A Morning Without Coffee

Originally posted at http://the-drabbler.com/a-morning-without-coffee/

Images of the night before flitted through Zack’s mind. Running, fire, blood. Zombies had attacked his hometown.

A dream? Zack thought. Apparently I need some coffee.

He poured himself his morning salvation and drank. The liquid trickled out of his mouth before he could swallow it. Wow. I really am tired.

He raised his other hand to wipe his face. But it wasn’t there. He looked down at a stump of an arm.

Huh. Interesting.

Zack looked into the mirror to a lopsided, zombie’d visage.

Well then. I suppose I should go grab some breakfast.

“Brrraaaaaiiins,” he grunted. “And coooffffeeeee.”

Artwork by my friend at http://4rioch.deviantart.com/

I’m like Zack the Zombie when I don’t get my morning dose of caffeine.  I’m tired, irritable, and hungry for brains. Or at least a brain.

Check out more stories at The Drabbler.

I think I’m going to wind this blog down now, since I’m too busy with the other one to do anything but re-post stories on here. We’ll see : )

Thanks for reading!

The Drabbler

The Drabbler is now online.

If you like short fiction, especially very short fiction, you should definitely go visit it. And subscribe. And probably insist that I absolutely must accept your monetary donations.

Here–a sample of the great content you’ll discover at the Drabbler:

A Dream Postponed

The amphitheater erupted around him.

“Jimmy! Jimmy!”

He devoured the moment, his fingers dancing electric across the strings. The crowd, lights, music. They belonged to him—the rock star. The band faded and Jimmy launched into his signature, thunderous solo.

But—something was wrong.

Jimmy slumped down onto the stage. He thumbed the frets, frowning.

“Oh Jimmy.” A soft voice.

He looked up from twiddling the little joystick on his wheelchair. Nurse Julie.

“I wonder what you think about, humming to yourself like that.”

Jimmy smiled as she wheeled him to the nurses’ station. Nurse Julie was his biggest fan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it. A drabble–a fiction story off exactly 100 words.
The Drabbler features plenty more where that came from, as well as some longer fiction and an “On Writing” section for educational articles on the craft of writing.

Thank you for reading. Go forth and drabble.

Atom’s Prophet

This post contains (gasp!) some serious, non-semi-comedic content. Consider yourself warned.

 

Atom’s Prophet

 The stones break beneath my sandaled feet. My burden—my yakkaigoto—is heavy.

With sorrow.

With fear.

With the knowledge that this day heralds the end of days. I am sighted, like Apollo of days past. I am blighted, the Atlas of the days to come. And sunrise by sunrise, my shoulders ache and my endurance wanes.

I am careful to step only on the rock, though even it cracks before my weight. Master Ariom told me he’s never seen such inryoku around a man. It is true—I can feel the very molecules of my body being pulled, no, torn towards the planet’s mass. The physical pain is great, but not as unbearable as the weight on my soul.

The rising sun is beautiful, my love. Atom’s tender touch warms my face and the rays cascade through the trees around me. How I wish you could see the sunlight—the sweet taiyoukou of our country. How I wish you could leave the sanctum, so I could hold you once more.

I know you are crying. I know a tear just struck the page.

Oh my love. I am so sorry.

Master Ariom will have told you by now: this is my final letter. He will find the leaden box, this letter inside, near the epicenter. He will not find my body. I beg you to never look for it, to never leave the safety of the sanctum. By my blood—by Atom Itself—I will not risk losing you.

Is it possible that my inryoku intensifies even as I walk? I can do little but trudge across this park, and I struggle to hold the pen and clipboard in these increasingly heavy hands. Such, I suppose, is the price of Atom’s gifts.

I can see the pattern, swirling deep down in the skin of my hand.

Atom! I don’t even need a scope! What have I become to prophesy without the aide of our artifices?

It seems that by the gaze of Atom Itself, I can see the pattern with my naked eyes. And it is clearer than ever! I peer into the cells, into the molecules of my flesh until it comes into view.

The source of our strength, our foresight, and my yakkaigoto—the atom.

While the nucleus stands as a pillar in the storm, the electrons whirl about it in a tempest of speed. Only by Atom’s guidance can I follow them.

The particles dance in the storm until a color emerges from the chaos. I unwind it into a long thread, then move on to the next atom. In a fraction of a heartbeat, I see this atom’s color as well, and unwind it. One by one, quickening my pace, I unwind the threads of a million atoms until a grand tapestry unfurls before me.

It’s the picture of a man, viewed from behind. He’s kneeling on a sidewalk, his yukata robe pulled tight around his thin shoulders. His arms are outstretched as he welcomes the brilliance before him—a blazing glow that engulfs the sky and threatens to devour the entire tapestry. The soft pink of cherry blossoms rings the foreground. But the tips of the petals are blackened, on the cusp of combustion.

I know what I see. But before I can contemplate on it, the tapestry changes. The electrons alter their pace, some slowing and some zipping faster, which shifts the colors of the threads. Gradually, a new picture forms.

Earth. But there’s something wrong about it. Pinpricks of light dot the surface of the planet. Are they the lights of cities? By Atom—no.

Like in prophecies past, I’m able to delve into the tapestry by allowing the atoms to guide me in, cradling me in their warmth. I reach the surface of the Earth. My senses reel, overwhelmed by the stimuli around me. The burning stench of charred flesh, the wails of the dying, the rusted tang of blood.

I bend over and retch into a pile of rubble. A tiny hand protrudes from between two charcoaled wooden beams. A finger twitches.

But I cannot help them. I am numb—touch is the only sense denied to me. Trapped in living prophecy, woven tight against the threads, I am powerless as I’ve ever been. The atoms erupt in tumult as if sensing an intruder, and I am expelled.

My hands convulse as I write. The masters never prepared me for this agony.

My love! Images such as these haunt me every day, and it rips me apart. The stones themselves break beneath the burden—my yakkaigoto—that I carry. To see the end of days, to feel the rancid wind as the apocalypse rushes towards us all, and be helpless to stop it… by Atom’s Light, I cannot bear it anymore!

My eyes burn. My final breaths tremble with sobs. I am so sorry that I must leave you.

I have stopped walking. The sidewalk beneath me is indented, wide cracks racing out from beneath my flattened sandals.

There is beauty in this park around me, but I struggle to see the good in it. I will try, for your sake. The verdant grass, cut simply, marvelously. A patch of flowers—azaleas, I think—in the morning shadow of a fountain. The grove of sakura, their pink blossoms open, as if crying for me as they try to shelter me from what comes. Do they know?

I reach out and take a branch in my hand. I stroke the soft petals across my cheek and wipe away my tears as I imagine your gentle caress. Do you remember our picnic in Shiretoko? We sneaked in, to the falls, where we ate honeyed bread beneath the sakura grove. A grove much like this one. It was so beautiful, but I could not take my gaze off of you. I regret so much in my life, but I do not regret proposing to you that day.

Listen to Master Ariom’s teachings. Raise Akemi well—I know you will—and tell her I’m watching over her.

I pray that my visions do not come to pass, but I fear they are inevitable. Remain in the sanctum and you will be safe.

My strength fades. My knees have buckled and the cement splinters before the inryoku of my kneeling body. My blood seeps into the little fissures. I look up to see the glint of a plane flying high above—I must go now. This city will soon be devoured in Atom’s blaze. Hiroshima’s fate is assured.

I will welcome the Light with open arms.

My love—my sunlight, my blossom. My sweet taiyoukou, my gentle sakura. Though Atom takes me, I will always love you.

 

Thank you for reading.
It was late in the afternoon yesterday, but I wasn’t getting anywhere on my main writing project. So I decided to take a break and write some gibberish until my block was broken. I typed “The stones break beneath my sandaled feet” and then went from there. I might return later for a rewrite.

 

= )

Shared Stories: C-C-C-C-Combo Post! # 2!

*No cats were harmed in the making of this post. (They were long dead by the time I got around to writing this thing.)*

Now… an encore to the last post. This was the other collaborative story my friends and I wrote that night in the car.

This time around, we decided to go Xtreme Edition: No Rules. Although I remember getting quite feisty with my scribe-companions when  the plot wandered too much. You might catch where I went all Chuck Norris on the Plot Realignment in the story.

Enjoy!

Vampire Hunted – By Rogue Element Publications

Fe’lier rested her palm on the cold iron gate of the graveyard and realized the chirping of insects had faded. In her years of experience as a vampire hunter, she found that this tended to be a very bad thing. The mists swirled and eddied about her, licking at her unsheathed rapier.

Her nerves were calmed when she felt the reassuring hand on her shoulder of Barek, her longtime friend and companion.

“We’re ready for this, El. All the signs lead to this place. I for one am ready for the closure of this terrible ordeal.”

Barek was a tall, broad shouldered man, bald headed and bearded. He held a baton of polished oak in each hand.

Fe’lier nodded her head against the gate. The cool metal helped clear her mind. With a heavy shove she shouldered the iron gate open. Bodily. It was time to rid herself of forced servitude.

She stepped into the mists, Barek following her. He touched her shoulder and nodded for her to get behind him. He was the tank after all.

The eerie quiet hung like a blanket over this place of the dead. Through the hazy mist, they could just barely see over the top of the hill the mausoleum where their quarry would most likely reside. Fe’lier stepped through the fog, a shadow of her past but a silhouette of her future.

Suddenly, the ground erupted all around them. Hands, decayed with the weight of years, burst from the soil of the graves. They reached out for them, desperate in their undeath to grasp the lives of the two adventurers. The first head to emerge exploded in a scattering of bone chips and moss as an oaken club collided with its face. Fe’lier followed up his brutal attack by executing a perfectly timed double front kick to the rib cage of a second assailant.

Quickly realizing the uselessness of her rapier, she sheathed it. And in a flowing motion of her cape, she drew a ruby-tipped wand. Its Crimson Magic stood out in great contrast to the clime. Calling upon the gods of anti-clime-atic wands, she waved it in front of her to create a great sparkling shield. Any bone that touched it would be obliterated into a thousand little chips before it could touch her.

Barek took up a flanking position so as to not get de-boned himself. In a flurry of explosive motion, he charged forward into the horde of undead, leaving behind him a wake of broken skeletons. Every movement brought a swift end to an animated monstrosity as he fought to clear an area around Fe’lier.

Slowly, they carved a path through the mass of cackling skeletons towards the mausoleum. Fe’lier could feel her wand heat up as the astral shield took on the field of bone. Finally, she was forced to sheath it again when it became burning to the touch.

They were now at the threshold of the mausoleum. There was no turning back. Barek slammed his shoulder into the iron-bound door with all of his might but bounced off with a mighty grunt. He snarled, set his feet and tried again to no greater effect. Sensing this approach was futile, he closed his eyes and looked down. Within a few seconds, white swirling tattoos became visible all over his body. Opening his eyes to reveal two shining pale orbs, he slammed his fist into the door and it exploded into iron shards and wooden splinters.

“I see the School was well worth your time,” Fe’lier said. “I hope they taught you a thing or two about vampires. I’m going to need your help against this foe.”

Barek’s complexion returned to its normal tone. He proceeded down the solitary stone staircase, steepening into the subterranean sanctuary. As the glow in his eyes faded completely, he smiled sheepishly and said “it’s still very difficult to control but a useful skill nonetheless. I will do my best to be of use to you in the coming battle.”

“A battle? Blah!” The voice startled the pair and they froze in place. It seemed to come from all around them. “A battle suggests that one side stands a chance of winning. No. This will be a massacre. Blah!”

They turned around just to be sure nothing was behind them. When they turned back, a genie was blocking their way.

“What battle can be fought by two opposing sides and won by both?” The genie asked of them.

“A civil war?” Barek asked treble-ously.

“That is correct, sir! Allow me to make like a tree and head out of here so you can get massacred by my master.” The genie did indeed make like a tree and dissipated into the musty atmosphere.

“That was awkward,” Fe’lier quipped.

They continued down the passage and presently they entered into a massive chamber. Load-bearing columns flanked the smooth stone walkway that was lined with skull-shaped candles. Several of the candles winked at them as they walked. One tried to flirt with Fe’lier until Barek smashed its waxy visage with an offended fist.

Fe’lier tore a sconce from a crumbling stone wall and lit it afire for the opposite side of the chamber was masked in darkness. Fe’lier seemed about to say something when Barek raised up a hand and dropped to a low crouch. His instincts proving true, dark shapes that seemed to consume the light from her newly lit torch swarmed from pillars upon the two heroes.

“Darklings! Barek, get behind me! This foe is beyond you.” Fe’lier drew her ruby-topped wand again and prepared to fight off the new assailants.

Fe’lier drew a handful of powder from within a pouch and tossed it into the air and then thrust her wand forward, muttering some foreign language. A bright burst of light emitted from it, causing the dust to burn brightly in its almost weightless descent to floor.

“There is much that is new about me, my Heart,” said Barek as he stepped in front of her. He began to glow anew as the first darkling entered his range and attacked with a shadowy clawed hand. With a shout defiance, Barek locked his grip on the wrist of his opponent with his left hand. And with his right, he grabbed its neck. The darkling began to emit a high-pitched scream as its points of contact began to smoke and dissipate under his vice-like grip.

“The lesson of this story, class,” the teacher told us as we sat in our chairs with bated breaths, “is that bone-chips are worth a lot of plat if you collect a lot of them.”

We all wanted to know what the ending was, but satisfied ourselves with knowing that our story ended with a lame and confusing twist.

End

The rushed ending was either a result of us arriving at the house at the end of the drive or space aliens abducting us  and wiping our memories. I don’t remember.

In any case, I apologize for the…ahem… quality of these stories. I know they probably blinded some of you with their awesomeness. I’ll be sure to make a braille  version of my blog sometime for those of you so afflicted.

Until then…I present to you The Lord of the Rings: In Facebook Chat form:

gollum-lord-of-the-rings-facebook-status-profile-picture

*Not made by me: I would’ve included a random Ringwraith scream somewhere in there.*

Shared Stories: C-C-C-C-Combo Post!

A scene:

You’re driving down a long stretch of highway. It is the dead of night (like 7:00 PM). You’re alone in the car. Except for two of your best friends and Avril Lavigne.

Unfortunately, Miss Lavigne is there only in CD-form, so the 7-hour drive is getting to be a tad boring.

The question: What do you do for fun?

If you answered “Have a contest to see how slowly and provocatively each of you can peel a banana, creating a scoring system based on the Food Guide Pyramid and the color ‘Enchanted Forest Green’ instead of numbers and letters”, you’re wrong. So wrong.

If you answered “Write a collaborative-fiction story”, you’re absolutely write!

This is what my friends and I came up with in the car on a laptop. The rules were: take turns contributing only one sentence at a time, try to have some kind of cohesive plot going, and don’t feed the Mogwai after midnight. We broke all of these rules.

Enjoy!

 

Jack flipped open the lid on his coffee maker and looked up at the clock with a defeated sigh. He thought maybe the batteries had died again, but it turns out he had overslept for 12 hours. Jill would have a laugh at him later today. With another glance at the clock, he grabbed his particle beam pistol from the top drawer of his dresser along with his keys and wallet and headed out the door. As he turned around to lock the deadbolt, a tumbleweed blew in between his legs and into the living room.

Jack felt a cold sweat coming on as he stared at the tumbleweed; the war had begun anew. He sent a telepathic message to his partner Cady, a powerful scion with the ability to teleport, that it had begun. He ran into the street, brandishing the particle beam pistol yelling “clear the road!”

Humans and crazy cat ladies alike scattered to the four winds as he hopped into his particle beam cannon armed forklift. He had barely gotten the thing to turn on when Cady materialized in the passenger seat of his oversized industrial forklift. Jack turned to face his soliloquy camera: “Tumbleweeds ain’t what they used to be.”

Cady hit the button to turn on the sirens and the forklift shot off into the Tumblesphere. Jack tore the radio receiver from his hip and hit the button, “this is agent 719. I’ve got a code 9000: unregistered tumbleweed home invasion on the west side of the city. Requesting immediate orders. Over.”

Cady flipped the charge weapon switch with a satisfying beeewoooawwow and looked at Jack with grim determination, “We’re ready.”

“Fire up the shields. We don’t want the space tumbleweeds to tumble us into the tumblesphere.”

Jack and Cady reached the headquarters where the Interstellar Agency for the Suppression of Overactive Tumbleweeds (or IASOT). Captain Mctumness, accompanied by Mcgreggor da Beggar, met them the door.

“What brings you here, Jack? Did you tumble off another hill and break another crown forklift?”

“You know, captain? That gets funnier every time you say it, but I gotta get over to decontamination and make sure I wasn’t exposed to any tumbleweed spores.”

He replied with a smirk, “We’re all professionals here.”

“I hope so. The last tumbleweed war resulted in the deaths of 2 people and 16 kittens so your men better be prepared for anything.”

Cady spoke up and said, “We got any leads on how these things are getting inside city limits?”

Just then another call came over the radio: “This is detective Gruff Mcgruff on the outskirts of city 17! We have a breach in the tumbleweed containment field!” The static from the comm system made it almost incomprehensible.

Cady teleported.

———- (generic section-break) ———-

Down on earth, Gruff Mcgruff stared at the ground where the tumbleweed containment field, a cow fence, stood with a gaping hole in it. He turned around and was relieved to see the dust cloud heralding the arrival of Bobby Joe on his repair wagon.

Bobby Joe rolled up, launching into one of his characteristic monologues, “Goddamn holes are getting bigger every year and the prices of zipties keep going up. I might just hafta open up my own ziptie shop at this rate.”

A tremor shook the ground and they turned to look across the fence to see Cady smashing a tumbleweed with her giant hammer. Jack ripped into the atmosphere in his Pulse Cruiser 9001, flame cannons blazing the way.

Bobby Joe took the piece of straw out of his mouth and exclaimed, “Daggum!”

The triumphant moment didn’t last long as Jack’s Pulse Cruiser was quickly covered by surface-to-air tumbleweeds. Jack screamed “Code Yellow!” into the radio receiver. It was what Suppressors called the Snowball Effect.

Bobby Joe took the piece of straw out of his mouth and exclaimed, “Daggum!”

Jack quickly executed a number of invasive (yes, invasive) maneuvers, designed to shake the tumbleweeds off of his already deteriorated hull. Cady, having experience with such situations, began constructing “the Reaper”.

Bobby Joe helped her out. The Reaper was almost exactly like a lawnmower and he had a lot of experience with them. At the sight of his distraction, Gruff Mcgruff yelled at Bobby Joe: “Get to work on that fence! Those two agents risking their necks out there will be for nothing if we don’t get this fence mended double quick!”

By virtue of Gruff’s assertiveness, the fence was repaired double quick.

The ground began to shake and the air in the distance became filled with dust. Bobby Joe pumped his fist in the air and said “George Warshington’s left testicle! Them idiots down there finally got the Great Tumbleweed Eater online! Yeehee!” It was a triumphant moment for mankind.

End

 

He's my hero.

Thank you kindly for perusing this masterpiece of American literature, surely destined to go down in history as the foremost example of smarmy intellect and anti-tumbleweed stratagem.

I know you’re thinking that it probably took us years to polish it. But you’re wrong. In fact, we wrote another one during that very same drive! I’ll post it tonight.

Italicized gasp!

Groove Writing

“Get into the groove boy

You’ve got to prove

Your love to me, yeah

Get up on your feet, yeah

Step to the beat

Boy what will it be?”

– Madonna: Into the Groove

I am truly sorry if you’re the type of person who gets songs stuck in your head purely from reading lyrics.

But I had a point to make.

I love to write. Many people do. So what is it that prevents aspiring writers from writing? Why does everyone and their pet squirrel know the term “writer’s block?”  I would suggest, in a purely sarcastic, please-don’t-take-me-seriously-or-it-may-lead-to-chronic-brain-disorders kind of way that writers have a hard time actually putting words to the page because

Okay… this post was getting excruciatingly boring. Like the mid-point of a sappy romance novel. Or a monkey running and screeching straight for you only to stop and not start up a discourse on hot-wheel collections.

A common method that authors use is to write the same sentence over and over and over until it finally clicks that they should probably go get a little sun.

So I’m just going to post my latest ten-minute story and listen to some 80’s music. Thank you for reading and remember: stay on target! Stay on target!

The Wayfarers

“Nobody’s ever been that interested in the ferry before,” the ferryman observed aloud, his fingers lightly resting on his mustache. “Most people want to know all about the island. Which is understandable of course. There are not many islands in the world made entirely from the shell of a long-dead gigaturtle.”

“Right,” Samuel said. “But everybody knows of the island’s history. The Wayfarers are not interested in well-known, established history. We know that there are things in this world that Man has not yet discovered, and these are the very things that we endeavor to find.” Samuel took a long draw from his electric cigar. “After all, it was a fellow wayfarer of mine, my mentor in fact, that discovered the first gigaturtle skeleton.”

“Jackson Killion is your mentor?” the ferryman said with surprise in his voice.

“Yes. And if I’m ever to achieve the fame that he has, I need you to stop delaying your answers. Now, tell me about this ferry.”

Samuel Kyteslayer held a long, slender vibro-knife against the ferryman’s throat.

“Damn! Alright! I’m just the driver of the thing, so I don’t know the specifics. But I can tell you that you can find more information from Jillian Clide.”

203 words in 10 minutes at 10:03 AM on Dec 17, 2011

Awww! It's so little!