Wysteria Yewberry made her way slowly along the dirt path to her cottage. She had given the boy all of the power she had left for his epic battle - not for his sake or even for the glory of victory, but in memory of the man she’d held most dear. He’d never noticed her (his affections had always belonged to Lily Potter), but that mattered little to her heart. She mused that this … unrequitedness … could be the very thing that bound the two of them together forever (if, in the end, it couldn’t be love).
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 29-06-2012
When Vinzo Albi took the stage, several people laughed. One man grinned derisively to his friends and mimed an enormous gut with his hands. Albi raised the violin to his chin and began to play: the jarring sounds of being bullied, the broken squeaks of tears in a pillow, a bright note hiding the dark edge of anger, the meager comfort of music in the face of loss and loneliness – all there. The audience sobbed, then erupted in deafening applause. The mimer rushed to the stage, but Vinzo did not shake his hand. That guy was a total dick.
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 28-06-2012
“It’s awkward as hell,” Claire said uncomfortably as they passed through decontamination to debriefing, “but I’m sure we can put the past behind us. We’re just two engineers floating around the Space Station. Bygones?” Mara turned her head and smiled broadly. “I think it’s awesome,” she said. “The truce?” Claire asked, looking visibly relieved. Mara’s smile grew wider still, her eyes glittering with frost. “The fact, my dear,” she replied in a whisper, “that, in space, no one can hear you scream.”
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 27-06-2012
Herrick entered the parlor softly. “I apologize for the intrusion, Madame, but Faye Meriweather is coming to the front door pulling a small wagon behind her.” “A wagon? Is she selling something?” Mrs. Undercrypt asked, peering over her glasses. “There appear to be two heads in the wagon, Ma’am.” “Heads?” “Yes, Ma’am.” “Human heads?” “I believe so, Ma’am.” The lady of the house set her embroidery hoop down firmly on the table and smoothed her overskirt. “Well, I shall need my coin purse, Herrick, and then you may show her in.”
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 26-06-2012
It had been a brutal day on the set; they shot that stupid scene so many times, Randi thought she’d never get it out of her head. She was too tired to turn the props in, so she set the clown in a chair in her trailer bedroom and threw herself onto the comforter face first. She woke suddenly, hearing the faintest thump of someone moving about and the softest swish of clothes. “No way,” she said, her pulse climbing. She raised her head slightly and confirmed that the clown was nowhere to be seen. “Oh, my God,” she whispered, afraid to move.
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 25-06-2012
When they came to do the news story, Charlie was in disbelief. War hero? WAR HERO? Why had he never said? Landscapers had found the buried medal out in the yard near the rose bush; that was what had started all of the fuss. Now, as the Distinguished Flying Cross was presented to its owner once again, his friend stood straight and tall, a paw raised in salute. “I thought you were deranged,” Charlie whispered as a proud tear rolled down his face, “but you really got the Red Baron, didn’t you, Snoop?”
Filed Under (Reaper Ratings) by Tansy on 24-06-2012
If you’re a fan of the short story, as I am, collections and anthologies are the reading equivalent of Disneyland – unforgettable when they’re good, barely a head shake before you move on when they’re not. Here are two of the best I’ve recently come across:
William Malmborg’s “Scraping the Bone” is one of the best dark fiction collections I’ve read so far; tight, grisly little gems that stay clear of being too complicated but do not lack style. The author gives just as much time to each story as it needs; there’s no droning on here. “Scraping” gets a Reaper Rating of 4 (“Thrill Kill”) for delivering an old school creepfest in a modern setting.
Dan DeWitt’s “Underneath: Short Stories of Horror and the Supernatural” also loves its genre and stays true to it. The stories provide a host of great characterizations in creative predicaments that compel you to stay in the tale to learn what ultimately happened. DeWitt uses the collection as marketing for his upcoming book “Orpheus”, however, so a goodly chunk of it is the first few chapters of something else. “Underneath” gets a Reaper Rating of 3 (“Timely Departure”) for undeniable magic while it holds.
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 23-06-2012
“So, how did you know you were a goner?” Syler asked Croft, who laughed. “Well, there was a slow build to crescendo, then it dropped right off to silence.” “It was right behind you?” “Exactly.” “And you?” Syler gestured over to Pike. “Nothing but silence,” he replied with a grin, “and then a loud WAH WAH WAH when it rushed me out of nowhere.” More laughter erupted. “What about you, Syler? Let’s hear it!” He smiled and raised his glass. “Almost at the front door when a child’s music box started playing upstairs.” They winced and raised their own glasses.
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 22-06-2012
“It seemed to me,” Yvonne began, “that I had a good life. I had all of the basic stuff, plus some money, some fun, some people who loved me (and love me still),” she paused for a moment, “but I despaired anyway. Ultimately, I had to ask myself why I was such a complete twat.” Shelby gasped and Yvonne smiled. “Y’see, disappointment is a real affliction to some – and only a habit to others. I knew which one I was.” Yvonne reached out and took her friend’s hand. “You gotta ask yourself, Honey: in the whole, wide world of “Woe is me”, are you for Woe or Me?”
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 21-06-2012
The men towed the car and swept the surrounding grounds for … anything else; the women gathered the personal effects and moved them to storage for the annual auction. Sad that they had the process down, but worse that visitors so frequently failed to take them at their word. When someone says, “Don’t open your hotel room curtains on Wendigo Wednesdays; if you look, you’ll scream and, if you scream, they’ll find you!” you’d think that’d be adequate food for thought. But then the howling would begin … and they looked. They always looked.