Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 22-11-2013
“A ship is coming through the rift, Sir!” the lieutenant called out, signaling a battle yet to be. All eyes were riveted to the viewer, expecting to see the familiar silhouette of the enemy emerge. The thing coming through the space gate was not a ship, however; it undulated and oozed, its massive tentacles and many mouths somehow less impressive than its rows and rows of black and glistening eyes and unending ridges of sharp teeth. “The Ancient Darkness,” Sao Li whispered to no one in particular. “The Death of a Thousand Stars.” He removed his hands from the console, putting himself quickly into a deep meditation, preparing his spirit for release. Panic and noise exploded on the command deck, but he paid no attention to the orders barked at him. They would all learn soon enough: in space, plenty of people can hear you scream.
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 02-11-2013
Jennifer pressed through the gap in the back of the graveyard fence, looking over both shoulders to make sure she was not seen. First, she retrieved the bowl of Halloween candy she’d hidden amongst the stones; she left it there for all of the children who had passed before they could go trick or treating and it was always empty. Second, she walked over to the Latino section of the cemetery and likewise retrieved the empty box that once held skull-shaped sugar cubes for Day of the Dead. Maybe the squirrels and raccoons were watching her from the trees in a partial sugar coma, but Jennifer didn’t think so. The containers were always upright and intact, with no scratches, tears, or breakage. “Happy new year, everybody,” she whispered in parting (as she did every November 2nd).
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 14-10-2013
The evening prayers were led by Marsha this week – 20+ minutes of fields of glory, angels singing, being shown around paradise, and seeing those you’ve lost. The wrap-up was a call to action that mentioned vigilance, a stalwart heart, and devotion. At the end, some people in the nursing home’s common room were nodding and weeping. Earl whistled low, turned to Pete at his side and whispered, “Geez. I usually just ask not to be found dead on the toilet.”
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 26-09-2013
Roxie put the beverage down in front of the man in the dark trench coat. “Oh,” he said, “I didn’t order anyth-.” “I know,” she replied. “This is on the house.” He paused. “It’s very kind of you, but I don’t drink coff-.” “I know,” she replied again. “It’s tea. A ‘First Cut Black Tea Latte’ to be exact.” His eyes rose slowly to meet hers. “I recognize you,” Roxie said. “I used to work at a nursing home where you visited often, but never signed in. And then I saw you at the hospital when my dad was failing and thought, ‘What are the odds?’ and you, of course, haven’t aged a day.” His eyes were dark, almost black. “Look, I just wanted to stop by and give you this; I never saw you in the coffee line after all of those funerals. I guess I wanted to say that I know who you are and I bet you have some long days. I’ll be seeing you again sometime, I’m sure.” She smiled to hide her nervousness and then went back to the counter. Death sipped his tea, finding this particular day remarkable.
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 27-08-2013
When Death arrived, Sebastian Leed was waiting – propped up carefully on his Asian divan. “And here you are!” he said warmly. “Such a great look for you, but … it could be so much greater.” Leed gestured shakily to a costume form nearby. “It’s you, Sugar.” A robe created in rich black brocade hung there, slightly fitted through the chest and waist with tiny covered buttons; the pleatwork dripped with black Swarovski crystals; the hood was full; the sleeves fell along the flared lower half while a generous cut opened the armpit for full movement (with scythe); brilliant emerald piping trimmed every edge yet was just a hint of the hand-embroidered lining so dazzling it nearly glowed. Death gasped – a sound like wind trying to form words into a keyhole. “I’ve been a Broadway costume designer for over 40 years, Doll; I needed a fitting way to go out. Indulge me.” “I know your work,” Death whispered, “but this … is a true masterpiece.” Leed’s coughing fit spoiled the mood and Death moved forward. “And now,” the specter said gently, “it’s time for a bit of theater all my own.” Leed looked up, smiling but confused, then started when he felt a rosy blush rise in his pallid cheeks. “Shall we leave a beautiful corpse?” There was no robe when they found Sebastian the next morning and, although the illness had been relentless and unkind, he looked relaxed, happy, and not a day over 29.
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 26-08-2013
A face appeared at the door. “Miss Cabot? He’s here.” Emmaline Cabot smiled over at Ruth, who was sitting vigil at the edge of the bed. “Em, I don’t know if this is a good idea; you’re so weak.” “Can’t get much weaker than dead,” Emmaline replied with a wry laugh, “and I’m not worried about that. I learned a lot of things in Haiti, but what’s the point of those studies if I can’t say a proper goodbye to my ex husband?” Ruth got up and opened the curtains a bit more, moving across the room to the door. “Ruth,” Emmaline called in a hoarse whisper, “remember what I told you: don’t come back in here for any reason – not until well after his screaming stops.”
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 12-08-2013
Daisy Antoinette filled the porcelain kettle from the iron one on the stove. Twelve cups in a half moon around the kettle on the tray. A separate tray for the leaves themselves. The Ladies’ Terminal Tea Society met on this date every year and drank their tea, sharing stories from the grand adventures of their lives – tales of purpose and beauty. Mercy May Marlene brought the tea leaves (in their crystal cylinder) and tongs from the locked box in the pantry, her latex gloves cutting into her plump wrists uncomfortably. Hundreds of sharp, pungent tea leaves … and one deadly wolfsbane frond, trimmed to the same shape. Anyone could get it; anyone could reach in and randomly choose death over life and they knew it. The Ladies believed that the nearness of death helped you to get on with what was important – helped you to focus on what really mattered. Daisy hesitated, then both she and Mercy May reached in and chose a leaf for themselves. “Health, happiness, and long life be yours,” Daisy said, hugging her friend and then pouring the water into their mugs to let the tea steep. “Joy, love, and long life be yours,” Mercy May replied, as they picked up their respective trays and entered the opulent dining room.
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 03-08-2013
“The Four Horseman walk into a bar,” Barry began and Steve started cracking up. “Dude, lame!” He looked up into Barry’s face expecting its standard sheepish grin, but saw that he was facing away and pointing across the street. Death was tying his horse to a bike rack outside of the Fat Cat Bar and Grill while his three companions entered through the front door. The scythe gleamed brightly against the worn and dusty saddle. “Fuck,” Steve whispered, watching the color of the world drain away.
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 19-07-2013
He shrunk back as the cupboard opened, revealing its contents. “Peanut butter!” he shouted. “You KNOW I’m allergic!” She crossed her arms and listened. “My GAWD! Nightshade! What’s this? Arsenic!” He staggered, clutching the edge of the oven for support. “Gluten … and … the tempeh … the soy … ANY of these ingredients could just FALL into my food … be put into my meals by mistake!” She smirked at him. He turned to face her abruptly, his dark eyes smoldering. “Cara mia,” Gomez growled with desire, “you keep me on the razor’s edge between life and death.” “A single cut and … such indescribable pain … such torture,” Morticia swooned, falling into his arms.
Filed Under (Microfiction) by Tansy on 04-06-2013
Charlene came up between deep layers of fog to find a small girl sitting on her hospice bed. “Hi,” came the sweet, bright voice, “I’m Mary.” “Um …,” responded Charlene, unsure of how real this all was. “Soon now,” Mary continued, “you really will wake up to the sound of music – to wisdom and answers.” “I’m going then?” she whispered, knowing her question was rhetorical. Mary smiled. “There will be no clouds and no hour of darkness, only the light that shines on you. Until tomorrow, just rest and let it all be.” Charlene smiled, “I love that song, you know.” “I know, right?” Mary nodded as she reached for Charlene’s hand.