Microfiction: Program

The doctor made the robot to look exactly like her. It wasn’t perfect – on the contrary, it had all her acne, her gray hairs, her fifty-two scars. Its voice had her gravelly rasp, her eyes the not-quite-color of evergreen. By the time she was done, she could barely stand to see it.

“Now what?” the robot asked.

“Just go be me.”

“To what end?” Its head inclined, curious.

“I want people to think I’m okay. I don’t want them to watch me die.”

The robot nodded.

“Just pretend until you can’t anymore,” she ordered, ushering it out the door.

Microfiction: Squeak

Tippy kept a home for the ghosts of small pets. When the Jehovah’s Witness knocked on her door and saw Boogers the rat run through her ankle, he passed out cold.

She brought him inside, and, shooing away the ethereal birds from the couch, set him down. He woke up to a cup of tea, a biscuit and a surly specter guinea pig named Horace.

“I don’t understand,” he said, as a non-corporeal boa tried to wrap around the sofa leg. “Why…?”

“It’s easy for little lives to be forgotten,” she said. “Someone needs to remind them of their importance.”

Microfiction: Absurdity Squared

The plummet from the twenty-third story was surprisingly short. There was barely time to get accustomed to the rush of wind, limbs sprawling, the upward rush sending Tom topsy-turvy until he hit the ground, the whole journey taking three seconds before impact with the ground.

“Dude. You all right?”

Tom looked up at Finn standing over him. Well, his remains. Now, Tom was standing in the exact same clothes, and they watched his body fade into nothing.

“How many lives do you have left?”

“Five. I picked one up by the Starbucks.”

“Why’d you use one?”

He shrugged. “Slow day.”

“It looks like you’re having a burrito.”

The husband and wife looked up at the sonogram with vacant expressions, and as the doctor moved the wand over her jellied stomach, they could make out the curve of the tortilla wrap, the satisfying elongated roundness.

“The tests show beans, cheese, guacamole…ah, and chicken.”

He squeezed her hand as her eyes filled with tears.

“As you progress, we’re expecting sour cream. Maybe lettuce.”

She ran her hands through her hair, face tightening. The doctor smiled comfortingly.

“Just so long as it’s healthy,” the husband said, and she nodded, relieved laughter bubbling forth.

 

 

 

Microfiction: Four Fairy Tales

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, the spare for the heir was betrothed to a terrible prince in an effort to unite the families. The princess begged for it not to be, but they were married in the sweltering heat of August.

On her wedding night, she cut the prince’s throat with a cheese knife and ran into the cursed wood. There, she confronted a coterie of monsters and won their hearts.

Both kingdoms burned in the bright light of her vengeance, and the blood glowed in the streets.

Every monster deserves to pen their own ending.

The fairies sat in the shade of the mushroom, counting seeds and watching the sun rise. The world woke up with the trill of songbirds, and the neighborhood cat stalked after a field mouse, disappearing in a blur of gray in the grass.

The fairies held hands and saw that the leaves were beginning to change, green bleeding out into crimson, earthbrown, mustard. They pulled their vole capes close as the wind changed, and the harvest moon turned a pale white.

When the winter came, they parted on the backs of birds. They promised they would meet again in spring.

Even in the deep snow, the man heard the bear approach, giant paws sinking into the drifts of white. “My cave collapsed,” the bear said. “I have nowhere to go. Let me stay with you this winter.”

“I don’t have much food,” the man said, setting down the axe he used to chop firewood.

“I will not need to eat,” the ageless creature said, dark eyes swimming. “Only a safe haven.”

Against his better judgment, the man opened his door and ushered the great beast in.

There were no wishes granted for this, save warmth and company in his heart.

The Earth fell for the comet, and it watched wistfully as its beautiful tail arced through the darkness of space. “Come closer,” the Earth whispered. “Just for a time.”

The comet laughed and sped away but came back in time. It considered and said, “If I do this thing, I will hurt you. It is inevitable.”

“I do not care,” the Earth said. “Just grant me a moment with you, and it will be worth it.”

The comet’s embrace was one of fire and thunder,  and the Earth smiled even in the face of destruction, its final joy a shattering.

 

Microfiction: Sight

The psychic saw everything before it happened.

They picked up an umbrella even when the sun was bright, ignoring the stares because they knew when the storm was coming.

They held the elevator open because they could tell the woman running towards it needed this one win to keep from drinking that night.

They moved the chair so the little boy didn’t trip and bash his head on the bookshelf.

And when the beautiful stranger said, “Will you come eat with me?” they knew that their heart was at risk, saw the tearful goodbyes, broken promises, and said ‘yes’ anyway.

Microfiction: Birth, Ichor,Top 40

Danny watched as the egg began to crack in his hand. He had never seen something being born before, and the fact that it was happening in the center of his palm, the shell splintering slowly, the peeping from within becoming more frantic with the discovery of life…it made his eyes fill with tears.

Nothing else mattered in the world except for this tiny messy thing looking up at him like he was God.

“Go ahead,” his mother said, once the thing had fluffed itself to yellow cotton-candy consistency. “Give it back.”

It was the first time he said “no.”

“I’ve been poisoned,” she said to her sister as they sat on the porch, watching the tendrils of black infection creep up her pale arms.

“Does it hurt?”

“Naw,” she lied, each breath burning in her lungs.

“Is there an antidote?”

“If there is, I don’t know how to get it.” Blood was beginning to seep into her vision, casting a reddish glow on the little girl holding her hand so tightly and starting to cry.

“Tell me about your pony toys,” she said, picking up a pink filly in trembling fingers.

“That one is Twinkle-Butt.”

“Good name.”

I hate this song, Thomas thought before the car shattered around him. There was no slow motion to the destruction. This wasn’t a television show. He was just driving one second, and the next, glass had cut neat lines into his forehead and his airbag appeared like a grenade-powered cloud.

Stillness. And a wet dripping, from his nose and his mouth.

Pain and broken bones, and now he couldn’t move his arm to change the channel. In murky half-consciousness the voices of people outside were knocking and pulling at his door, and he said to them, “Pop music fucking sucks.”

Microfiction: Sand

I lie back on the sand and let the tide come.

It’s been months since they left. They said they would be back. They promised. They told me that it was just going to be for a little while and then they’d text or call.

Nothing.

A wave takes my phone, and I see the screen light up one last time, a silent scream into the oblivion of foam. Little sandbugs burrow by my fingers. Another rush bears me up and carries me into the surf.

They won’t have to worry anymore. I’m home now, submerged, and I go under.