Experiment #308

Sacrifice

From deep in the cave, a belch reverberated. Klon adjusted his grip on the spear and walked toward it. He sprinkled forma root behind him. Its red, psychic resonance clear in his mind. He’d volunteered for the sacrifice. His brother, Klar, who hadn’t volunteered, never returned.

Klon rounded a corner and found the monster. It belched again. A bloody shred of ceremonial robes landed in front of Klon as a toxic miasma blew over him. His eyes burned. The world … Read More

Experiment #307

The Well Laid Plans of Dogs & Cats

A tenuous peace had reigned in the Smith household when Skittles yawned and said, “They love us more.”

“Nonsense,” Duke replied.

Skittles pointed to the immaculate cat tree and the overflowing cat feeder, then to the dirty dog bed and the empty dog dishes.

Duke growled. “We’ll see.”

The dogs, Roscoe and Duke, worked their puppy dog eyes and wagged their tails.

The cats, Skittles and Pinklionlady, ignored everyone.

The dogs didn’t want to just win; they wanted to destroy the … Read More

Experiment #306

Two-Bit Town Part 8

With Keel’s help they shut off the M-coder. Rille wanted to destroy it, but Gideon stopped her. “We get you out and then we turn it back on.”

“Why?”

“Because these people can’t handle another attack.”

“You think an M-coder will solve their issue, marking my kind so they can be hunted?”

“No, but if you take a shepherd’s bullets away without telling him, what’s he supposed to do when the wolf comes?”

“So, you don’t take his bullets away? … Read More

Experiment #305

Two-Bit Town Part 7

“Awe Flarky Flarktown.” Rille said. She ran down the shaft, hoping Gideon was still in there. A few hundred feet down the shaft she came to a set of guards standing outside a makeshift room. One with metal bars on the door’s window. She screamed and leapt at them as soon as she saw them. Her skin burned a fiery red as she landed and knocked both out with a punch each.

She yanked off the … Read More

Experiment #304

Two-Bit Town Part 6

That night Rille found Gideon’s room empty so she staked out the bank on her own.

When morning came and he still wasn’t there, she made s few calls to her less than legitimate contacts and learned he’d been taken to an old mine twenty miles outside of town. She got on Gideon’s Morse and set out for the location.

The area surrounding the town was one large rolling pile of rocks and boulders. The Morse was … Read More

Experiment #303

Two-Bit Town Part 5

They staked out the bank again that evening and the next without anything useful. On the third night Gideon sent Rille to the other side of the bank to have a different view. Gideon wondered if he’d misheard the code, till on the fourth night someone put a knife to his neck.

“What are you doing here?” A voice asked.

“Well,” Gideon said, “I’m trying to prevent a robbery.” He grabbed the attacker’s arm and rolled forward, … Read More

Experiment #302

Two-Bit Town Part 4

Gideon woke at the knock on the door.

He pulled on his pants and tucked in his shirt. “Coming,” he growled.

He opened the door to see Rille in a revealing dress and leaning coquettishly again the door jamb. “Hello,” she said.

“Come back when you want to talk,” Gideon said and swung the door shut.

Rille pounded on the door. “Open up.”

Gideon opened the door again.

Rille pushed past him in a huff and sat on the bed.

Gideon turned, … Read More

Experiment #301

Two-Bit Town Part 3

That evening Gideon rode down Main Street and out of town on his Morse. He missed his Falsparian anti-grav bikes, but he’d lost both in the scuffle the former sheriff had referenced. And getting a new one from the central colonies would take more credits than he could legally get his hands on. Thus, he was stuck with the loaner Morse.

After nightfall, he returned to town with his Morse on silent. He stashed his Morse … Read More

Experiment #300

Two-Bit Town Part 2

Gideon asked around town about a translator, but the former Sheriff Rodgers was the main one. There were others, but no one willing to help an outsider. No one spoke to the undertaker, or any undertaker unless they had to. Burying bodies was all it took to be an undertaker. Funerals weren’t much more than a few words and a prayer supplied by the bereaved. When there were no bereaved it didn’t much matter what … Read More

Experiment #299

Two-Bit Town Part 1

Gideon straddled his Morse. “Morse,” Gideon said under his breath with contempt. “They ban weapons here, but not stupid names.” “Morse” was a combination of “mechanical” and “horse,” and, Gideon was certain, the idea of some hollow headed fool in one of the central marketing departments who’d never even been to the Aphelion Worlds. Worse yet, the Morse was made by the Slixx company who shipped nothing else out to the edge Worlds. In his … Read More

Experiment #297

Unpredictable Part 2

We fought about it on the Titanic, our sixth date.

“You come here often?” I asked. My tone could have sunk the ship. “Bring every flunky here? Wowing him with your defiance of linear time?”

“You’re not a flunky,” she said. “I don’t think you are, anyway.”

She’d seen herself with the other man too. “It’s in my future. I don’t know anything about it.”

Time traveler excuses.

In fact, the order I’d known of our dates wasn’t the order … Read More

Experiment #296

Unpredictable Part 1

I was a year and ten paragraphs into writing my novel. She was three lattes and a cappuccino into understanding the 21st century obsession with coffee. Our eyes met across the grocery store café. The rest is mostly history… for her.

On our first date, she took me to Rome, to a gladiator match in the Colosseum. She thought I’d like the theatrics of it, and I did, but I liked her in a toga more. … Read More

Experiment #295

Airlock

Xander hadn’t wanted to shove her out the airlock, but the risk was too high. They’d been friends, shipmates, lovers, and everything in between for the last decade.

“Stop crying,” she said, though Xander wasn’t sure whether she was talking to him or herself.

“Khrys, don’t make this harder than it has to be.”

The radio in her spacesuit squawked with solar interference.

“What? You sending me into space so I don’t take out half the ship?” she asked. “How hard … Read More

Experiment #293

Aunt Myrtle

A portrait of Aunt Myrtle hung from a noose in our living room. The noose itself was just my father’s way of using whatever bits and pieces were about to do the task at hand. He also thought it’d be a nice conversation piece among visitors, if we ever had any.

Aunt Myrtle, my mother’s favorite aunt, had long black hair twisted together in a loose bun that spilled out the back in snake-like waves. Her … Read More

Experiment #292

The Disappearance of Lilly Cole Part 13

“Cassy?”

The house echoed. A boy who looked just a year or two older than Lilly came out of the hallway. He’d gotten his Mom’s good looks. And, James hoped, something good from his father too.

“She’s downstairs, Dad,” said the boy.

James saw her anger in his eyes. And even then, a rush of love for this boy he’d never known flooded his heart. James pulled Jimmy into a hug. Over and over again James whispered, “I’m … Read More