Article Category Archives: Short Stories

Fantasy, science fiction, and horror stories between 1500 and 5000 words.

  1. Orc Legal

    I stopped counting two hundred and thirty-seven days in. That was the day the magistrate told me that I only had eight more hours of community service to earn my freedom. Magistrate also followed that up with “I’m going to see to it you never get those eight hours, filthy orc”.
    The jail cell was getting smaller.[…]

    2,989 total views, 3 views today

  2. My Favorite Photos of Anne

    I am no storyteller, but I photograph my wife every day.
    One of my favorite photos of Anne shows her sitting on our bed, face stretched and beaming, with the little white pregnancy test stick in her hand. Her freckles glow in the picture. Her eyes jump at will between green and brown. Most indoor photos give them a darker tint, but not this snapshot. Her single dimple, left side, is deep and at its face-cheering best. Anne’s dark curls wear sun-bleached highlights because it dates to late summer, only six months before the first death in Vermeer Park.[…]

    2,818 total views, 3 views today

  3. The Peacemaker

    The Nova walks into the room. Then he glides into the room. The next time, he tries coming in through the window. The producer wants to make it look as natural as possible, so they do it a few more times from a couple of different angles.
    Then it’s my turn. For this episode, they’ve dressed me in what my PR guy tells me is my signature outfit. Black dress slacks, black sports coat, white button-down shirt, and skinny black tie, nicely contrasted by the scruffy black Chuck Taylors and about a half a day of forgetting to shave or brush my teeth after the last beer.[…]

    2,492 total views, 4 views today

  4. Descant

    It was an occasion of truce, as King Hubert of Xonia and his retinue attended the annual ceremony hosted this time by the Kingdom of Yostec. A number of other kingdoms were also participating, but the focus was on Xonia because they were the closest and fiercest rivals to Yostec, with a decades-long border dispute, and their king was young and untested. Would he make his mark here—or fail to?[…]

    2,991 total views, 2 views today

  5. Winter Solstice

    It is not easy to live backwards in time, even when you are Merlin the Magnificent. You would think it would be otherwise, that you would remember all the wonders of the future, but those memories grow dim and fade more quickly than you might suppose. […]

    3,849 total views, 1 views today

  6. The Reanimators

    The three dead guys in my squad kept making too much noise. They shuffled their feet, dragging tattered boots through the underbrush, and every loud rustle, every crunch from their clumsy steps made the rest of us cringe. The living had dark stains growing down the armpits and backs of our shirts despite the cool air. […]

    2,684 total views, 1 views today

  7. A Concert of Flowers

    The packed concert hall was far from silent. People whispered to their neighbors, fancy clothing rustled, jewelry chimed. In the wings, William Reis waited, the sound of his rapidly thumping heart filling his ears. […]

    2,660 total views, 3 views today

  8. Four Scenes From Wieczniak’s Whisk-U-Away, And One Not

    Have a seat, the two of you, and your little girl. You took a taxi here, as I requested? Oh, good. The mall owner, Mrs. Tiffin, she’s always hounding the police to tow away everyone’s cars. I tell her you’re my customers, travelers, you need a place to park overnight — but no, she claims you’re stealing spaces from the Hallmark store. […]

    7,634 total views, 3 views today

  9. Verdure

    The sun is finally starting to come up, but I don’t feel any safer. Little rays of sun filter through the mass of vegetation that surround us in a nearly three-hundred-sixty degree radius, but it’s still only barely enough to notice, let alone shed any actual illumination. The green is all around us — wet and dense and, it seems to me, angry at the intrusion of the squad stomping our clumsy way through. […]

    3,101 total views, 1 views today

  10. The Fine Art of Fortune-Telling

    “She’s not in,” I say. “She probably forgot all about it, I told you she’s flaky like that. Come on, let’s go. We can get something to eat on the way home. Pizza would be nice.”
    Alan looks at my hand, which is gripping his elbow, and then at his finger, which is still on the doorbell. “It’s usually traditional to wait until the bell stops ringing before you decide nobody’s going to answer it.” […]

    3,835 total views, 4 views today

  11. JC The Ski Bum

    “Jesus taught me how to ski,” the kid in the bright orange ski pants said to the middle-aged lady next to me on the chairlift.
    She barked a sharp but friendly laugh. “You mean Haysus, don’t you? Didn’t know they had a Latino ski instructor up here.” She waved a hand toward the day lodge, the bright lights for night skiing casting shadows on the run below us. […]

    3,471 total views, 3 views today

  12. The Sculptor’s Son

    Elijah’s hands worked the cool clay until the little girl’s eyes reflected innocence, and her lips formed a smile. The figure, half his height, mimicked a child of seven or eight. Sculpting had shaken off the dread brewing since the call an hour ago. […]

    2,594 total views, 2 views today

  13. The Unforgiving Minute

    If and I were kicking back in the garage loft, what a lot of people would call a “man cave.” My wife, Dee, used to call it my tree house, ’cause you gotta climb a ladder to get to it. Maybe she still calls it that. I don’t know. […]

    3,138 total views, 3 views today

  14. Sponsored by…

    The ground rumbled under Captain Dave Stiller’s feet as two M81 pocket tanks rolled by. Large red letters on the turrets spelled out B-U-D-W-E-I-S-E-R and negated the usefulness of the camouflage paint. The tanks threw up clouds of Fort Dix sand and scattered swarms of gnats. […]

    2,441 total views, 1 views today

  15. Seven Conversations in Locked Rooms

    The lawyer looked at his watch for what must’ve been the hundredth time. “It’s a good thing that they’re taking this long. Means the jury is seriously considering our argument, at least. A quick verdict would’ve likely been bad news.” […]

    2,740 total views, 3 views today

  16. Shades of the Past

    The pond was stagnant, sickly. Globs of yellow foam floated on the surface, while cattails lay flat on the ground along the water’s edge, as though expired from the effort of trying to crawl free of the horrible scum. “Betcha five bucks you won’t stick your foot in,” said Brandon Styles to his new friend Jarvis. […]

    3,744 total views, 2 views today

  17. Single-Bit Error

    Before he met Lydia, Tyler’s life, like the lives of most people, involved the steady accretion of names. Names were just shorthand for memories, and young Tyler did not yet understand that we define each name in life twice: the first time as a promise of the future, and again later, when it is a summary of the past. […]

    5,304 total views, 2 views today

  18. In the Shadow of Dyrhólaey

    Einar Jónsson wasn’t the first to see the ship entombed in the rocks, but little did I know then, he was one of the few Icelanders who could actually do something about it. “If I only had enough time,” he said to me, as we stood on the black sand and stared at the tell-tale stones, “and sharp enough chisels, by God, I think I could really bring out the shape of it.” […]

    4,319 total views, 1 views today

  19. A Trade of Tears

    Khallan righted his bicorne hat and trudged up the muddy slope overlooking Taliomar. Half a day he’d waited, so fewer people would spot him at this late hour. Evening fog snaked through the city as lantern-keepers on stilts lit street lamps with torches. Noble carriages scurried to their requisite abodes as red-coated Bravos patrolled the curbs. If he was successful, he’d ride in a carriage of his own soon. […]

    3,206 total views, 3 views today

  20. Da Capo al Fine

    Jack put resin to bow, an absence in his eyes.
    The violin’s neck was warm beneath his callused fingers. He had placed it upon the radiator to push back the midwinter frost, the musician within him fighting to preserve his instrument even as all else lay in ruins. Jack maintained it as he did his own body, by force of habit rather than any true effort of will, and in the past few days even the regular grind of sustenance and sleep had fallen away in the pursuit of his goal. […]

    5,329 total views, 3 views today