Multi-passionate writer, author and solo-preneur

Tag: flash fiction

Free Flash Fic: Blood

So, I had all these posts planned for October, mostly revving up for Nanowrimo and explaining why you should do it and how to go about it, but work day-job need money to live blah blah blah busycakes. So have a free flash fic.

PS: My books are still on sale!

 

BLOOD

 

I was a boy when the monster killed my parents. Of course nobody believed me. It was put down to a bear attack. But I know what I saw. I watched from under the bed as it fed on them. And when it was done, it sniffed me out, lifted the bed off me like it was made of cardboard. It bent down and put its big ugly face in mine, its breath fetid with the stink of their blood, and stared at me with nightmare eyes that I still see every time I sleep.

Then it left.

I don’t know why it spared me. I don’t care. It orphaned me. I’m going to make it wish it had killed me.

My entire life prepared me for this. Learning about it, studying the lore. I found others who had seen it, who had been victimized by it. I found those who knew how to track it, and how to kill it. They taught me, and when I was ready, I hunted it.

I found others of its kind, and killed them. It took a silver-tipped sword, forged by monks and tempered with holy water. Beheading worked. So did stabbing through the heart, but the heart was hard to locate, so I generally stuck with beheading. I’ve taken out five of them since I started hunting. But none were the one I wanted.

That one is here before me now. I tracked it to a back alley in Tulsa of all places. I know it by its eyes. It’s looking at me, and I see recognition. And regret.

Good.

I draw my sword. It swipes at me. I dodge, but not fast enough. Its claw grazes my arm. Not deep, but it tears through my coat and makes me bleed.

We dance like that for several minutes. Time slows, and it feels like hours. Then my sword finds its home, slices clean. The head falls, and just like that, my life’s work is done. My parents are avenged.

I hear a wild howl, and I turn. My monster had a mate, and she charges me. I raise my sword. She runs onto it. Miraculously, it finds the heart. She falls.

I pull out my blade and wipe it on her fur. I hear another wail, this one small and pitiful. It’s coming from a Dumpster.

Inside I find another one. Just a pup. An orphan now, like me. If I spare it, it’ll only grow up to be a killer. And it’ll want vengeance. Also like me.

I won’t make that mistake.

I raise my sword, but as I look in its eyes, I see only myself.

It trembles as I wrap it in my coat and tuck it under my arm. As I carry it to my car, I wonder first how it will ever forgive me. Then I wonder how on earth I’ll feed it.

We’ll figure it out, together. We’re family now, bound by our parents’ blood.

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Free Story: Food Scarcity

Sorry for the blog silence. Lately my life has been split pretty evenly between doing the job hunt mambo and writing content for Demand Studios and spending what little free time I do have just trying to rest and recharge my batteries so I can do it all over again. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging. Or unpaid writing of any sort, really.

So since the flash fiction project is on hold I decided to go ahead and share one of the two I’ve actually managed to finish (the other one is still under submission with a local e-zine). It’s only 500 words long, so grab a cuppa and settle in for a quick read. The title isn’t final, but for now I’m calling it…

 

FOOD SCARCITY

 

The lights still came on at night in the city. The girl wondered how long they would keep doing that, without anyone around to turn them on. The screens and news tickers in Times Square had been broadcasting the same warnings to stay inside and lock your doors for two weeks now. She didn’t think there was anyone left in the city still capable of heeding the warnings.

But she kept looking, just in case.

She stuck to the shadows and avoided streets where she could hear the tell-tale moans. She wasn’t afraid of those things. They weren’t that hard to kill, one on one. But swarms were a different story, and she couldn’t afford to get injured. Too many depended on her to lead them. To feed them.

So she hunted, even though it seemed more useless with each passing night.

A scream pierced the silence, filling the girl with hope. Only the living screamed like that. She scanned the street, the shops and restaurants. The living tended to show up where there might be food.

But the unliving tended to show up where there was screaming, so she had to hurry. The woman screamed again, and the girl raced toward the sound. There, up ahead. The Starbucks on Eighth Street. The windows were broken. A woman backed out of the door, clutching a broken and bloody two-by-four like a club. A shopping bag hung over her shoulder.

The girl came up from behind. Peering over the woman’s shoulder, she saw a man lying on the floor, swarmed by the unliving. They were devouring him. The woman sobbed. For now, they were too distracted to hear her.

The girl spun her around. She screamed and raised her weapon, but didn’t swing. “Are you bit?”

Dazedly, the woman shook her head. “My husband.” She looked back at the man on the floor… what was left of him. “David…”

“We can’t help him. Come with me.”

“Where?”

“Away from them.” Inside, the ones who couldn’t get their fill were starting to take notice of them. “Now.” She grabbed the woman’s hand, and pulled. The swarm filed out through the door behind them. They ran together down the street, turning here and there, tracing a path through a maze the girl knew well. The woman kept sobbing as they went. “Be quiet!” the girl commanded.

They ran down an alley, to a dead end. They turned around. The woman screamed again as the swarm followed them, blocking the entrance. There was nowhere to go.

The others emerged from the shadows. Her children. Together, they fought the oncoming horde. It was easy, together. When they were finished, covered in gore and surrounded by squirming pieces of the unliving, they turned to the woman as one.

She looked confused, and terrified. “M… my name is Sheila.” She held out the grocery bag with a trembling hand. “I have food.”

“We know,” said the girl, her fangs descending. “And we’re so hungry.”

###

 

Beginning at the End

Route 66

As mentioned previously, I’ve been working my way VEEEERRRRY SLOOOOOWLY through Holly Lisle’s ostensibly three week course on How To Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t Suck. It’s taking me closer to three months. This is partly because making the time to write has been quite the challenge lately (and has become even more so since I started my job search); but I think it’s mainly because I’ve been going through it in order, doing all of the exercises, and nothing has been coming together satisfactorily, because the part I actually needed to read and do first is the part that was saved for last: figuring out the ending.

Some writers can write a story without knowing how it ends. Many even prefer it that way. They enjoy not knowing where they’re headed until they arrive there. I am not one of those writers. For me, a story is more like a road trip. Just picking a random direction and taking off with no clue where I’m headed would make me anxious. I need to have a destination in mind. If I know I’m driving to, say, Jacksonville, Florida, I can take as direct or as meandering a path as I want, sticking to the Interstates or getting off to check out all of the mountain overlooks and Navy battleships and reptile and ‘gator farms between here and there, stopping at every Stuckey’s along the way. As long as I have a road atlas and I know I’m headed in the general direction of Jacksonville, it’s all about enjoying the journey.

Sometimes I only have a fuzzy idea of the ending. Sometimes the ending changes on me halfway through the book. Sometimes, I know a good portion of the story, but can’t see the ending. Sometimes, I’ll start writing it anyway, and the ending will come to me once I get started. But sometimes it doesn’t. That’s why I haven’t been working on Radium Town lately. I’m stalled out because I don’t know where I’m going with it. I know the characters, I know the monsters, I know that there will be an epic confrontation somewhere near the end, but… I can’t see it, or what happens afterward, how everything wraps up. Which makes telling the story difficult for me, because without knowing the ending, I don’t really know what the point of the story is.

And good flash fiction, I’m coming to understand, is very much about getting to the point, which you have to drive home in about the space of a tweet. I did the exercises for the beginnings and the middles. I had characters, I had problems, I had complications… but I didn’t know the point until I got to the Endings lesson. And once I knew the point of the stories, I realized that everything I had previously written was wrong. Wrong protagonists, wrong POVs. Some of the stories I’d started were just wrong for this format.

Apparently, for me it’s best to write flash fiction backwards.

So now I’ve got two of them done [UPDATE: Make that one — I just submitted the other one to a local coffee shop e-zine]. I’m pretty happy with them, currently. The other three (the assignment was to write five), I need to throw out entirely and go back to the drawing board. But this story collection is finally starting to come together, so I’m happy about that.

Free E-book: Fragments & Fancies

My new collection, Fragments & Fancies: Ficlets, Flash Fiction & Shorts is now available for FREE on Smashwords.

Here’s the official description:

Three vampires walk into a bar…

A suicidal widower is talked down by a mysterious, chain-smoking stranger with an ulterior motive…

A picturesque sea-side chalet harbors a disturbing secret under its serene waters…

A kindly grandmother runs a pie shop that is a gateway to time and space…

A mysterious house with a dark reputation tempts one bored little girl…

Angels, vampires, ghosts and faeries mingle with the lovelorn, the desperate, the weary and the brave in this collection of quick-fire stories from Restless Spirits author Jean Marie Bauhaus.

Most of these have been posted here and/or at the defunct Ficlets or the new Ficly, so long-time friends-of-the-blog have probably seen them already. But if you enjoyed them, here they are gathered up in a handy-dandy collection, along with a never-before-released excerpt from Restless Spirits.

Here’s the link again.

Enjoy!

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