Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Amortized

The summoning booth has a line.  I scuff the leather on my loafers and check my phone.  I don't really have time, but without a PowerPoint demon to run my presentation, I don't have anything else to do.  I hope I won't be late.

The fat idiot inside can't work the latch.  I tug from the outside, and he breathes garlicky breath in my face as he flees, sweating.  He was calling a succubus.  I know the type.

Inside, I sweep the remnants of his salt circle into the disposal. Disgusting pig.  Push the button, the new circle falls down neatly from the dispensers.  One, two, three go the blood-treated iron coins. I get mine from Soul Survivors.  They do diversified holdings, no fewer than a thousand contributors per coin.  It's a decent risk, so long as you get out before the law of averages kicks in and you run the risk of tipping over the fifty percent mark on your contribution. I've got good information.  I researched the userbase and projected summoning habits thoroughly before I committed.

The demon appears in a flash of sulphur and heat.  You never get the same one twice, but I swear it looks familiar.  I open my mouth to tell it about the damned PowerPoint, but a rumble from overhead distracts me.  I look up and see the lances of light penetrating the overcast.  Wings and swords and trumpets, fire and smoke from beneath.

The demon smiles.

"Foreclosed," it says.  "All of you."

Monday, November 3, 2014

Excerpts from the Self-Guided Tour of the World Serpent Informational Center

The hallway is long and walled in tile and steel, but you will notice it does not echo.  The constant rush of saltwater and poison outside is an unending susurrus that swallows sound.  First-time visitors  often feel that the structure is pulsing faintly, the walls breathing with the motion.

This is an illusion.  The visitor's center is not near any of the lungs.

As you walk along, you may feel free to touch the walls or floor and  feel their warmth.  Jormungandr is a reptile and therefore cold-blooded, of course; the heat is the exothermic reaction of the  venom impregnated in its every muscle and bone with the exterior metals and ceramics.  The infrastructure requires constant repair by specialized teams.  Their mining equipment is tipped with diamond and  coated in cat's blood to neutralize the effects.  You need not fear; while collapses were common in the early days, the visitor's center has never suffered any lapses, whether structural or autoimmune in  nature.

The central columns contain the actual grid.  Please do not approach them.  Electricity flows along the grid through Jormungandr's nerves and bloodstream, piping information and power along its length and therefore throughout the world.  The Plague of Quakes in the late 1800s was eventually diagnosed as a degenerative seizure disorder; improved wire shielding and a decades-long corpus callosotomy at Jormungandr's skull in the Marianas Trench, completed in 1973, have resolved these problems.

Your tour will conclude at the door marked in purple.  The gift shop is open year-round.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Feeding Time

I woke to a soft weight on my shoulders and back, followed by a prickling as claws dug in, pressing through the fleece and the sheet.

“It’s like three a.m., cat,” I mumbled into my pillow.  “I’m not getting up to feed you.”

The claws dug in, and I heard him sniffing his way up toward my head.  I buried it under the blankets.

“You do not need any more food,” I said.  “You’re on a diet, mister kitty.  Vet’s orders.”

The snuffling reached my breathing hole and stopped.  Then I heard a plaintive meow.


From over in the doorway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

God in Your Pocket

Margie had to go  home for her wallet.  She still used cash.

“What?”  I laughed.  “How do you get anything done without a god?”

Margie’s face twisted.  “I just don’t see the point.”

“Here,” I pulled Chocorotan out of my pocket, “you can use mine.”   Chocorotan grimaced at me, but he’s carved that way.  “The commandments are easy.  I only have to brush my teeth clockwise and avoid alligators.”

“No.”

“But...”

“No!”  Maggie started walking again.  “I’ll catch you up at the theater.  Both of you, I guess.”


I watched her go.  “Women are weird, O Lord,” I told Chocorotan.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Anything But

Penny had a not-a-dog.  It wasn't exactly invisible, but it was an absence rather than a presence.  You could pet it, but it wasn't warm or solid, and it was not fuzzy at all.  It stared at her without devotion or loyalty as she fed it something that was nothing like kibble.  After dinner, Penny let it outside to excrete unfamiliar substances and make noises that were not barks.  Over red wine, we discussed her new lack of a pet.

“Did you consider a cat?” I asked.


“They tried that,” she said.  “No one was sure which one wasn't it.”

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Post-Rapture

“They just seem so taken aback by the whole thing,” said Martha, letting the curtain drop.  The mob had sort of organized into an impromptu prayer service, but five different preachers were all trying to take command.  “It even said right in there that none would know the day or the hour.”

“Yeah, well, that’s the unspoken caveat to every religious protestation about the ineffable and inscrutable nature of God,” Laura responded from the couch, not opening her eyes.  “What’s driving them nuts is that they have to confront it head-on now.”

“What caveat?”


“God is unknowable... 'except to us'.”

Friday, October 3, 2014

"Columbidae" at Flash Fiction Online

October is apparently when everything is dropping.  "Columbidae" is up, marking my second appearance at Flash Fiction Online under as many different editors. ;-)

Go read the story that has Anna Yeatts writing in capslock.  I'll guarantee that it's one of the best stories about crazy naked human pigeons you will read for the first time this week.

Morning Eve

The shower always took a while to warm up in the mornings.  Bonnie winced as she stepped in.  Better than wasting water.

“Have you thought about it?” asked the serpent, wrapped around the shower head.

“Yes,” said Bonnie, lathering.

“Is that your answer, then, or...”

“No.  No apples.”

The snake pouted.  “But power overwhelming...”

Bonnie squinted her eyes shut and rinsed.  “You said you’d leave, after.”

The snake rearranged its coils.  “See, the thing with that is-“

“You lied.”

“Technically, I was prevaricating, but-“


Bonnie shut off the tap.  “You could at least pony up for some of the rent.”