Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pizza

Enoshima


“This looks awful. Are you sure they have pizza here?”
“Yeah.”
“How did you find this place? There's no one else here.”
“I got an email. They sent me an 80%-off coupon.”
“80%?? Let's go. Now.”
“Why?!”
“Haven't you heard of the 80% club? They'll shrink your brain by 80%.”
“What?”
It was too late. The doors closed.
The next morning, they were found barely alive.
The number of these cases had been growing lately. No one knew how it was done, but everyone knew the consequences.
Discount coupons can be hazardous.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Organ

Westdell


When we arrived for dinner at the neighbors, a man was playing a song on an old pipe organ. One of the notes was off-key, but he played on. When the host invited us to go outside, I was happy to escape that torture. The problems started when she explained that they needed meat and that they took some of his organs . I was shocked, and was about to ask how he could even play when I felt a sharp blow to the back of my neck. Officer, do you think this scar is what I suspect it is?

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Fly

Sopor Aeternum


“The photo's really bad. Where's this?!”
“I don't know. But this is where the hot air balloon is.”
“I can see that... Do you have any other irrelevant information to volunteer?!”
“There's a lighthouse on the photo.”
“I can see that too... What else?”
“Nothing... Except those red leaves.”
“Special leaves?”
“No. They're quite common.”
“Then, we have nothing.”
“Nope.”
“Why did you bring me this photo then?”
“Because at the back someone wrote the coordinates.”
“And you waited this long to tell me that?”
“I just hate negative people.”

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mr. Caramel

Matanzas


Mr. Caramel was surely the one who knew more about everyone else. He noticed every single detail regarding the neighborhood and memorized it thoroughly.
Mr. Caramel could hear his wife chatting languidly with Mr. Granite, that Mr. Granite...
Mr. Caramel decided, right there and then, that he wasn't going to do anything but enjoy the warm hours of a lazy afternoon. He slowly stretched his neck towards the sun. 
If Mrs. Caramel wanted to eat, she could go prepare things herself... or ask Mr. Granite. 
He stood on the pole and closed his eyes. Mr. Caramel was a proud seagull.
(Prompt Pick Two: Granite, Pertinent, Record, Surely, Tag, Bridge, Proud, Detective,Tarp, Caramel)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Camping

Magical Farm


“It's cold and I don't even like camping.” And Annie slammed the door behind her.
Why did Annie have the final word about everything, thought Paula.
A pair of curious eyes looked inside the house.
Why couldn't they go camping in the winter? They just needed a few extra sweaters. And besides, Paula really wanted to see that stag again.
When she turned around, he was there. She didn't dare to move. They looked at each other. And that's how the word camping took on a completely different meaning, as the stag came back for a visit every day.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Weak

Black Kite


“My stomach is weak,” she said, a tray filled with amazing food looking back at her.
At the restaurant, they were used to her moaning. But she ended up gobbling it all down.
One day, they dared her to cook. She hesitated, but she wasn't one to run away from a challenge.
When the insurance company showed up, it was impossible to identify where the kitchen was, and it was nearly absurd to even attempt to tread through the barrier of debris by the front door.
That's when they heard, “My stomach is weak and now my leg hurts...”

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Vibration

Dark Moon


The vibration was stronger as the herd approached. They continued to sleep under the giant plant.
The bamboos muttered a strange song, the thumping making it grow more and more intense. They didn't wake up. They slept on, immersed in their dreams, their huge ears flipping back and forth as if they were awake.
The symbols on the stone became bright, dancing to the rhythm of the bamboo song.
The herd trotted past them and didn't even noticed they were there.
They opened their eyes slowly. The bamboo became silent and the stone went to sleep under the giant plant.


Sunday, April 1, 2018

Hardly

Salt Water

Matt winced. He adjusted his glasses and looked at the huge sign. “Gone Fishing”.
And off he went!
Everything was fine until the neighbor kid noticed he never brought back any fish.
“I ate them.”
The kid wasn't convinced, but Matt didn't mind.
In his pocket, he had three gold nuggets. He placed them carefully in the box he hid under the floor planks. He needed a new box. This one was full.
When the kid sneaked inside the house to see what was inside the box, he found a lot of yellowish pebbles.
Matt really needed new glasses!


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Sunny Shift

Winter Sweet

The angel sat on the bench. The sunny day was coming to an end as was his shift. However, he had failed, so he couldn't understand why he felt so happy. The elderly woman he was supposed to watch over had been hit by a car. The obnoxious teen had jumped in the pool and broken a leg. Even that damn dog someone had placed in his list as a prank had bitten the nosy neighbor. And yet, he felt happy. That's when he noticed some of the feathers of his wings were taking on an unusual tint of red.
(Prompt Pick Two: Fail, Globe, Sunny, Wee, Shift, Well, Butter, Wilco, Grass)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Water

Black Kite

Bubble, bubble, water, water. The bubbly drip drip sound around her made her close her eyes. The armchair had been placed in the middle of the pond just where the water was shallow enough. She looked around and saw no one. Bubble, bubble, drip drip, water, water. No rain, no fountain, just the drip drip sound of something bubbling inside her. And the water glittered with hesitations and dreams, none of hers, of course. She was very practical. She just sat there, in the middle of that pond, where the water was shallow enough, and dripped dripped her soul away.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Braided

Apassionatta

She sat out in the garden, holding her long braid defiantly. She had chopped it off.
The people in the tavern looked at the strange woman.
The fact that she was sitting there intrigued everyone. Everyone except the owner of the tavern. He knew. He had almost strangled her with that braid when...
He walked outside and everyone witnessed in horror how, in a split second, she wrapped the braid around his neck and knocked him to the floor, snapping his neck before anyone could do anything.
She braided the rope they placed around her neck a few days later.
100 Word Stories

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Generally

Forgotten City

The lighthouse keeper stared at the horizon. Five lines. The sea was unusually calm and it was bitter cold. His mind wandered back to that day. The sea wasn't calm then and it wasn't cold but he felt it at the back of his neck like a knife. The body was out there. He knew exactly where. Five years ago. Each year, on that day, he would stand up there. He didn't know how. He never noticed when. But he knew she came from the sea to carve another line on his arm, a reminder of what he had done.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Brothers, the Tower and No Elephant

 Island of Lost Dreams

The brothers had a reputation that preceded them wherever they went. The day they decided to steal the gold statue of an elephant, they came up with a plan and managed to sneak inside the king's tower. The problem was, they couldn't find the damn elephant anywhere. They climbed all the way to the top in pitch black darkness. Exhausted, they sat down for a few seconds. No elephant, but the view was magnificent. They decided to watch the sunrise before resuming the search. Suddenly, evil laughter interrupted the dreamy moment. Watching the sunrise was lovely. Free flying was not.

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!"


Monday, January 1, 2018

Pages

Il Nido

The man flipped the pages hastily, almost thunderously.

The eBook reader had trouble keeping up and was about to refuse to continue any farther when the man's phone rang.

"Yes? Oh, forget it. It's too much trouble as it is. I need it translated, but if this is the way you people work, never mind. I'll find someone else." And he hung up.

The cup of coffee lay unstirred, no sugar. His morning routine was irremediably torn to pieces. People at the tables around him took cautious glances at his terrible humor, uttering no word whatsoever. They were afraid to trigger a storm of even worse proportions.

"Right," he mumbled to himself, turning the eBook reader off and throwing it on the table where it hung in a precarious balance on the perilous precipice leading to a certain death, or at least irreparable injuries.

The phone rang again. He checked it to see who was calling. 

Sheer evil, the woman sitting at the table in the corner would later tell the police. The smirk on his face resembled nothing she had ever seen.

"You, again? What an incompetent bunch of retards," he barked. "How difficult is it to translate a damn note? At this pace, I'll have time to learn the language and translate it myself. No, no, don't even dare, you hear, don't even dare!" And he hung up, violently, throwing the phone onto the table. It made a cracking noise, not at all promising a long life. The man had forgotten about that paper lost in a dark pocket of some lost jacket. Coming across it just a few days ago, he tried to have it translated, to no avail.

When the man stood up and pulled his gun out, and said "If this is the way you want it", some people screamed, others stood up in an mimetic motion opposite to what the survival instinct would dictate. A well-seasoned mother of two only had time to cover the eyes of her child before the man pushed the gun against his throat and pulled the trigger.

Witnesses were heard, distant family members were tracked, no friends were found. In his phone, one phone number, the one of an office which offered translation services. The owners were interviewed, the potential translators testified. All agreed on one thing, the document the man wanted translated was nothing more than the proof of his crimes, written down on a piece of paper, many years ago, by a fortune teller he came across in one of his frequent travels throughout the country.

The serial killer who refused to get caught had been discovered after years of nationwide efforts made by the police.

The piece of paper was translated, 20 murders, 1 with a hammer, 1 with an electric saw, 1 by strangulation, 5 with a rope, and 12 with a fire weapon, showing some experimentation, and finally a growing detachment, one a year, making the investigation of these killings especially difficult for the authorities. 

As to the reason why the man decided to commit suicide, the last call he received was a threat; they'd take the list to the police. That sealed the man's fate.

Far away, in a distant town, the fortune teller opened a dark wooden box lost in a forgotten shelf. Inside was a folded paper she threw into the fireplace as quickly as she could. 

She remembered that day; she remembered that man. She remembered having written a list of horrific crimes she gave to the man, who laughed, dismissing her predictions with a wave of his hand. 

However, what she most vividly recalled was what she wrote on a second paper; the man would die too, at his own hands. She never told him that, hoping not to interfere with fate. 

When she heard the news on TV, she was finally able to have a good night's sleep. 
(This text is a wink at "The Mysterious Card" by Cleveland Moffet)