Some Fun Short Reads

Last week was a really bad week for many folks, for many reasons. I want to give all of us a chance to relax a bit. So I’m diving into my mason jar file and sharing some fun and interesting shorts. I’m putting these 5 snippets into public domain, so if you are a creator, feel free to have fun with them.

These were all written as part of ‘writing sprints’ where we were given a word and 15 minutes to write.

I hope you enjoy.

Airship — steampunk
Expelled — original world fantasy
Perplexed — contemporary fiction
Space junk — space fantasy
Spark — urban fantasy

 

Airship

Captain Haru Nagatsumi stood in the bows of his airship and enjoyed the feel of the wind in his face for the first time in 10 years. He’d first gone to England with one their cultural exposés, then found himself falling into the employ of the Count of Ambrey. Then he fell into the Count’s bed. With the Countess’ full approval. The affair, if he could call it that, had lasted three years, and every day of those three years he’d known it would someday end. Until three weeks ago.

Three weeks ago, Cherville had actually put down the newspaper at breakfast and out of nowhere said, “Look, old chap, you have to know by now that if it weren’t for the damnable law, I’d ask you to marry me. Since I can’t, the least you can do is take me home to meet your parents.”

Emelie was coming in from the kitchen with a plate of scones. Putting one on his plate she added, “Take us home, you mean.”

“Of course, dear.”

Haru fell out of his chair.

Remembering the scene, he smiled and muttered under his breath, “Damn all Englishmen and their stiff upper lip!” It turned out that Cherville had already bought a large airship for the trip, which brought Hoku back to the present moment.

“Cap’n!” a call came from the crows nest, “Ship a-port!”

Expelled —  original world fantasy

“Out.” That was all they said, and suddenly Danne found himself ejected from the only home he had anymore. He had gone to the headmaster, hoping to plead for another chance. But the door refused to admit him.

He hadn’t meant to blow up the alchemy classroom. It just…happened. Just like he hadn’t meant to frighten all the pegasi when it was his turn to groom them. Or turn all the food rancid while helping make dinner. And he definitely hadn’t meant to put invisibility powder in the laundry instead of soap. Who leaves invisibility powder sitting around the academy laundry room anyway?

It didn’t make any difference. After three years and fives of mishaps, they were done with him.

With nothing else to do, Danne wandered down the dirt road that ran past the academy. Sooner or later he’d come to a town—though he seemed to remember it had been a long way from the last town to the academy when he came here. NMIMY– No Mages In My Yard—was te popular sentiment in Carolia. And given his own mishaps, Danne couldn’t exactly blame them. But he’d need somewhere to sleep for the night…

“Are you done wallowing yet?” A voice squeaked in his ear.

“I’m not wallowing!” The little fire demon had started following hi around his first week at the academy—and for some reason never left.

“Sure, sure. Cheer up. I didn’t think we’d make it out of there alive. It’s a good day.”

Danne flicked the creature off his shoulder. A moment later the scent of scorched hair told him it had reappeared on his head.

“Yup, clear sailing from here. Gotta say, I’m impressed you stuck it out that long. Most cadets don’t last six months after management decides to get rid of them.”

Perplexed — contemporary

Marie’s eyes narrowed as she saw Paul and a strange woman laughing and holding hands outside the movie theater. She stormed up to them and slapped him. Hard.

“What the hell!” Hand to his face, he growled at her, “Marie, what is your fucking problem.”

“Fuck you,” she said, “Fuck you and the horse you rode in on. My sister is marrying you next week and you have the fucking balls to be out at the movies making kissy noises with someone else?”

The woman beside him suddenly started laughing. After a moment, Paul joined her.

“What’s so funny,” Marie demanded.

“Ah…” Paul’s laughing trailed off, “You know, I was sure this was gonna bite me in the ass, but I’m not allowed to tell you.” He shrugged a bit uncomfortably, “Call your sister and she’ll explain.”

And they just started walking off. Marie stared after them in shock.

After a moment she pulled out her cellphone, speed dialed her sister, “Sis, I’m really, really sorry, but I gotta tell you. I think you need to call of the wedding. Paul is cheating on you… Yeah, yeah I’m sure. I saw him coming out of the movie theater making kissy face with some stranger… you mean you knew about her?… I… yeah, I guess we can talk later… I int erupted your DATE- but Paul was just… your boyfriend… BUT YOU’RE GETTING MARRIED!”

Space junk — space fantasy

The aging satellite had circled the small green and white planet for millennium. It observed the rise of a dominant species, evolving for primitives bands to stone cities. The domestication of animals, the beginning of organized war.

Its masters, presumably, received the reports it beamed back, but no response ever came. It circled on, becoming erratic and unreliable. Micro pitting damaged its processors, batteries ran down and, as the solar cells lost alignment did not recharge.

More years passed, the civilization below continued to evolve. Finally the satellite stopped working entirely. It floated in space, an unusable collection of circuits and metal. Without rockets to stabilize its flight, its orbit degraded—a long, slow fall to the planet below.

Berchad was plowing his field, getting ready to plant the mage-touched rhubarb seeds. He ignored the flash of fire high above. The High Mage and Regus-the-Bastard had been fighting for a week already. He figured they’d still be going at it come harvest time.

If he’d looked up, he might have had some warning of the pile of molten metal which was about to crash into his just-planted turnips.

Spark — urban fantasy

Sometimes the most important things are small. Like the spark that lights a wildfire, the world is rewritten by the smallest chance.

“John, come take a look at this,” Sarah called from across the room. I took off my VR headset and leaned over to see her workstation without standing up. Rows of blotches on a dark background covered the screen.

“DNA from some of the stiffs?” She was frowning at the image and jabbing at keys.

“Do you have to call them that?”

Honestly, I wasn’t paying much attention. She’d interrupted my game. “So what’s the big deal?”

“Get off your butt and see for yourself. And stop calling them stiffs.”

I sighed and humored her. “Why not, they ar– What they hell?”

If you don’t know DNA, you wouldn’t have seen anything. Just blobs like some freaky modern art piece. Unfortunately, I knew DNA. I ran my finger down the screen, mostly to give myself something to focus on. “No way. No way this comes from the stiffs.”

She hit me. “Its logged. The samples are good, no contamination, clear chain of custody. These are the DOAs brought in this morning.”

“Look, Sarah, we’re supposed to be looking for what killed them, make sure it isn’t a new ebola or what not, maybe a virus got mixed in?”

She shook her head, and tapped her nail on the damning stat from sample 6. “A virus with 10,000 base pairs more than human DNA? This isn’t contamination, John.”

I stared at her, she couldn’t be saying…. “It has to be contamination, otherwise this stiff–”

“Isn’t human.”

Ah fuck. I knew, right then, I was screwed. The WereKing was so going to blame me for this.