Wednesday, May 30, 2018

100 Words a Day 1211

I shot a glance at the rearview mirror. My mouth went dry when I saw the headlights. They were closer. I pressed the accelerator down as far as I dared; I was still too far outside the city for streetlights, or even straight roads.

I wrenched the wheel back and forth, trying to stay on the pavement. As I swerved, I felt the wheels lose traction as they ran over the muddy ground on either side of the narrow road. I didn’t dare look back, but bright lights reflecting off my rearview mirror told me they were still following me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

100 Words a Day 1210

“Brother Li, this can’t be the right place. There’s no way the greatest boxing master in the province would be in a place like this.”

The three-story building leaned alarmingly to one side. Half a sign hung from a piece of rope: “Gamb.”

“It matches Big Brother’s description,” Li said.

Shrugging, Li took the worn path to the steps of the building. Zhao lagged behind, trying to figure out why a famous teacher would spend his time in a building that barely had one shutter per window.

Li opened the door the two brothers were hit by a smoky cloud.

Monday, May 28, 2018

100 Words a Day 1209

Deep in the bowels of the submarine, neither George nor Neil saw the leviathan emerge from the black abyss. The impact of the great beast against the submersible sent them crashing around the engine room.

Unfazed, George hauled himself over to the pressure gauges as the sub continued to rock under the leviathan’s assault. Neil struggled to stand and was thrown against the walls of the room repeatedly.

“Stop foolin’ around, boy.”

When Neil was finally back at his station, he jumped each time the leviathan’s blows echoed through the metal tube.

“Agh, it’s not even a hundred tons, boy.”

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

100 Words a Day 1208

The members of the Iron Brotherhood filed through the Threshold of Infinity, each pressing their lips to their fingers before touching their palms to the Eye of Astro-Eternity. Once inside the grand meeting hall, they took their appoint places at the Dark Table. When all the seats were filled, except the Siege Perilous, they began to intone the Litany of The Castigation of Man. This lasted until the Hour of the Wane Man. When their chanting ceased, the gibbous moon was high overhead, visible through the Window of the Pale Eye. As a single entity, they stood up and turned.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

100 Words a Day 1207

When the red mist faded, Shahzad’s lungs were working like bellows. He looked down. His slippery hands held an enormous sword that he didn’t recognize. He looked around. Corpses lay so thick that he wouldn’t be able to find a bare patch of ground between himself and the field’s edge. He dropped the sword and stumbled forward, unsure in which direction his camp lay. He was tired. Lifting his feet was a struggle and by the time he reached the tree line he had fallen many times. Eventually, he found the a sea of empty tents with smoldering cooking fires.

Monday, May 21, 2018

100 Words a Day 1206

“Hi there.” 

An elaborate glass filled with an unusual, swirling liquid appeared next to Jake’s cheap beer. The owner of the glass had a smooth, soft arm the color of melted caramel.

“Uh, hello,” Jake said, turning. The eyes of the woman who addressed him were dark and smoky, but flashed with something he would’ve described as predatory, if he’d possessed the awareness. Nor did he notice the sinister appearance created by the sharp lines of her makeup.

“Your beer’s empty,” she said.

“Huh? It’s fresh.”

He lifted the can and shook it. Nothing.

“Let me buy you a drink.”

Sunday, May 20, 2018

100 Words a Day 1205

Elizabeth’s eyes asked again why he had to go. She held their daughter in one arm and reflexively clutched the air with the other.

“Och, Lizzy. Yah know I have ta go.”

“Can’t yah find somefin else?”

George shook his head. He said something, but the deep horn of The Day Star drowned out what he said.

Lizzy looked up at the ship. The bow leered down at her. Other crewmen walked up the long gangplank, heads bent. Like the condemned.

George turned and took a step towards the behemoth. Lizzy suddenly seized him his arm with her free hand.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

100 Words a Day 1204

The ship cut through the frothing undersea, bioluminescent algae turning crimson as it touched the metal hull. The ship’s wake looked like the trail left by a wounded animal.

Johnathan Bartlett leaned on the railing, looking down at the water being churned by the propeller.


John turned. Herbert limped towards him.

“What is it?”

“It’s eating through the hull. The front hold is flooding.

He rushed towards the bow. Herbert hurried to follow. The hold was half-flooded by the time they reached it. The glowing algae turned the room blood-red. It felt like an omen.

“What about the sharks?”

Friday, May 18, 2018

100 Words a Day 1203

I felt awful when I woke up. My head hurt and my muscles ached. I eased myself into a sitting position. The light from the window made me squint when hit it my eyes. I wanted to fall back into bed, but I forced myself to stand. I staggered to the bathroom. I turned the water on and splashed some water on my face. When I looked up at the mirror, I went as cold as the water coming from the tap. I reached up and touched my face, to make sure it was still there. I had no reflection.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

100 Words a Day 1202

A guard appeared at the end of the alley. Sahla turned and started running back the way she had come. The guards chasing her were already coming down the alley. She cast a quick glance over her shoulder, more guards. She drew her sword. It was straight and strong. Precious stones, mismatched, decorated the hilt. She charged towards one set of guards, reaching into her belt pouch as she did so. As she reached the first guard, she threw the contents of her pouch in his face. He fell back, screaming and dropping his sword among the dark alley muck.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

100 Words a Day 1201

With one great, final swing, the grinning giant’s ax tore out the last of the woody flesh supporting the Life Tree. It started to lean and a terrible sound filled the air. Every being anywhere on the Infinite Plane stopped what they were doing and stared as the tree fell. Its terrible death cry overwhelmed all other sounds. After the enormous trunk hit the ground, the awful wail stopped. It was replaced by the sound of the tree impacting the earth. After that, a great tremor shook the whole of the plane, carrying with it the lament of the ages.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

100 Words a Day 1200

Morg peeled the prickly skin from the fruit with his knife, as he had seen Faraj do. Underneath, the meat of the fruit was bright red. As he handled the fruit, its cool, sticky juice covered his hand. The first bite was unlike anything he’d ever eaten. The flesh of the fruit seemed to dissolve as he bit into it, releasing more of its sugary juice. It left a cool trail down his throat when he swallowed it, giving him some small relief from the desert heat.

“It’s good, eh?” Faraj asked.

Morg nodded, sucking the juice from his fingers.

Monday, May 14, 2018

100 Words a Day 1199

Rachel stepped through the door of her apartment and onto the moving walkway. The security lock closed around her feet. A familiar beep indicated that it had confirmed her identity. It whisked her away, handing her off to other moving walkways, until she arrived at work. The locks unclamped and she stepped onto the platform outside her office. After changing shoes, she stepped onto the office walkway. It carried her deeper into the building. It ran more smoothly than the public moving walkway, but it was pitch dark. It deposited her at her cubicle, lit by a buzzing florescent light.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

100 Words a Day 1198

The only one who saw it coming was a little girl looking out her window. And she thought it was just a strange flock of birds. She didn’t have time to realize her mistake; her building was the first to be destroyed. The enemy’s latest wonder weapon, a fleet of glider-mounted bomb, soared silently over the town. When they reached the center of city, the gliders dove.

The explosions shattered the early-morning tranquility. As the echoes of destruction faded, wails of pain and terror replaced them. When the sun was up and the smoke had cleared, few buildings still stood.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

100 Words a Day 1197

“Are the interlopers prepared?” Sasha asked.

Alexi nodded, eyes hard.

Sasha donned her ceremonial robe and took the Dagger of Eternity from its waiting place. She strode through the main doors, pausing to look at the assembled community. They stood in a circle on the large green before the temple. At the center of the circle were a series of large standing Xs. Tied to each was one of the interlopers. When they saw her, they started shouting.

Sasha ignored their insistences that they were simply traders. Even if they were, the dictates of the Lord of Eternity were clear.

Friday, May 11, 2018

100 Words a Day 1196

The lights in the submarine went out, plunging the interior into absolute darkness. The engines ceased.

“I hate passing through the Wyrding Depth,” Joseph said. His voice echoed through the silent ship.

The Wyrding Depth ran from about 300 feet to about 350 feet. Some unknown phenomenon caused the all mechanical and electrical functions on submersibles to cease. While unnerving, this wasn’t especially problematic during descent. When attempting to return to the surface however, it meant that crews were entirely dependent on compressed air to ascend. More than one crew had been lost because of insufficient supply or a malfunction.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

100 Words a Day 1195

Herold’s feet ached so badly he could hardly walk. It had started as a rash. Then his skin bubbled. Last night, the bottoms of his feet had burst and were leaking an ugly pus. He could smell it even through his socks and shoes.

I’ll have to throw them away when I make it out, he thought to himself.

The pain in his feet made traveling hard. He knew he had at least a few more days of walking before he got out. He was happy that he had at least found a familiar trail that he knew led out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

100 Words a Day 1194

My belief that the dark jungle verdure would never end was abruptly shattered when my machete clanged off a heavy piece of stone. It had been so covered in vines that I had thought it was part of an old tree trunk. I was intrigued. Once my leaden arm had recovered from the jarring impact, I cleared the old foliage. This revealed a statue that reminded me of the tiki idols the natives worshipped elsewhere on the island. Where those bore at least a passing resemblance to human faces however, this one had great, bulbous eyes and no evident mouth.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

100 Words a Day 1193

It was the worst time of the year for my commute. The traffic was as bad, as it always was. I could never get the inside of the car to be a comfortable temperature, so I was constantly fiddling with the temperature controls. I had to squint against the sun for the entire hour, both ways.

I had a headache from the bright sunlight. I knew from experience that it would last most of the day. And I would get another headache on the drive home. I asked myself, and not for the first time, why I didn’t change jobs.

Monday, May 7, 2018

100 Words a Day 1192

The smoke from the small cooking fire was invisible in thick morning fog.

“Time to get up, girl,” the old hag said, giving Sarah a light shake.

The old woman stood straight and strong, like the trees. Her face was unmarred by the lines that creased across of many of the women she’d grown up with and her clothing was sturdy and well-made. She was clearly ancient, but her age was as indeterminate as the age of the vast forest.

Sarah stretched and threw back her fur blanket. When she stood up, she only came up to the hag’s chin.

Friday, May 4, 2018

100 Words a Day 1191

Aicher found himself standing in a graveyard under a twilight sky. A chill wind, thick with the stench of decay, made him turn. There was a pale man behind him, wane and with sunken cheeks. When he saw Aicher’s face, his cataracted eyes lit up and he smiled. He reached out with both arms, white shroud slipping back and revealing shriveled arms.

“My son,” he said in a dusty voice.

“Father.” Aicher embraced the wan man. He felt bones beneath the old man's papery flesh.

“I’m so tired. I tried to come when you called, but it’s so difficult now.”

Thursday, May 3, 2018

100 Words a Day 1190

They had prayed around the body all night. Their voices were hoarse. The corpse was still. The sun started to peek over the horizon, and the supplicants collapsed in exhaustion. Their god had not answered their prayers. Now they were too spent to even grieve. When they had rested sufficiently, they would rise and begin funeral preparations. It would take an entire day to complete. By the time they had finished, they would be sufficiently recovered from their night of prayers and be ready to let their grief out in long wails. These too were a prayer to their god.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

100 Words a Day 1189

The jungle humidity dragged on them, imparting a lethargy to the two men that reduced the speed and enthusiasm of their poling to a minimum. Regular dipping of their heads in the slow-moving water did little to cool them, and there was constant danger of emerging with some river parasite stuck to their face. They forgot that this part of the river ran through the range of an especially hostile group. The heat made it hard to think. They were still many miles from their destination when the lead man tottered for a moment, then fell headlong into the water.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

100 Words a Day 1188

It was a cold February morning when I finally decided to brave my uncle’s wrath and descend the basement stairs, to see for myself what was making so much noise. There was no sound on the journey down apart from the creaking of the old stairs. The light switch did nothing. Fortunately, I’d had the forethought to bring a flashlight. The first thing the beam illuminated was a large, wooden crate covered in faded writing. I thought I could make out the words “live specimen.” A thud made me turn and flash the light into the corner of the room.