Sunday, February 18, 2018

Grab a Bag...

Cadenza

Grab a bag and fill it with stars, one by one. One star for each day you've made it. One star for each doubt you've overcome. One star for each moment of loneliness, for each step you've taken. Grab a bag and fill it with dreams, one by one. One dream for each tomorrow, for each smile, for each doubt you've left behind. And when you open that bag, you won't know which are the stars and which the dreams. While you carried them around, they talked and they smiled. They knew they would be free, as free as fireflies.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

If Only I Had...

Pixel Dreams

If only I had a moment, one single moment...
I would close my eyes and listen to the languid swooshing of the old windmill.
I would be a seagull for a moment, one single moment, and feel the wind under my wings.
I would sway softly in a soothing flight of sheer weightlessness. I would be suspended in mid-air.
And I would forget everything. I would forget time. I would forget pain. I would forget the struggle.
I would just fly in a motionless sense of abandonment.
I would close my eyes and listen to that one single effortless moment.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Why Not?

Apassionata

“Why not the head first?” asked Paulie.
“That's not the way we do it,” replied the boss.
“Why not?”
“Because. Go grab the leg for me and shut up.”
Paulie crossed the yard, grabbed the leg from a bucket, and dragged it back.
“Here.” And he dumped the leg on the kitchen table.
“Hey. Remember the arm.”
The acid would do wonders, but last time he had to deal with an arm, it flipped in such an odd way he didn't sleep for a whole damn week.
“Why not the head...?”
“Paulie...”

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Look Away, Please

Bridgetown

A crowd gathered near the collapsed bridge. The front part of the truck was stuck on one side of the bridge, the back on the other.
“Icy pavement?”
Heads shook.
“Where's the driver?”
They checked security cams, interviewed witnesses, searched the truck. Nothing.
“So, no one was driving the truck?”


Elsewhere, monitors showed live images from the accident.
A man adjusted the noose around the woman's neck.
“Let's get this tighter.”
She didn't last long.
The man smiled. Improving his obsolete technological skills opened up a whole new world of possibilities. They would never catch him.

(Pick Two: Corner, Tiger, Tie, Please, Encountered, Obsolete, Winter, Webcam)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Smartypants

Water Reserve

"Pathetic idea. This won't work. Plants need water," said the moody Professor.
However, Peter was determined.
He tweaked the genetic code for months. Then, he finally made it. The plant grew without the need for any assistance. People just had to place it in a large pot and leave it be.
Peter also programmed the plant to identify the Professor who is now, let's say, part of the said plant.
The downside of this story is that the plant is always in a bad mood, the roots throwing the soil out of the pot. Good thing, it's in slow motion.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Involved

Venexia

The café was busy.
From the street, it looked like they were moving in furniture. In fact, they were smuggling antiques.
When the fire destroyed the café, the police arrested two local thugs on an anonymous tip. They swore they hadn't done it.

From across the street, the owners of the restaurant observed the commotion with satisfaction.
Their business was safe again.
And no one had to be buried in the cellar, which was becoming very crowded.
The last thing they wanted was for the police to snoop around.
"And for us, it's back to the pots and pans, boys."
100 Word Stories

(My story wasn't published this week, because I forgot to send it over...
But do check everyone else's stories. They are very good.)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

India

Tierra de Fuego

"Don't overdo it on the spices, OK?"

John had arrived recently from India and was adding all sorts of spices to his cooking spree, most of them turning his dishes into fire hazards.

His friends only fell for it... twice. Then they arranged for a rotation system to be put in place where each would be the weekly assigned victim.

John never suspected of the sudden busy agendas of his friends. He never even noticed how regularly each went over to his place for dinner and how they'd rotate, always in the same order, between them.

He was so enthusiastic about his new hobby that he had big plans to open a restaurant, to publish a cooking book, to get a Michelin star, to have his own TV show (the star coming up in the list before the TV show, for some reason; apparently he thought it would be easier to get the star than the TV show).

"You'll set the country on fire," said one of his friends.

But he laughed the comment away and proceeded to strive in his intents. He didn't give up, not even after twenty people were taken to the hospital with severe gastrointestinal problems and burns in their mouths from a highly secret combination of obscure spices used in his restaurant.

The end result of this fiery adventure takes us, many decades later, back to India where our cook took refuge when he realized his secret combination of spices had been fine tuned into a highly toxic poison used by secret services all over the world in a silent, invisible and spicy war against one another.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Slack

LEA 20 Machinima Open Studio

“Dust everywhere.” Whenever the Duchess arrived at the hotel, she criticized everything. “Look at this.” And she slapped the velvet on the chairs.
Mr. Roberts, the manager, smiled and nodded, gently guiding her towards the elevator. Once she was safely tucked away inside the diabolic machine, as she called it, peace would return.
When the diabolic machine, no doubt highly offended, decided to take revenge, plummeting two floors down into the dust infested cellar, the Duchess went to the papers and vowed never to stay there again.
The hotel then became extremely successful. Dust can be such a lifesaver.

The Law Firm

Mystical Falls

Basking in the sun, a woman with pale complexion pulled a wide-brimmed hat over her pink nose.

Another woman, tanned, sat next to her on the sand. "There's nothing like having some time off," she ventured.

"I hate time off," replied the first one. "It's such a waste."

"Oh? Well, you are more than welcome to stay at the office with the junior staff, going through boring files while the rest of us enjoy these days away."

The pinkish woman sneered and looked away. She would definitely do that if it weren't for the fact that even on vacation everyone was adding points to their relative positions in the firm's ranks. The fake smiles, the pseudo-intellectual conversations about the latest opera performance everyone who mattered attended (including her of course), the overexcited and drunk husbands who, on pretenses that this was a firm's retreat only for partners (a blatant lie), got overenthusiastic, slipping the increasingly younger waitresses cards with the numbers of their hotel rooms.

It was no surprise that over the years no one ever tried to hit on her. She had a reputation of being aloof and arrogant. Besides, she would invariably take cover under her straw hat, the biggest one she could find, and sit by the water, watching them play their parts.

"Lucy, do you ever think that this is all so artificial, you know, like there's a script?"

The tanned woman looked at her and smiled. "Yep. We have accepted to play these roles until we reach the top. Then we can write our own scripts."

"But it's pathetic. Look at them," replied the pinkish woman.

"I know, Patty. It is. Well, look at it on the bright side. One day, we'll own our own firm and be our own bosses. In the meantime, we bask in the sun and watch."

"I'm not sure I'll wait that long," said Patty, starting to look rather reddish instead of pink.

"What are you going to do? Don't throw it all away, not now, after all this effort, please, Patty."

But Patty wouldn't have anything to do with slow patient methods. She stood up, went over to the water, sinking her feet in the sand, and threw her hat away.

"Do you want me to be obedient? Do you want me to play along? Do you want me to fuck my way up the ranks? Do you? Well, to the gents, fuck you. To the ladies, you're getting fucked for nothing; they'll never give you any of the top jobs. Did you know that? I bet you didn't."

By then, she had the undivided attention of all the partners who had been slumbering on low beach-chairs, the dying waves lazily slapping their feet.

"Check your emails, ladies, check your emails," and she walked away, back to the hotel, where she packed her bags and disappeared.

The email had a copy of an internal communication, delivered only to the male partners, where it was clearly stated that men would be given preference over women for any leading position in the firm. A list of reasons were given to justify this unjustifiable decision; women miss work more often, they get pregnant, they take maternity leaves, they have to take care of their children, of their families, of their elderly parents, their attention span is lower, because they tend to multitask, and they are always on the phone solving their family issues.

Needless is to say that this particular firm ceased to exist after it was hit with a storm of lawsuits by the female staff, Lucy included.

Patty went to India. She opened a law firm and she never again basked in the sun.

(This story was inspired by a real event involving a prestigious organization. It was not a law firm. The outcome, however, was far from the one in the story. The organization still exists.)


Friday, January 5, 2018

A Small Lump

Kronbelt

The abandoned barn was anything but abandoned. A nest of bees had been growing steadily since the demise of the said building.

At first, it was only a small lump on the wall, but after a few weeks, it had grown considerably. No one really paid much attention to the increase of the bee population in the area, so their numbers grew merrily.

It was inevitable for someone to be stung. First a child, then an adult, then many adults, a crowd of adults. Panic took over the town and within a few weeks it was clear that the sanitary services had to come up from the city to help solve the problem.

The bees were resilient though. No poison, spraying, destroying the hive made them disappear.

As a matter of fact, some of the local residents showed evidence of disturbing mutations. They tended to linger a lot longer around the flowerbeds in the public parks, they felt strangely attracted to that barn and all of them made involuntary humming noises.

The situation was so catastrophic that the whole town was put under a strict, and useless, quarantine.

It took them about a year, but when they finally controlled the epidemic all over the country, it was extremely difficult to set the original bees and the mutated humans apart, except for the oversized dimensions of the latter, of course.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Nocturnal

Kronbelt

The hammer struck again and again. Over the rhythmic cadence, the cry of an eagle announced dinner time. The bird flew in wide circles over Mr. Trent's property around 7pm sharp. That's when he came out and threw big chunks of meat in the air for the eagle to catch. When satisfied, the eagle flew away to return the next day.

Where Mr. Trent got the meat was a complete mystery to his neighbor Peter. Mr. Trent had no cattle, no poultry, he never left his property, where he lived with his wife, and no one ever dropped by.

One day, as Peter heard the hammer strike once again, right before 7pm, he ventured next door. He jumped over the wooden fence easily and walked as silently as he could towards the barn where the hammering sound came from.

He slid close to the walls, only to see Mr. Trent hitting a few frozen chunks of meat to separate them. He drew closer. Mr. Trent hammered and hammered.

Much to Peter's horror, one of the bits got separated and hit the ground. It was a hand.

And that was the last thing Peter saw.

"Elyse, please, again?" Mr. Trent complained. "We have no room left."

Mrs. Trent, a nocturnal woman taken to unusual habits, smiled.

"I just couldn't resist, dear. Normally, I have to ride so far away and carry them here. This one was so... handy!"