Sunday, November 30, 2008


The house at 304 Sandell Lane is not a museum, but there is a select clientele permitted to view the Clock. It sits on the mantle, but the Clock is useless for telling the time.

The Clock does tick, but irregularly. It may register several seconds in an hour, or it may remain still for years. It moved seventeen minutes during the Great War; twenty-nine in the Second.

It is one of the pecularities of the Clock’s construction that it runs backwards. It is unclear what will occur when it reaches midnight; the scholarly works on the subject are conflicted.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

On the Ledge

“Now what?” Darren wanted to know. The wind tugged at his jacket.

“Well, the way I see it, you’ve only got a couple options left at this point,” said the pigeon. It smoothed an errant feather. “You could squeeze back in through the window and try claiming it was all a misunderstanding…”

The door inside burst open and three black-suited men piled through, shouting.

“Well, that’s out,” said the pigeon. “So that leaves one.” It flexed its wings.

Darren gazed down at the small crowd that had already begun to gather. “Jump?”

The pigeon chortled as it fluttered away. “Fly.”

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Old House on the Hill

Old man Alucard peered at the boys over his cup of tea, his bushy eyebrows contracting thoughtfully.

“It’s a very nice house,” Derrick ventured, the more polite of the two. He’d even sipped at his tea, though it was barely more than milky, sugary sludge. “I bet it’s ancient.”

“Centuries old.”

“Do people come see it?”

“No,” sighed Alucard. “No one’s come to visit in years. Those silly stories, I suppose.”

Billy’s eyes bugged. “Then you’re not a vampire? You’re not going to eat us?”

“Oh, that’s true enough. I do like a nice conversation first, though. We’re not animals.”

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The End of the World

Buck gasped as he tumbled behind the barricade. “I think that’s it,” he wheezed. “Those cyborg doodads are tearin’ the zombies up somethin’ fierce.”

Jeb risked a look over the top of the makeshift barrier. “I think the aliens’ve noticed the ruckus. Here comes a saucer.” He ducked back down as the silent green flash lit the entire alley. “There they go.”

“Crap. Without them robot fellas, how’re we s’posed to spot the leprechauns?”

Jeb periscoped again. “About the only thing could make this worse is…” His voice trailed off as his gaze traveled up, up, up. “Aw, hell. Dinosaurs.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wear a Hat

“You don’t want to go in there, young sir,” said the old man, tugging his shapeless hat off and ducking his head respectfully.

“And why not?” Thaddeus never liked to be interrupted, much less by scruffy vagabonds.

“The forest, it’s not safe.”

“Not safe?”

“Nossir. It’s the venom monkeys.”

“The what?”

“They hide in the trees, sir, and drop onto your unprotected, unsuspectin’ head.”

Thaddeus glared. “You’re making fun of me.”

“I’d never, sir! Just listen. Hear their eerie calls, a-floatin’ on the wind…”

Thaddeus cocked his head. Through the forest, he heard a distant, high-pitched cry: “Whatsthatontheground? Whatsthatontheground? IthinkIseeapen-ny!”

A Spark in the Endless Night

“There is only one way this can end,” he sighed. He touched the side of his face, where plasteel and crystal data-clusters had long ago replaced his eye.

On the table, the holographic constructs were drawing nearer, circling like hungry sharks. They weren’t real, of course. Just light and shadow, interpreted by a computer. Like everything he saw. Like everything everyone saw, if you thought about it.

He reached for the console. His fingers tapped in the lengthy code and pressed the final button. He leaned back with a whirr of hydraulics as the pleasant female voice began the countdown.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Free Will

He opened his eyes and the clouds wept, pouring icy rain down on the world.

He opened his mouth and tasted air. A sandstorm buried fifteen men.

He stood; his first step shook the city to splinters.

His second step opened the earth and swallowed a nation.

His third step boiled the seas.

As he lifted his foot again, the people of the land cried out to him, “Why do you do these things?”

He spoke, scorching seventeen acres of good farmland. “I must choose, and in choosing, act, or else I am less than nothing.”

His foot came down.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Slow and Steady

“Slowpoke! Ha! You’ll never catch me, not in a million billion years! You couldn’t catch a cold!” The Hare danced about, shouting similar taunts and jibes, as the Tortoise carefully placed another foot in front of him. The dirt kicked up from the Hare’s gamboling made him cough.

“Seeya, sucker!” And the Hare was gone, a disappearing dust cloud.

Racoon sighed from the branch overhead. “I wish he’d lose.”

“He will,” said Tortoise calmly.

“Why? Because you’re slow but determined? I think we all know that’s a big crock.”

“No.” Tortoise took another deliberate step. “I poisoned his morning carrot-shake.”

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Paving Ahead

“This is ridiculous,” Dan groused. He peered in the review. “It’s going to take hours to get through this mess. That lane is completely empty.”

“It’s polite,” Shannon pointed out.

“It’s the herd instinct. Everyone avoids it because everyone else is avoiding it.” He flipped on his blinker and pulled out. “This way we’ll at least get a few hundred feet before we have to merge back in.”

“What’s that sign?”

“’This lane: Hell,’” Dan read. “Ha! Funny. Some construction worker thinks he’s a comedian.”

He kept laughing as they entered the tunnel, up until the flames rose around them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Prophecy of the Sword

The grim-faced man leveled his sword at Lord Ismaik. “It is finished,” he growled, his muscles flexing.

Ismaik said nothing, his eyes narrowed.

“I am Trestan, the seventh son of a seventh son, trained by the Garganti,” said the man. “I have returned from the jungles of Anku with Se-Rok-La, the Blade That Thirsts. I have completed the pilgrimmage to Shardon and received the blessing of the Last Singer. I am the hero of prophecy, and I will slay you for the death of my father.”

Lord Ismaik smiled then, and laughed. “Who do you think wrote those prophecies, boy?”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Hunter

The hunter knelt in the clearing. “I have come,” he announced, “without my tricks and traps, without my gun and my knife. I lay them down now, and renounce them forevermore.” The weapons fell with soft thumps into the mossy ground.

“I am without my steed, my dogs, my armor. I come to you shorn.” Sweat glistened on his bald pate, speckled here and there with flecks of red.

“I am naked before you. I cast it all away as rubbish. I come to you born anew.” He fell silent. He waited.

But she would not appear to him again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Doug slammed the door. “Drive!” he ordered, shoving a handful of bills at the cabbie. He could see the shadows darting down the alleyway, long coats flowing behind them. A clawed hand slapped at the window as the cabdriver peeled away.

Doug leaned into the patchy seatcover, breathing heavily. “Drop me off somewhere across town,” he said, slumping, exhausted…

Doug awoke as the cab jolted to a halt. The door swung open, and the scaly black face of the goblin grinned at him from the streetcorner.

He turned to the cabdriver, who shrugged and held up a golden goblin coin.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Mit eased into the room, keeping one hand on the insulated wall. Moving was dangerous at night.

The storage room was dark. Kep and Surcey were already in their bags, wedged between the boxes so they wouldn’t make noise shifting in their sleep.

The chem-light slipped in his sweaty grip. Mit slammed a shin against a metal edge. He fell, slamming against the wall. The muffled thump brought the others instantly awake.

“What-?” Surcey clamped her mouth shut.

Mit gestured sharply. They all stared at the ceiling, waiting for the telltale rumble of an enormous form pushing through the dirt…

The Wisest Stone

They swooped through the sky, twirling and spinning, executing flawless loop-the-loops and dangerous synchronized turns. There were collisions, of course. Two of them got confused and jigged when they should have jagged. The impact rained shards and choking dust down onto the morning traffic, causing delays. A short time afterward, most of the downtown offices closed after another large boulder nearly destroyed a corner office after not paying attention to where it was going.

“Why are you doing this?” Taku asked his friend, the Wisest Stone.

The Wisest Stone thought. “We grew tired of staying still,” he said at last.


“I hate this job,” groaned Nortle.

“Thirty seconds,” huffed Tarn, running on the little treadmill that powered the wind-maker.

“I didn’t have to do this,” Nortle went on, poking half-heartedly at the fire. “I could have worked for the key-takers, or the ice-cube-tray-emptiers. But I thought I’d rather be helpful. It isn’t worth it. They take us for granted!”

At the end of his strength, Tarn sagged. “We’re toasters,” he said. “We make toast.”

Nortle knelt and grasped the lever. “One… two… three… HEAVE!” He sighed. “I just wish there was more to it.”

“English muffin incoming!” cried Tarn, pointing.

The End of the World

She gazed out of the cave entrance in considerable disappointment. She had been waiting for the end of the world.

“That’s it?” she asked. “Just a little ‘pop’ and a few pretty lights?”

No one answered her question, so she continued.

“This is completely unacceptable,” she announced. “Someone is going to have to put things right.”

No one volunteered to help, so she rolled up her sleeves and got to work. It was no wonder the world had ended so unimpressively. It hadn’t been much of a world to begin with. This time, she’d make sure it was done right.

Harold Shops Around

“It’s not,” Harold began, “that I don’t appreciate the offer. I’m flattered, really. It’s just the price seems awfully steep.”

The demon shrugged, its massive shoulders knocking cobwebs down from the rafters. “Quality is worth paying for. You could get a knockoff job for pennies on the dollar, sure, cheap imitation stuff. Real damnation is hard to find, these days. It’s all mass-produced, some factory in China.”

“How’s the warranty?”

“Eternity or ten thousand miles, whichever comes last.”


“Look, this is hand-tooled craftsmanship. You don’t get that kind of personal service just anywhere.”

“I’ll think about it,” Harold said.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


The car whispered against the road. This far out, the only part of the road that was visible was the small segment the headlights touched.

In the distance, another car’s headlights shone briefly, and then were gone.

“It’s kind of spooky,” Shannon said, lifting her feet and tucking them under her.

“What is?” Dan was concentrating on driving.

“It’s like there’s nothing but the headlights, and everything else is just inky and dark. Like we’re on a little island over a void.”

“You’re being dramatic,” said Dan. “Look.” He flicked off the lights.

The car lurched and began to fall…

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Band Prepares

The phone rang. Crashbang answered it. Stiletto noodled idly on his deadly electric lute.

“Who was it?” he asked when Crashbang hung up.

“The dragon,” Crashbang answered. “He wants to know if we can push the slaying to January.”

The room thrummed with the sound of a half-finished Thunderwave Chord. “No can do. We’re booked. The royal marriage.”

“Does the king outrank the dragon?”

“He does when he’s hired us,” Big Gunderson put in, setting aside his sharpening stone and checking the edge of his axe.

“Old Firebreath is just gonna have to take his lumps,” Stiletto said, tuning up.

The Angel

Marie found the angel in the Dollar Tree. He was sitting on the shelf between the plastic potholders and the seashells with glitter-glue. He looked up at her as she passed, his metallic wings rattling mournfully. His face was perfect.

She cocked her head to the side and considered. “Shelly, can we use an angel?”

“I dunno,” said her roommate, rooting through the piles of shirts. “I had one when I was little, but he was kind of crappy. Does it have a sword of fiery vengeance?”

“I don’t see one.”


“Sorry,” Marie told the angel. “Maybe next time.”

The Book of Yrt

“And this one?”

“Ah, the Book of Yrt.” He blew the dust away. “The pages are not paper, but rather some sort of flexible metallic alloy. Their exact composition is unknown, but they have yet to show any tarnish or wear.”

He flipped the first few pages. “These prophecies predict all history, from the dawn of mankind until the terrible end. He who holds this book holds the very key of the universe in his hands.”


“Well, it’s a bit dry, and by the tenth chapter it really starts to drag. Yrt really hit his stride with the sequel.”

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pot o' Gold

“I’ve caught you!” cried Jerry exultantly.

“Aye, ye have.”

Jerry didn’t relax his grip on the little man’s ankle. “Now I get the pot of gold, right?”

“Aye.” The leprechaun flipped a page of the magazine he’d been reading – The Economist – and puffed at his meerschaum pipe.

“Aren’t you upset?”

“Ach, laddie,” the wee man chuckled, “ye have no idea. But ye’ll learn…”

When Jerry awoke, the first thing he noticed was the huge pot of shining gold pieces. He picked up his little green hat, adjusted the four-leaf clover to just the right angle, and settled down to wait.

Chef's Special

“It’s not quite ready yet.”

“The Lord will not wait forever, cook,” snarled the guard. He brandished his spiked club. “Finish your work quickly.”

“This cannot be rushed,” answered the chef. He dipped his spoon in and tasted, considered. “It must be sharper,” he murmured, “much sharper.” He quickly sliced a lemon and began squeezing the juice.

“How much longer?”

“I think it is nearly ready.” The chef lowered his hand into the steaming pot. He withdrew it with a rapid snapping motion. “Yes.” He nodded approvingly. “It is just sharp enough.”

The guard said nothing, skewered on the soup.

The Last Man on Earth

The vast cities of man were rubble. The landscape blasted, bleak, covered in craters and dust, like the surface of the moon, or some alien world. Nothing moved in the empty ruins save for the hordes of vermin. The trees that remained were warped and stunted things. The lifeless seas seethed with acidic froth.

There was movement. The armored transport lumbered to a halt outside of the sealed bubble which contained the last garden in the world.

Josephine glared up at the cockpit and Albert’s hangdog expression. “No, not even now!” she shouted. “You didn’t have to take it literally!”

Inside Frisbee

“Mommy, why is there glass in front of the TV?”

“It’s to keep the little people inside,” she answered sagely, amusing herself.

“Oh. What would happen if they got out?”

“They’re very bad people,” she told him. “That’s why they have to stay in there and put on shows for everyone.”

“Oh.” He stared at the screen, wide-eyed.

Later, he was playing Inside Frisbee with his friend Jaron. They weren’t supposed to play it anymore. The Frisbee hit the TV and there was a sharp cracking sound.

“Uh-oh,” he said, as the smoke coiled. “Mommy!”

But it was too late.

Tour Guide

On that note, let's get caught up a little. Here comes some of the backlog of flitterfic.


The tour guide turned and faced the bench in the boat, speaking through her fixed smile. “Our next stop in the ‘Getting to Know You’ tour will be the putamen and the insula in the sub-cortex. These areas are known to be active in the generation of both romantic love and irrational hatred.”

“Oh, Harold! How sweet!” Jane clutched his arm. “I wonder if we’ll see our first date there. Do you remember?”

Harold didn’t answer. He was worried about what would happen when they reached the hippocampus and she saw the memories of that business trip to Hong Kong.

Watering Hole

“I didn’t know they served those in here,” she said, her lip curling. She spoke softly. She’d heard that rhinos had excellent hearing.

The rhinoceros lifted his spoon and sipped at his soup. The stool creaked ominously.

“It’s not enough I have to sit next to them on the bus,” she went on, warming to her topic. “They ought to ship them all back to Africa.”

“I think that’s an Asian one, actually. Look at the horn.”


The entire bar went silent. The rhinoceros’ ears flicked.

The lion removed his glasses and glared regally as he entered and sat.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

In Spite of Himself

To start us off, here's a thing I wrote for a silly no-prize contest. They have these periodically, and I'll be posting any new ones as well as the Daily Flitterfic. I know! It's like Christmas came early!

- Cat


The gun barrel trembled, inches away from old Clive's snow-white hair. Trent's own hands shook as he met Clive's terrified gaze, tears trembling in his faded blue eyes. The young guard lowered his gun, head hanging in shame.

"That's it. Put it on the floor. Slowly!" The skinny man with the botched buzz-cut gestured sharply with his free hand, also holding a pistol, while he kept his other gun trained on Clive.

Trent set his service weapon on the floor, resentment and fear warring on his face.

"Kick it over here."

Trent complied.

"Okay, I want all the cash in the drawers. Put it in the paper bags. You!" he pointed a gun at a blonde in a blue miniskirt. "Come get the bags and fill them! Now!" he screamed as she hesitated. "Do it now or I'll kill you! See if I don't!"

The woman whimpered as she darted forward and snatched up the pair of shopping bags. She cringed from the skinny man, who seemed to take great delight in her fear.

"That's right!" he crowed. "You'd better do what I say. I've got the power! I've got-"

His words cut off abruptly as the floor opened up beneath him. A gaping hole appeared, the tiles and cement collapsing with a rumble, forming a ramp and a tunnel and kicking up a cloud of dust; the robber disappeared into the darkness. There was a brief sound of voices and a thud. A figure strode up into the light, clad in a brightly-colored suit with a long, flowing cape. A mask and hood concealed his features, and he dragged the would-be robber behind him, limp and unconscious.

"I am Alkahest!" he cried out, dropping the robber's collar and allowing the beaten criminal to slump to the floor. "And I am here to-"

"A superhero!" cried a small child.

"We're saved!" came another anonymous voice from the crowd.

"What?" said Alkahest. "Hold on, I want-"

"Is it Captain Courage?"

"No, I think it's the Muskrat's new costume..."

"Now look here!" Alkahest shouted testily. He reached into a satchel he had slung at his side. "I have a powerful explosive which I have perfected in my laboratory, and-"

"Oh, thank you, sir!" cried Clive, lurching unsteadily to his feet and grasping Alkahest's gloved hand, pumping it energetically. "If it weren't for you, the bank would have been robbed and people might have been hurt!"

"He did collapse the floor," Trent put in dubiously, retrieving his gun.

"Small price to pay for the safety of our customers," Clive asserted firmly. He turned to Alkahest and whispered conspiratorially, "He's young. Don't you worry, sir, I'll teach him proper respect for superheroes."

Alkahest's lips curled down sourly. "I'm sure you will," he said. "Excuse me, please." He turned and, with a dramatic flourish of his red-trimmed black cloak, stalked outside. That had not gone terribly well for a first attempt. At least he didn't have a reputation to besmirch yet; he could always change his costume and try again. Maybe something subtler next time; just sneak in and steal the cash, maybe leave an understated calling card instead of the flash and excitement of an active robbery.

It would be a shame to waste the day, though; the zeppelin was still hovering over the city, ready to be called down in a moment's notice, and his satchel was still full of all his weapons and gadgets. Perhaps something more attention-grabbing than a simple robbery. A hostage? Alkahest consulted his wrist-mounted computer; a senator was giving a speech on the other side of the city. A perfect opportunity!

Alkahest activated his hoverboots and, defying gravity, leapt lightly into the air. Mere minutes later, he descended onto the stage, gratified to hear the gasps and camera flashes from the press below. He'd taken the time to prepare his Omega Rifle while in-flight; it was a particularly impressive piece of equipment, very menacing. He was rather proud of it.

"I am Alkahest!" he cried, leveling his weapon at the senator, who blubbered and held up his hands. "Now, scum, you will-"

"I admit it!" cried the senator. "Please, I can't hold the guilt in any longer! I've stolen millions from the funds that were meant to feed the homeless, and I feel awful about it! I don't want to go to prison!" He gazed at Alkahest pleadingly and misinterpreted his beetling brows and grinding teeth. "Look, I'll sell my house and give the money back; if I can take from the homeless, then I deserve to be homeless myself!" The crowd gasped at this revelation.

"Senator Durvin!" cried a reporter. "Was there anyone else involved in your crimes?"

"Yes! I promise I will fully cooperate with any investigators. I'm turning myself in immediately. Someone, please, call a police officer who can take me into custody!" Senator Durvin cast a fearful glance at Alkahest.

"Mister Alkahest!" shouted another reporter. "It's been some time since a new hero has made such an impressive public appearance. Are you affiliated with the Champions of Order? Can you tell us how you found out about Senator Durvin's crimes?"

"No comment," growled Alkahest. He punched a code into his computer and took off without another word, the cameras continuing to flash below him. This day was getting worse and worse; he'd have to come up with a new name, too, now that the media had gotten ahold of it.

He touched down a few blocks away, his boots nearly drained of energy; they'd been meant for short-burst flight only, an emergency escape route if the zeppelin was too slow. He called up a holographic map of the city and considered where he could at least try and salvage something of the day. His exo-armor was still fully charged; he'd have a lot of physical oomph in a good old-fashioned fight. Run faster than a car, punch through walls, that sort of thing. Were there any heroes active in the city today? Someone small-time, preferably; best to try and keep things under control for his first foray into meta-crime.

The computer beeped and displayed three possible matches. Perfect! Sideswipe, some low-end speedster who liked to headbutt things, was involved in a mess over on Brewster, just four blocks away. He'd be easy enough to subdue; speedsters were nothing once you'd immobilized them with nets or glue, of which Alkahest had more than enough. Chemicals were, after all, his specialty. He activated his armor and sped away, moving so fast he was just a red-and-black blur.

Over on Brewster, the street was a mess. Several streetlamps were dented, bent over at dangerous angles, and a broken hydrant sprayed water into the air. Alkahest spotted a burly man wearing a thick, cylindrical helmet and iron-shod boots. He was leaning against a brick wall, struggling for breath and obviously exhausted. Alkahest didn't see the villain he must have been fighting, but he knew an opportunity when he spotted one. He reached over and grasped a nearby car, servos humming as his armor increased his strength a hundredfold. The metal crumpled in his gauntleted hands as he heaved the vehicle overhead and hurled it at the panting metahuman. The man had just enough time to grunt in surprise before two tons of metal slammed into him, knocking him backwards into the wall, which tumbled down on top of him, burying him beneath the rubble.

"Ha! Witness the power of Alkahest!" cried Alkahest, pumping a fist in the air. That ought to score him some infamy!

"Hey," said a shaky voice behind him. "Thanks for the assist..."

A slim man in a blue-and-silver bodysuit shoved aside a pile of garbage cans and tottered upright. His chest bore a stylized "S" and his head was encased in a futuristic-looking helmet, complete with goggles and sleek fins, which also adorned the bracers on his arms. "That guy was totally stealing my schtick," the slim man went on. "'Hammerhead', pah! Sideswipe is the only ramming-based super in this town!"

"Hammerhead?" Alkahest stammered weakly. "Sideswipe?" He glanced back at the pile of rubble. A single brick fell from overhead with a sad clink-clink-clink.

"That's me!" the blue-suited man stuck out a hand. "Sideswipe, super speedster. And you're Alkahest, right?" He shook Alkahest's unresisting gauntlet. "Hey, I heard you foiled a bank robbery barely an hour ago. You're just a busy beaver, aren't you? Ha! Leave some for the rest of us, okay?" And with that, he adjusted his helmet, turned, and took off, leaving a cloud of dust and a small sonic boom in his wake.

Alkahest stood for a moment, staring at his hand. He clenched it into a fist and stormed off down the street. Around the corner, he spotted a woman in an expensive-looking coat emerging from a department store. Angered beyond reason, he reached out and snatched away her bulging purse, snapping the strands and knocking her down.

Her hat fell off, as did her long brown wig. A moment later, a security guard burst out of the door. "Where did she- Aha!" he sprang over. "You've been caught, you dirty thief!" he berated the fallen woman. He turned to Alkahest. "This one's been using different disguises to sneak in here for months, loading up on small, pricey objects. That purse has nearly a thousand dollars of shoplifted goods in it! Thank you so much for stopping her. You've got amazing instincts, to recognize her as a thief like that!"

To the guard's surprise, Alkahest raised his hands to his face and burst into tears.