2019 Short Stories

  • Newbie

    03 – The Oracle

    Sometimes, juggling everything she needed to do was hard. Sometimes, it was just fun. Magnolia tried to set her face into a frown, but the grin on Merlin’s little face made it near impossible. His goggles sat on his forehead, a sign that he was willing to interact with the world without a filter – which for him was the first and most obvious sign that he was having a good day. With Merlin, the bad days could really bad, so every good day had to be cherished. It was such a good day that she was having to explain to him exactly why riding a bike around the lobby…

  • Newbie

    02 – Operational Boundaries

    There was no light switch in his cell. That particular right to choose, along with so many others, wasn’t one that he had earned back yet. Curt looked up at the bright fluorescent light and barely noticed the headache that was already forming. The pillow had fallen from his face in the night, his woeful attempt to get enough darkness to sleep, and now it lay abandoned beside the uncomfortable camping bed that was the one piece of furniture in the cell. A camp bed with hard green canvas, a thin pillow that provided no support, a thin blanket so scratchy that it was almost more painful to use than…

  • Newbie

    01 – Uncertain Parameters

    ‘What’s that movie?’ Magnolia tried to twist her head towards Screen but was met with a soft wall of boob. There was a laugh from behind the wall of boob. ‘You’re going to have to be a little more specific,’ Screen said. ‘There’s at least…three movies that exist.’ Magnolia sighed and curled up on top of her best friend. There were few softer places in the world than on top of the cuddly Tech, and definitely none in this Agency. She tried to reset her train of thought. ‘The cock is bad. Something like that.’ Screen laughed, and the mirth rippled throughout her entire body, rumbling her like the best…

  • The Twisted Heart

    09 – Sea, Salt and Silence

    7 Days Later ‘Hi, I’m Stef.’ She stared into the mirror and tried to pretend she was normal. ‘Hi, I’m okay.’ She ran her hand through her hair – the new haircut was as short as the school would allow, which, thanks to its archaic rules meant she had to retain some veneer of girliness, but it was far, far shorter than what it had been. And that was good for now – it was one less thing to deal with every day, one less thing she could mess up. There was only so messy and so dirty that four inches of hair could get – so long as she…

  • The Twisted Heart

    08 – Coping Mechanisms

    She was dead. Every inch hurt. Hair hurt. Eyebrows hurt. Air on skin hurt. Her mouth was dry. Sahara. Desert. Arid as Antarctica. Stef opened her eyes and wished she was dead. Dead would be better than feeling like this. But she had to be dead to feel this bad. Water. She needed water. I’ve got to get up. Okay. Start by getting out from under the sheets. She blinked and wished she could blind herself. With a similar effort to lifting a continent from the seafloor, she started to move the sheets aside. Half of the sheets had dried vomit on them, and it was suddenly becoming clear she…

  • The Twisted Heart

    07 – The Last Loud Day

    One of the things she had asked Keanan to buy was a bathing suit – just a basic, one-piece suit. Like some of her stranger requests, he hadn’t questioned it, and it had been delivered with the next meal. She hadn’t been articulate in words her notebook what her problem was, but she was just about able to parse it in the snakepit that was her brain. Her problem wasn’t that she was crazy. Well, of course, that was her problem, but that wasn’t the…problem. There was a lot about crazy that she hated, but there was a lot that she was getting used to – and there were worse…

  • The Twisted Heart

    06 – Stef in Kensington Gardens, Again

    ‘I wish I hated you.’ Five words and she was crying. They weren’t the first words she’d spoken to Peter since he’d abandoned her, but they were the truest. Other words had been…staring out of her room at school or at the estate, focussing in on a star, and wishing that he’d return, swing back around with a handful of pixie dust and take her away from the mundane and the humdrum. Those words had been wishes into a black night, wishing for the feel of starlight on her skin, to feel the rush of magic that- Peter was real, and that was one of the few solid truths that…

  • The Twisted Heart

    05 – What Never Came Next

    Days came and went without care. Without- Anything. Food was ordered, and food was delivered. Items were requested, delivered, and sat in their bags. The laptop sat unopened. Stef slept. There were thoughts, but they crossed like butterflies in the wind. Nothing seemed to catch. Nothing seemed to work. There had been the want to do something when she’d arrived. Music played from her phone as she peeked out from her pillow fort. There was the want to just go to sleep and never wake up again. To pretend that the next few weeks she had in Applegate Court were all she had – with all the good and bad…

  • The Twisted Heart

    04 – Weighing Options

    Morning had snuck in and slunk away by the time she woke. A call down to the front desk had someone running out for sandwiches and soft drink – and as she was waiting for those to arrive, she downed three cups of coffee, which helped to somewhat rouse her to an almost functional state. After food arrived, she sat on the overstuffed couch, the complimentary Applegate Court notepad and pen sitting on her knee, the blank page taunting her inability to do anything. She had…a month, it wasn’t quite that, but it made sense to think of it as a month. A month to control her crazy, to stop…

  • The Twisted Heart

    03 – Semi-Precious Shadow

    It took twenty minutes to pack. Open a drawer, throw underwear into her much-graffitied Louis Vuitton overnight bag. Open another drawer, throw pants and T-shirts into the matching weekend bag. Tie the arms of her one nice jacket through the arms of the weekend bag, phone, charger, headphones. The Hobbit bundle of cheese lay on her bed, nothing but crumbs left. Her room – one of the few private rooms that her house had – would be safe while she was gone. And if it wasn’t, there was nothing so personal that it would hurt to lose. She was the weird, drunk loser, but her name protected her from a…