2014 Excerpts

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Frank
[sci fi]

Frank didn’t speak for exactly eleven minutes. His hands gripped the podium, knuckles white, palms wet. The hostess had tugged at his elbow long enough to become cross and storm off to get security.

Cell phones hovered over heads throughout the crowd recording his flop. A bead of sweat trickled down his forehead, … 

eBees II
[speculative] – FREE

“First the bees, now the birds? It’s not possible!” Dr. Romain Zellers walked through the orchard, his eBees prototypes whizzed from flower to flower between the cherry trees. Next week it would be apple blossoms. He smacked a mosquito on his arm in the twilight air.

Carol, nonplussed, replied, “Not one domestic bird sighted in at least eight months, and it’s been half a year since … 

FTLT
[sci fi]

Dahl stepped onto the circular pad, and shut her eyes.

Darkness descended with an absolute certainty. Distinguished were the lights and lives who’d been around her only moments before.

She lost track of her senses, touch having fled with sight and sound. The weight of her satchel meaningless, as she …

The Curator’s Assistant
[speculative]

Miranda swung her flashlight up and down the aisles of the basement to continue the spring cleaning the museum’s expanding collection. The interminable process of reexamining the ever-expanding collection and process new acquisitions kept assistant curators such as her employed.

The next item on her list read:

K-3784B: Fertility statue. Italy, c. 4500BCE …

Digger
[sci fi]

Natanyel stepped off the chitter rigging as it hovered centimeters above the desert. The heat of the sand burned through the calluses of his feet, as he made his way to the dig site.

A woman stood at the entrance, eyes squinting into …

Accident
[sci fi]

The paramedics arrived at the scene of the accident, lifting the injured man to safety. “Sir? Could you tell me your name?”

Bleary-eyed, the man shook his head and couldn’t comprehend what just happened. His name seemed furthest from his thoughts. As soon as they entered the ambulance, …

Cheddar
[sci fi]

The cat purred steadily, as though the house hadn’t just rolled onto its side. Perhaps cats were immune to upsets so long as they remained in the safety of a cardboard box with a cushion.

Faisal stared at the cat, who blinked a slow disinterested contentment, and began washing his paw. “Cheddar,” he said to the black cat with a white, left ear, “you stay here. I’ll see if I can find Mom and Brenda.”

Faisal righted himself, or what he thought was right, as he …

Dependable
[fantasy]

Raindrops pattered their tiny footsteps along Jordan’s old leather hat, which sagged over her head, and across the shoulders of her leather duster.

“It’s the only thing you can depend on,” he had said to her. Father’s words dripped into Jordan’s ears with the rain, and she …

Way Station
[sci fi]

Jotun dropped his lightship near the event horizon, and took a deep breath. Beyond comprehension of the physics, the trick to entering a black hole was surrender. Fighting against the gravity well and dissolution of form led to ripples of ship wide damage and pilot death.

He released his paw from the throttle and leaned back in his woven crèche. His hips opened as he reclined, legs dangling clear of the jump box and stopper. With eyes closed, …

Ask 4477
[speculative]

“It’s almost time,” Deirdre exclaimed. The clock read 9:59pm. Her eyes turned toward mine, wild and full of expectation. A madness had taken hold of this woman who lectured on reason as the highest order. She leapt from her couch and bounded to the window, throwing it open despite the freezing winter winds outside. A flurry found its way inside, as she plunged her head outside.

Already I could hear the screams …

Tracewind
[fantasy, steampunk]

The Tracewind sliced through cloud banks thick as wool trousers in pursuit of her quarry. Helga stood at the stern looking out at the mist and sky, tracking the shadow that disappeared again and again into the ceaseless white.

She aimed the harpoon net toward the swift figure and fired. The net wheeled away into the eiderdown. At the sudden tautness and resistance of the rope, Helga …

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