Tag: Flash Fiction

The Fall

I was sitting in a tavern at a corner table, a pot of tea at my elbow, writing up my notes from my interview with the new royal family of Sehm. No one there knew who I was, or so I had assumed, but someone, somewhere, knew me, and knew where I was, because the young man didn’t even hesitate at the door. I was watching it when he came in, not that I was looking for anyone, I just happened to be looking in that direction, gathering my thoughts, when it opened. I noticed him immediately, and not just because he didn’t wait for his eyes to adjust to the dimness of the room before moving towards me. No, what I noticed was the smoothness of his walk, almost as though he was gliding over the floor. It was a poorly copied and over-exaggerated version of Reaper’s walk. On him it looked entirely natural, and not as though he were doing anything special, on the kid, it came off as an arrogant demand for attention, like a gun-slinger flinging back his jacket to clear the butt of his gun. That was the second thing that caught my eye. The first was his clothing. It wasn’t a uniform, but it was certainly worth a lot more than anyone else’s in that tavern, and was stain-free, which none of ours were. The young man stopped at my table and I blinked up at him in surprise. “Can I help you?” “My…

Last Stand

  I’d never given death much thought, never had much reason to despite the fact that I kill people for a living. When you’ve been killing people for as long as I have, you’ve seen it all. Death isn’t some mysterious thing to be scared of, it’s some guy in a bar sticking a rusty knife in your guts while you try to throttle him, or a guy with an axe knocking your brains out as you lie in the mud, or any number of other scenarios. I’d been death for enough people that I’d grown comfortable with the idea that, some day, someone I met would be mine. After that I guess I just put it all out of my mind and got on with the work of being other people’s death. I didn’t think about dying, not until that last day when I knew it was inevitable. I know, I’ve often said that nothing is impossible, nothing inevitable, but I lied. Some things are. The Captain told us that General Borgensen had chosen my mercenaries to be the rear guard. We were to hold the pass as long as possible and give the rest of the army time to retreat and regroup. That was shaite, and we all knew it. The general’s feet hadn’t touched the ground once between him hearing that the enemy was coming and him clearing the edge of camp. The regular army, mostly green recruits who couldn’t hold a spear straight let alone use…

Vampire Hunter

    Jonathan saw the demon’s eyes glaring balefully through the dark and the snow while he was still only half-way up the path. Their glow, glinting off the heavy brass ring in the demon’s mouth, followed him as he stepped carefully though the snow drifts towards the front door. He stopped at the bottom of the portico stairs uncomfortably aware that the demon could probably see the steel barrel of the Remington derringer through the heavy material of his right coat pocket. He had to screw up his courage before he could approach the demon any closer. With every step he took its grin grew wider, its eyes more sardonic. By the time he stood in front of it, his shirt was soaked with nervous sweat. The demon was even uglier and scarier when seen up close. He stared in fascination as the demon strained, soundlessly, to work itself free from the heavy oak door in which it was buried up to the shoulders. Its skin was covered in bronze edged black scales that seemed to ripple in the lantern light. After staring at it for several long moments, Jonathan grasped the ring clenched between its teeth and raised it. The demon’s tongue rasped across his fingers and he jerked his hand away, releasing the knocker which fell onto the demon’s fore claws with a heavy clanging thud that echoed through the house. Jonathan jumped away from the door. His fingers, already burned from where he had carelessly handled…

Golden Kangaroo

We hated the road even before they made it, but there was nothing we could do. A big shot in the city decided the track we had wasn’t good enough so the graders and steamrollers came leaving the scars of progress behind in a stinking black oil slick that cut through my fields. It was a long time before we learned to live with the rush and roar of the late night trucks. The house always shook when a particularly heavy load went past and plaster would fall from the ceiling into our breakfast, or into our eyes. We sometimes saw them with little red kangaroos painted on their doors, like the fighter pilots in the war, proud of their kills. The garden was never the same. The flowers didn’t like the fumes any more than we did, and our kitten was roadkill before it was a cat. That should’ve been a warning, and it was, though we didn’t see it that clearly at the time. We kept the critters indoors after that. We should’ve done the same for the kids. “Go out and play,” we said, “but keep away from the road.” And they did, usually. But a garden is no place to learn to ride a bike, so our son went out on the road. The first we knew of it was our daughter’s screams and we thought, “Just another fight,” but it wasn’t. We went out and found his bike — squashed flat, wheels bent at odd…