Blog, Short Stories

Short Story: “Directions”

Res Arcana: The Advent of Choice - Short StoryShort story to celebrate the release of my book Res Arcana: The Advent of Choice.

“Directions”

The saturated soil squelched under his feet and mosquitoes buzzed around his head. He tried to ignore them and focused on the nigh on invisible path instead. These marshes were treacherous under the best of circumstances. What had possessed him to cross them with less than a full day’s light ahead and after heavy rains, he couldn’t say, but he cursed himself for it.

Before every step he prodded the swamp ahead with his long walking stick, searching for the next bank of solid ground. More often than not, however, the tip of the stick sank so deeply under its own weight that he dared not use it for support, even when he was about to lose his balance. If he fell, he might not be able to get up again.

Blog, Short Stories

Short story: “Bloody Mary”

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Source: sixpenceee.com (Click image to go there).

After a good laugh, this quote inspired me to write a more sinister version:

My toes curled against the cold of the tiles while I waited for my eyes to adjust to the dark. Faint moonlight shone in through the high window of the bathroom, illuminating my reflection in the mirror above the sink. 

I stared into the image of my own eyes and shivered. How precise was the timing of this, anyway?

Short Stories

Short Story – “The Hare and the Rose”

On a stalk in a rose bush, a silky red bud was about to bloom when along came a curious hare.

The hare sniffed the sweet perfume between the unfolding petals.

“You smell wonderful,” said the hare as it nuzzled the bud. “And you are so soft.”

“Watch how you go,” the rose warned. “I may be scented and soft, but I have weapons to defend myself if you harm me.”

“Why would I harm you?” asked the hare. “Are you that tasty?”

“Stay away or I will draw blood!” spat the rose.

The hare regarded the rose and its stalk more closely.

“Those thorns are your weapons?” it scoffed. “Sharp they may be, but they are no match for the edge of my teeth,” and with its big, chisel-like incisors, it chopped off blossom and stalk, and ate them.

The hare was best pleased with this unexpected meal. The bud was delicious, the victory sweet.

But when the hare swallowed, a small thorn stuck in its throat. A single cough and out came the blood, dark and glistening, like the petals of the rose had been.

So it came to pass that the broken stalk of the suspicious rose and the bloodied corpse of the prideful hare withered away side by side, until nothing remained of either.

 

The End

You will find more short stories on
the menu of The Kalbrandt Café,
along with many more previews and extras!

 

Short Stories

Short story: “Countdown”

Short story based on a prompt from idareyoutowrite.tumblr.com

Standing in line in front of a store all night is like coming off an international flight and dragging your arse through customs: they turn you inside out and scan your clothes off your back while you’re too tired to care. So when the clerk wanted me to swab the inside of my cheek ‘to complete the personal registration process of your phone’, I didn’t think twice. Anything to take my new baby home.

Short Stories

Short Story: “A Matter of Choice”

 

The light in the lonely hospital room was dimmed, as always at this time of night. The respirator’s sighs and the beeps of the heart monitor joined in a lulling rhythm, only disturbed by the occassional dissonant beat. Beneath the bed, the machine pumping liquid food through a narrow nasal tube hummed the base line. A strange orchestra. Only the two IV’s dripped without a sound.

The sole beneficiary of this performance was the skeletal figure of man lying between standardised linen sheets. His features were taut, yet his hair, thinning after prolonged medication, betrayed that he was not as old as he looked. He would never be as old as he looked.

Short Stories

“Paradise” – short story

 

When the lonely road through the barren desert dunes led his pick-up truck into a luscious green village, Abdel knew he had taken a wrong turn. Which wasn’t possible on a road that had always been straight.

He stopped his truck in the village square to consult his map. By the well in the centre of the square, a group of women in traditional garb interrupted their nattering to observe his arrival. He ignored them and checked his route. It wasn’t new to him, but this oasis was.

A tap on his window. He rolled it down.

“Hello. Lost your way to Al Nadah?”

“Yes,” said Abdel, “although I can’t see how.”

“Do not question fate,” the man replied and opened the driver’s door of the truck. His hands, like his face, seemed old without showing wrinkles or other signs of age. “Come, you must be thirsty.”

Short Stories

“Statue” – short story

Once upon a time there was a sculptor named Kumar, who carved statues of spirits and deities for the temple in his village. One day, the pujari of the temple brought him a block of marble bigger than himself. The marble was cold when Kumar first touched it. The gaze of the pujari was cold and factual, too, but unlike the gaze, the stone warmed under his hands. He felt its grain, caressed its surface. Finally he put his ear to the marble block and listened.

‘Let me out.’

A yakshini they asked for, and a yakshini whispered to him from the stone. So he took up his hammer and chisel, and began to sculpt.

Short Stories

“Payment” – short story

Dry land was scarce since the Flood. What remained were thousands of islands scattered about the endless ocean. Of them, only few were large enough to support a town this size. Fiorello recalled the stories his grandmother had told him, the ones her grandmother had told her in turn. Stories about fields of grass and grain as far as the eye could see; stories of people who travelled by land to the cities that housed millions. Fantastic tales, but little more. All he had ever known was this island, this town. As a child, he had thought these shores were the end of the world. How much he had learned since then.

He stood on the terrace of his house and stared out over the ocean. It was a quiet day today, with a calm sea and pleasant breeze to dispel the heat. A promising day, too, because yesterday he had spotted a tiny black dot on the horizon that hadn’t disappeared when he blinked. This morning, it was considerably larger and growing still. If the wind didn’t change, it should make landfall by noon. Fiorello intended to be there when it did.