The Wish

March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of my rich Irish heritage (okay, maybe a quarter of me?), I’m celebrating the day not by getting plastered and running around like an idiot with a Kermit the Frog puppet hanging from my backpack, but instead with the one thing I love best–telling a story.

It’s short, silly, and probably not very good. Still, I had fun writing it. Enjoy!


The Wish

Amidst the chaos of climate change and wishy-washy weather patterns, spring had come early. Not budging in temperature or lack of precipitation for two weeks, people let out a collective breath and pulled out their light jackets. Joey maintained his heavy boots and gloves, though. Working outside for long periods of time always brought a chill to his bones.

This most recent assignment too him away from the city, away from even the most remote of the new subdivisions. Out in the country, one would frequently spot a patch of trees, even tiny forests larger than a few yards put together.

Not out here. Rural and countryside, no doubt, but these fields stretched into the horizon. Forests, true to their name, dotted the endless plains, filled with flora and fauna of all sorts. Possibly even some we know nothing about, Joey thought.

He pushed his way through the barriers of tall grasses and scraggly shrubs. Darkness, despite the patches of streaming sunlight illuminating the foyer of the smaller trees, reigned supreme. He stood still, clutching his weapon close to his torso, allowing his eyes to adjust.

So much green. Even this early in the year, the trees and all of their subordinates had sprouted into life, damn the potential frost or chill. Vines choked trees, plants littered the ground, and moss carpeted anything it could. Joey breathed in deep, the sweet and sour, musty and fresh scents mingled in his nose.

Whatever this forest boasted, whether real or not, would never expect such an early discover. Tales from travelers and even the errant farmer spoke of something emerging under the light of the moon or cover of darkness, destroying anything and everything in its path. There was no pattern, and no rhyme or reason. With zero percent failure, Joey had no doubt this would end the way his agency expected.

Small creatures scurried out of sight, leaving nothing but scattered dead leaves in their wake. Birds took off and landed, their screeches and cries echoing in the silence of the early morning. Joey’s footsteps crunched on the ground, but placed with care and practice as to keep attention away from himself.

Deeper into the woods he went, gripping his rifle tight, but held low. Eyes darted in every direction, scanning for any possible lair belonging to the scourge of the countryside. A mound, a fallen tree, or even a large nest up above might house this creature, this thing that no one could describe with anything other than fear.

Joey smiled. He had put down scarier beasts than the most experienced D&D player…and this was real life.

He checked his watch. Only fifteen minutes had passed. Behind, the treeline of the forest still stood close. Had he been walking that slow, or was this treacherous terrain? Not that it mattered, this job was over when it ended. He continued on.

Twigs snapped and leaves rustled. Nothing out of the ordinary, and not anything that would terrorize under cover of darkness. Still, he gripped his Model 70 tighter, finger grazing the trigger. One after the other, he stepped forth over a narrow fallen tree.

The nearest house had to be over two miles from here, a storage barn maybe one. So how did he hear music all of a sudden?

Cheerful, upbeat music, fiddles and flutes and drums all working together in rhythm and speed, emanating from somewhere ahead. Joey peered through the scope attached to his Winchester. Panning the forest from left to right and back again, nothing revealed itself. Still, someone or something was out there. Whether some carefully hidden musicians or a radio left behind by some partying country kids, Joey’s ears never deceived him.

It grew louder with every step he took. Moving in a straight line directly through the middle of the woods, Joey knew he followed the right path. More instruments joined in with the growing volume, sounds of rhythmic clapping and foot tapping rounding it out. Wherever it came from, it sounded like a pretty good hootenanny.

And then he saw it.

Through the dim light of the midday forest, golden illumination flooded out of a three, tall and wide. On the side opposite Joey, the light and music spilled onto the forest floor. He crept around the base, holding his breath.

An opening no taller than a toddler and just as wide revealed itself. Joey backed away, but cocked his body to the left, allowing him to see inside. While the tree was no more than three feet wide, the inside held much more, a paradox to the human eye.

Not to Joey. Some of the things he had seen and dealt with would cause a comic book artist to faint. This was real. And he knew exactly what was inside.

None of them had noticed him. The ten little folk, no taller than two feet each, danced and clapped and played their music. Amongst the ornately carven interior, the leprechauns carried on without a care in the world. However long this fete had been going on was anyone’s guess, but Joey had a feeling they never kept track. While legends dictated that he would get three wishes by catching one, he knew that to be nothing but a mummer’s tale. Something else was going on here, and he knew exactly what.

Whipping around, he raised his rifle and prepared to fire. Silent and lithe, the giant snake reared back, ready to strike. Had he waited even one second longer, those massive fangs would be sunken to the gums in Joey already.

“Don’t even think about it,” he whispered. “Don’t make another move.” Animals rarely understood when he talked to them, but it comforted him to do so. Pointing a long gun at them usually got the point across, but a well-timed bullet also helped.

Slowly, the snake sunk closer to the ground. Its forked tongue flickered, eyes locked on Joey’s. Trailing off into the distance, the only possible way to measure its length would be to kill it, but the head had to be the size of a moped. At its widest, the tube-like body rivaled that of Joey’s wide, muscular frame, but could easily swallow him whole.

He held firm, feet not moving. If the pale green reptile speared into him, it would take quite a bit of force to knock him over. One bullet from his gun, however, would make a quick end of his stand-off foe.

“Ye didnae fall fer it!”

The voice resembled every stereotypical leprechaun voice he had ever heard on television or a movie. Those sprang from truth, Joey reflected, so it made sense. He never took his sights off the massive beast or lower his weapon, but the wee-folk had his attention.

“You were a distraction.”

“True. And our friend brings us the baddest of the bad.”

“I’m not bad.”

The snake moved backwards, less than a foot. Joey’s finger grazed the trigger, but didn’t squeeze too tight.

“Yeh’re all bad. Yeh jes’ don’na know it.”

The snake’s head lifted from the ground. Joey’s heart jolted. Before he could even blink, the beast reared fully back, immediately shooting towards him.

His ears rang with the gunshot. Before the snake even had a chance to open its wide, fang-filled mouth, Joey had pulled the trigger. The large green head exploded, blood spattering the surrounding trees.

He spun at the waist, right arm shooting forth. His fingers wrapped around the leprechaun’s jacket as the little man gasped. Joey lowered his gun as he pulled the wee-folk up to his eye line.

“I want a wish,” Joey growled.

“Yeh get three.” The leprechaun clawed at Joey’s hand and wrist, but may as well have been punching a brick wall.

Joey smiled. “I only need one. Get me a monster worth going after. Something that won’t go down without a fight.”

The leprechaun’s eyes threatened to bulge from its head.

“Yeh don’na want that! I’ve seen it, believe me, it’s ugly.” He rolled his eyes back to the tree. “Wanna come in an’ have a pint or two? Special brew, just for us wee folk.”

Joey pulled him closer so that their noses practically touched. “I like ugly. I want terror. I want evil. I want to feel like I need to run for the first time in my life.”

The leprechaun looked off to the side for a moment. A wide grin appeared as his eyes returned to Joey’s.

“How about a dearg due?”

Joey scoffed. “Stake through the heart.”

“Dullahan?”

“Give it gold.”

“Balore?”

He hefted up his rifle. “Shoot it in the eye.”

Beads of sweat dripped out from underneath the leprechaun’s bowler hat. He tugged at his collar, taking a deep breath.

“What about…Caorthannach?”

Joey dropped the little faerie. His mouth fell open, corners curling up. Slowly, he nodded.

“There’s no water around here. I won’t know what to do.”

“Wish granted, then.”

Joey looked down at the little man. “When and where?”

A sideways pillar of flame erupted scant feet to the left of Joey. He spun around, the darkness giving him no obfuscation as to what approached: a massive skull, enwrapped in fire.

He gripped his Winchester close to his body. That wouldn’t help, but it gave him comfort. The only thing he could do at this point was run.

Another burst of flame came close to him. The heat singed a few hairs on his arm. With a final look and nod at the leprechaun, Joey turned back towards the way he entered the forest and started to run.

He would have loved to take up the leprechaun on his offer of beer, but this was far better. Finally, a reason to run.

 

THE END

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Mummy Attack!

August 28, 2016

I promised you flash fiction, so here ya’ll go! More than that, I promised you the very first flash story I ever wrote–this is it! A friend had told me that “true” flash fiction was 100 words or less, but that’s not important. I managed to write something short that tells a complete story, and saves you time.

It was much shorter, but I had to fix some stuff. The writing was pretty atrocious, after all. Hey, I wrote it in 2004, what did you expect?

Anyway, enjoy!

MUMMY ATTACK!

I had been working as a grave digger for the past three months, literally working on the graveyard shift. Even though it was the end of September, it was hotter than blazes in the middle of the night. Worst of all, I was only half-way done with my work for the day.

At three in the morning, I took my lunch, as always. Color me disrespectful, but some of the tombstones made perfect picnic benches. As I sat down, a moaning wafted my way.

Jolting to my feet, I held my shovel in an attack position. My manager warned me about potential zombie attacks, but I had yet to experience one. This was no zombie, however.

It came quicker than I anticipated. A white blur ran in front of me. Seconds later, something from behind punched me in the head. Before my shovel even hit the ground, the white blur snatched it up.

Looking over my shoulder, I saw it behind my back. The sight of it grabbed hold of me, taking over my senses. I spun around, but stumbled backwards into the freshly dug shallow grave, knocking the wind from my lungs.

As it started piling the dirt on top of me, my eyes focused long enough to see what my bane truly was: MUMMY!


Thanks a lot for reading! Liked it? Hated it? Tell me in the comments!

If you enjoyed reading this, please check out My Smashwords Page for more writing, much of it free! (Okay, there’s only one story there now, but more is coming soon!)

In a Flash!

August 2, 2016

(Note: I’ve had this blog written for about four months or so by this point, but never got around to posting it due to things outside of my control. Finally, I’ve gotten a chance to tweak it and post it in all its glory. Enjoy!)

Way back in September of 2013, I declared on this blog and my Facebook page that I would be writing flash fiction and posting it for free—FOR FREE!!!—right here, on this blog. I did, once, but immediately took it down.

I didn’t really want to talk about it, but at the time it didn’t seem appropriate. My mother was diagnosed with cancer, and a lot of those flash stories were pretty gruesome. Most ended in death, for one or more people. While none directly addressed her situation, I felt it would be in poor taste given what my family was going through.

Fortunately, Mother is all better. They got it taken care of, and she’s never been better. My dad was recently in the hospital as well, but he’s doing good too, and they just celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary back in March! That’s big news.

But anyway, I’ve been thinking about the flash fiction quite a bit recently. I have a story that I revised a few months ago, and despite the fact that I could probably (possibly? Hopefully? Maybe?) get it published in an actual publication, I really don’t feel like messing around with it. I must have sent that story out to 50 or more publications over the course of three years before sitting on it for a while (leading up to the recent revision).

I realize something though.

I’m done with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that story and I’ll always love that story, no matter what anyone else says about it. Sitting around and waiting for someone to maybe say they liked it enough to publish it while I could just as easily do that makes zero sense to me.

So I’ve decided to self-publish it.

A part of me wanted to put it up here, on this blog. But then I realized, if I put it on Amazon or Smashwords or whatever self-publishing sites are out there, it has a better chance of many people reading it. Plus, it’ll be easier in the long run to direct people over to it.

So that got me thinking about my flash pieces I’ve had just sitting here, collecting virtual dust.

I’m finally putting them online. Starting very soon, free flash fiction will be published here on this blog. No editing (okay, maybe a little), no elaborate plots, and very little character development. You know what they will include? Great stories that don’t take a lot of time to read.

AND THEY’RE COMPLETELY FREE!!!

Is your mouth watering yet? I hope so—mine sure is!

The funny thing is, it made me think of a flash piece I wrote back in 2004, while bored in class. A friend told me that true flash fiction is 100 words or less. The story isn’t the greatest, but I did manage to tell a complete tale in under 100 words.

For me, that’s a big accomplishment. One that I’m proud of, and one that I can’t wait to share with you.

Assorted musings:

-Neil Gaiman has a nonfiction book coming out. I’ve been thinking about trying my hand at some as well. Yea or nay?

-I’m still waiting for that response, 7th Sea…

-Getting ready to get back into the latest novel. Hopefully it’ll be done before the leaves start falling!

-Whatever you think about the Game of Thrones tv series or even the books, George RR Martin still kicks ass, despite his slow speed at writing. Hey, all the more better, right?

-It’s August already. Ugh.

Doing it myself!

May 15, 2016

I’ve had about five blogs written in the past few weeks, but none of them seemed right to post, or I missed the right time frame, or some other thing that got in my way of letting you read them. That doesn’t matter, though, because it’s all pretty much the same thing. Today, however, I’ve come to a conclusion on a few issues, and feel that they need addressed.

First and foremost, this giant monkey on my back. Short stories, submitted to publications, that aren’t getting accepted. It happens, it’s happened for years, and will continue happening for a long time. It’s okay, because I expect it. What I don’t expect, though, is no response at all.

Every now and again, it happens. Sometimes the publication goes kaput, and instead of letting everyone know, they just dissipate. That’s annoying and rude, in my opinion, because sending out a mass email like many pubs have done, or simply posting to your homepage and/or Facebook feed that you’re over with is pretty quick and easy.

Sometimes, they don’t get your submission. If I email to ask, they’ll tell me they have no record of it at all.

Other times, they just kind of fart around and don’t help you. That’s what I’m talking about right now.

Two pubs in particular have been keeping me on the hook for a few weeks now, and it’s annoying. A lot of people are in the same position, so at least it isn’t anything against me personally. They haven’t updated their homepages, their Facebook feeds, nothing. Obviously, they are either kaput or have much better things to do with their time than fuck around with publishing stories about killer teddy bears and jilted android brides. (Hey, both of those sound pretty cool, actually. Anyone feel like taking a crack at them? I’ll publish it here for $5!)

I was preparing to send query emails to both of them this morning, but then I realized something very important. Why bother?

Say you’re out of a job. You’ve applied everywhere, and no one’s biting, even after a few really promising interviews. So you go out, and just go store by store, grabbing an application at every place along the street, regardless of what it is. Yes, I know it’s all done online now, but just go with it.

It’s been a month, and you haven’t heard from K-Mart, so you get ready to go over to the store and demand to speak with the manager, but as you’re going out the door, you stop. See, K-Mart has been on thin ice for years, and they keep shutting more and more stores down every year. Why obsess over a job that you probably will lose in a few months even if you do get it?

That’s how I feel. A lot of these publications are basically no better than K-Mart, and I’m a fool for worrying about them accepting my piece, even if they pay good money (they don’t, by the way).

So I’m self-publishing. I resisted for so long, but it has to happen. I write because I must, as they say, and I’ll keep doing it until I’m dead or run out of ideas. Yes, I’d love to make money from it, as it is what I went to college for. Every time I pay my student loan bill each month, I’m reminded of the fact that I’m paying all this money with little to no return investment. Unfortunately, I wasn’t privileged enough to have parents or other entities pay my college tuition for me, and loathe the fact that I chose to go into this path.

But, I’ve got a great day job (I’m in an office now, doing work I actually enjoy for once). Things could be worse, and life isn’t constantly kicking me in the nuts. I just want people to read my stories, be entertained, and walk away wanting more with a smile on their face.

So other things I’ve decided, as I said, are coming as well. Quite some time ago I was planning on posting free flash fiction on this here blog, but I backed out at the last minute. That’s in another blog, so stay tuned. Also, big news about “In the Pale Moonlight”, my novel you’ve heard me ramble on about so many times—I’m self-publishing that one, too.

I hate the daunting task in front of me that requires me to do 100% of the publicity, advertising, and fretting over things that take time away from me writing anything else, but it’s got to be done. Trust me, though, you’ll love what I have, and I’ll love you more for being a part of it.

Jade’s Last Stand

October 1, 2013

Today is the first of my free flash fiction pieces.  Written in a flash, edited in less time, it’s just something short and fun for ya’ll to read–that doesn’t take 4,000 words to say!  Sound off in the comments, but just remember: it’s free!  

Jade’s Last Stand

The Gray fell to the floor, dead.

Jade looked down on the skinny, rubbery-looking alien and tossed his pistol aside.  It bounced when it landed on his tightly made bed.  The barrel smoked, but not as much as the hole in the alien’s massive head.

Approaching twenty-nine, he had been abducted twice as many times in half as many years.  He couldn’t even keep track of how many anal probes he had received.  Tubes up his urethra, spikes in every limb, hoses up his nose, down his throat, up his ass and everywhere in between.

He had had it.

Once, he had fought back.  On the ship, on the way to whatever world these things came from—Jade had never been there, mind you, they simply took him up, flew off into space, and went joyriding while the scientists poked and prodded at him—he thrashed around.  Kicked on in the chest, another in the side of its massive dome.  One stood there quivering, speaking in that undecipherable hibbity-jibbity language of theirs, massive black eyes threatening to burst into flowing waves of goo.  Jade grabbed it by the throat and punched repeatedly.

Two Grays ran into the lab, shocked him with electric prods that looked a lot like his sister’s dildo (a tragic result of a really boring Sunday afternoon), and he went down.  When he awoke, his arms and legs had been amputated.  The scientists, now a little puffy and dented, laughed and taunted him.  Later on, after they sewed his limbs back, they amputated his penis and grafted it to his chin.

Jade tried hard to forget the memory of that day.  Much like the abductions, it never stopped.

But this time, early in October, mere days before his birthday, he had been getting ready for bed.  One of the Grays came to his room the same as always, its appearance telling him “Surprise!  Butt Sex!”  But not the good butt sex, like the kind he had once paid a hooker five-hundred big ones for.  Nope, it was the kind where he was on the receiving end, and not getting paid unfortunately.

Not anymore.

Jade bought a gun.  Like fluid, he saw the alien, dove for the bedside table, and yanked it out from the small drawer.  Before the creepy invader had a chance to blather in the ridiculous voice, Jade pulled the trigger.

It went down.  He was happy.

But outside the window, the ship appeared.  Jade’s skin became gooseflesh.  His scrotum shriveled into a prune.  His heart went into overdrive.  They were coming.  And whether he wanted to go or not, he was going.

Not anymore.

As the dildo-prod-bearing Gray security detail materialized in his bedroom, Jade laughed.  He picked up the pistol from his bed and aimed it at the intruders.  On second thought, however, killing them was a bad idea.  After all, they’d just send more.

Jade put the barrel of the gun in his mouth.  With a smile and a wink at the Grays, he pulled the trigger.

THE END

Lately I’ve been obsessed with flash fiction.  Not reading it.  And not even following the “rules” of flash fiction.  Typically, it’s considered anything 1,500 words or less is flash.  Some people say more.  Some say less.  I say flash means short.  Like, really short.

I’m getting ideas but they’re such pointless little action scenes or descriptions that they can’t go very far.  So far, all of them have been around the 500 word mark.

That’s short.  That is flash.

So why waste time sending it to a workshop, waiting for people to bicker over the appropriate use of the word “the”, and then try to market it to some editor who’d rather be snorting lines off his mistresses ass?

I’m publishing these myself.  ON THIS BLOG!!!

You get to read them for free.  There’s no way you’d pay for them, so why bother?

Plus, I’d be cheating you out of some really great writing if I didn’t do anything with them.

So, I’m putting them up here.  Probably one per week.  Maybe more.  Maybe less.  No one really knows.  I’m sure no one really cares either, but that’s far beside the point.

Whatever.  Stay tuned.  Free shit.  Who can argue with that?