Category: Short Fiction

The Roadie

“Well, there’s a set of them, aren’t there?”

“Answer the question, roadie. Who are they?”

Horace was getting snippy; 15 hours of roundabout, merry-go-round, chase the fucking rabbit, and he’d barely got back to the starting point with this lackey.

“Which?” Came the tart reply.

Tory shot the roadie in the foot. In hindsight, Horace thought as he resisted the ringing in his ears, that should have happened earlier this morning.

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A Father’s Words

“Sometimes, you just need to sit and bask, bake, under an uncaring sun.” He inhaled slowly, as if drawing in the very heat around himself. My ears were so poised for his next words I almost missed them in the background noise.

“Because, daughter mine, the world under your feet, the grass and insects and animals, all that wind and rain and ceaseless molten activity?” He exhaled his breath as if it were smoke from a tasteless cigar; a habit that he’d kicked but that followed him like a stray dog, “It barely notices your passing. Unless you Make it notice.”

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Wash

The glittering iridescent hide of the beast shimmered in the pulsar’s light, dancing across the thick exoskeleton in waves; an interstellar tide.

The Caretaker was busy diving into the engine manifolds: great, burgeoning nuclear fires, spewing plasma and energetic gouts of flame from an internal nebula of compressing and expanding gases within the host beast. They found themselves awash with the colourful radiation of countless elements, and the sensation was not unpleasant as they inspected the inner workings, looking for cracks in the inner shell or discord among the rampant reactions that ricocheted throughout the light-years large space.

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Garrison

“Fifteen months of service, and where do they put me?” The frustrated voice crackled out of the radio.

Sighing, Ebriette paused in their work, hanging on to the metal latticework of the communication tower with one hand and increasing the volume on the receiver. “Let me guess, Milo. ‘Out in the middle of an ocean’.” Their reply was dripping with as much sarcasm as they could muster through the thin clinging film of the high-altitude-breathing-apparatus; or as the insufferable goon in charge of training had cheerfully explained, HAPA.

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Those Who Follow The Star-Prophet

(All characters of the graichic race are hermaphroditic, and do not have gender-specific pronouns; a singular they has been used in place.)


The waterfalls were deafening, even from so far away; like so many rains happening further below, all thunderous cacophony and deep bass rumbling. It filled Fa with such a peace that the last month’s hardships were slowly ebbed away, and they allowed themselves a few moments of dozing in the early summer sun, surrounded by their raichii who splashed happily in the waters. Fa was nearly asleep by the time they felt a nudging head poke into their abdomen.

“Where is Mo, Fa?” Came the little voice from beside them.

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Cuquimo Mergedyell, the Colourless Viper

This story is based off of a story from the game Dwarf Fortress, provided by the lovely Dusty Dorfs posts here and here. Dwarf Fortress is a game steeped in lore and legends, as well as nuanced and complex histories. I have taken some liberties with added names and personalities, but I drew much of the information here directly from those posts. From this we have a story of Cuquimo Mergedyell, the human general of a conflict against that wretched blight, the Goblin, and the kind of impact that has on a person later in their life…


The corpse-laden battlefield, heavy with the burden of war, stretched out below them like death’s own bloody harvest.

Cuquimo Lecbealá, she of the title “The Colourless Viper”, stood atop a short crest where the officers had made camp; from here, she could survey the battle’s results, and hear faint conversation from the soldiers under her command. There was the faint stench of blood and soiled bodies even upwind, and the guttering pitch of the torches did little to aid the smell.

The voices below occasionally rang out in boisterous laughter or raucous songs, accompanied by the rhythmic clanking of tankards and armor and the stomping of many a boot. A sort of chaotic symphony, attesting that their victory was one to be celebrated, lauded in song and dance for days to come.

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Menhir – Rieva’s Story

Her home was empty, both of noise and of another home within it, as a song without a melody. Her bones felt the chill of autumn’s touch all too keenly from the open windows, but she could not bring herself to close them. Something in her said that it was right; his spirit could not find her if the house was shut up like a tomb, could not bade her fond farewell or show her to their mutual love. Saden had been missing for nearly three days since the passing, and she would not hold the wake without him. Not only for his sake and company, but for Syf’s spirit to know they were both there at the last.

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Wait.

Deep green fluid, transparent and illuminated from all sides by miniature bulbs, gurgled quietly as it circled in the pool. As it poured over over a head the size of a small house, steam jetted along the length of it, hissing in the slight viscosity coating it. Multiple symmetrical grooves ran lengthwise along the almost-humanoid jaw, though the shape resembled that of a warship’s prow more than a human face. Circuitry pulsed with life in these channels, a veritable night’s sky of lights blinking in and out in a lazy pattern. The metal beast slumbered wearily, its languor clear as it idled within the restoring bath.

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Stormworld: Cottage

The cottage stood empty on the bluff, wind whistling through long-broken shutters as a fine mist descended from the thin clouds. Occasional god-rays shone through, which was as sunny as it got this time of year. The cottage on the hill was, like most structures, derelict – abandoned years ago and nowhere near salvage or food to bother fixing up. As such, it made for a fantastic bird perch, as well as hideaway for one individual.

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Menhir – Saden’s Story

The menhir stood solitary atop the hill, bare in the harsh autumn wind. What little lichen grew on it had begun to die off months ago as autumn approached, and several web-like cracks splintered along the base where water and plants had worn away the stone. Small pots of earthenware lay empty or overturned in front of the massive rock, their contents long since dried up and blown away. A small carved rock figurine nestled against the base of the rock, a thin crimson ribbon – a wedding band – tied around the neck.

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