thirty One. Showed promise, but her mind snapped during the last trials. Keeps going on about planes and buildings.”

“All right. I’ll let the President know.”

“The President?” I said, my voice croaky, while trying to stand. This man has the ear of the President! “Please sir! I need to speak with President Bush right away! Something terrible is about to happen…planes….attack…” I struggled to get to him. I had to tell him!

“See?” Said the man in white, ignoring me.

The suited man looked at me dispassionately. “Young lady,” he said. “There is no President Bush.” Turning to the other man, he said, “President Nixon will be watching the moon landing this evening. I’ll let him know the future viewing program is a complete failure and an inefficient use of taxpayer money. Keep her locked in here until we cure her or she dies. We don’t want word about her crazy rantings scaring the public, now do we?”

Week 18 Winning Entry

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PROMPT: INABILITY
They called it a ‘smart virus.’
A variation of herpes that could target specific DNA types. Read: races.
Once unleashed, it could wipe out an entire ‘targeted group’ within a generation. Maybe two.
It was the ultimate biological weapon with a one hundred percent mortality rate.
“A new sexually transmitted disease,” they said.
“Abstinence is the best way to avoid contracting the always fatal ‘super bug,” they also said.
‘They,’ apparently, were never horny teenagers.
Condoms were useless. Any sort of sexual contact. Kissing, blow jobs–even hand jobs would spread the virus. It didn’t matter.
They must have giggled to themselves when they’d first created it. Then screamed in frustration at their inability to control it.
See, what ‘they’ didn’t realize is that they’d created a real ‘smart bug.’ By smart I mean intelligent. Self-propagating. And self-aware.
They’d created the fucking Einstein of STDs.
Then ‘they’ declared war on the uber-herpes. Uber-herpes declared war back.
In three months it was all over.
As I look down from the International Space Station as the last surviving member of the human race, I try to find fitting last words. The oxygen is in the red now.
I think of Neil Armstrong and his “One small step” speech. What bullshit.
As the last tank goes dry, all I can think to say is “They…were a bunch of assholes.”

Some of my other stuff…

I have a short story called “Orange You Glad the Doctor’s In” in the Orange Karen:Tribute to a Warrior anthology:

OK_Cover

To Purchase:

ORANGE KAREN site

Amazon Paperback

Amazon Kindle eBook

 

 

 

 

 

I have a funny haiku called Bat-Mite’s Refrain in a collection of Superhero Poems.  I Blame Shira for her awesomeness and a bit of Rum…

Flying_Higher

To Purchase:

Currently FREE on SMASHWORDS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5MinuteFiction Winning Entries:

        Week Eight Entry (Winner)

        Week Nine Entry (Winner)

        Week Eighteen Entry (Winner)

        Special NaNoWriMo Edition – Week 2

        Week Thirty Entry (Winner)

        Week Thirty-Three Entry (Winner)

        Week Forty Entry (Winner)

A Scam Grows in Scotland 

 

Chapter One Snippet

TheProdigalsFoole_Kindle

Present Day

The old lady next to me in the window seat died somewhere over the Atlantic. I know because she told me.

“Symon Bryson.”

The husky voice surprised me. I hadn’t spoken to anyone either at Dublin airport or on the flight. I first looked to my right the see the well-built, mustached man sleeping next to me. By the number of empty little bottles of vodka on his tray table, I guessed that his sleep wasn’t due to exhaustion.

“Symon Bryson. Look at me.”

I turned slowly to look at the old lady. She was staring at me through milky-white eyes, smiling.

“Who are you?” I asked cautiously.

Most people would freak out if a corpse suddenly reanimated and wanted to have a nice chat with them. Not me.

I’d seen worse.

“Who I am matters not,” croaked the old woman.

“Yoda?” I said. No one in the supernatural world of Heaven and Hell—the Shadow-world—gets pop culture references. It’s a sad commentary on the priorities of the Shadow-world.

“I have a warning for you. Fortunately this body died so I could use it to speak with you.”

“Oh goodie,” I said, sighing. “Lay it on me then.”

“Your return to Boston at this time is not happenstance.”

“Look, dead lady,” I snarled, pulling a scrap of paper from my pocket. “I’m going to see the Monsignor, find out what this telegram he sent is all about, and get the Hell back to Dublin as soon as humanly possible. Who the Hell sends a telegram in this day and age anyway?”

“You must not give in to your powers, Symon,” the creepy dead lady said. “You are the strongest Practitioner of this age. But you are undisciplined and dangerous.”

“I don’t plan on using any magic,” I said.

“You never plan it, Symon. That is your biggest problem. Let me show you what you could be.”

With that, she put a cold, dead hand on my arm and the vision began…

The Prodigal’s Foole  — Available Now!

Writer of Things. Podcaster.