I had a lot of fun with my previous blog post on predatory publishing, and it was very tempting to write a follow-up. I’ll keep that in reserve for later in the year, however—or maybe look at the similar phenomenon of predatory conferences.
My very short stories have been accumulating, so here are nine from February. Images are mainly from Pixabay this time round.
Joe tightened Dan’s bonds. “Your time travel paradigm will make me rich!”
Dan scowled. “No one’ll believe you invented it.”
“Who cares? I’ll have an alibi for my robberies. I can be in two places at once!”
“Good point,” said Dan as his other self bopped Joe on the head.
My torch flickers. Nose wrinkling, I peer at the script carved on the wall. I enunciate it, but the sense escapes me.
The next line is in demotic rather than hieratic characters, easier to translate.
“Beware: Ritual is DANGEROUS.”
The scent of myrrh intensifies.
The dictator’s right-hand man eliminated competitors at his master’s behest, meanwhile sowing seeds of rebellion. The uprising hailed him as a saviour. Little did the populace expect he’d be even worse after achieving total control.
Adjusting his IR goggles, he crept past the lasers. His life’s pinnacle lay ahead: a teardrop-cut blue diamond.
His trembling gloved hand reverently opened the glass lid. Groped around. Patted frantically.
Finally, he dared a pen torch. The card read: out on loan.
“You didn’t see the intruder?” The detective sneered around his cigar.
“I was hiding! But he was lame.”
The detective’s chewing stopped. “How’d you know?”
“Footsteps. I also smelled… tobacco?”
“I see. We’re done.” The detective stood and carefully shuffled out.
“You’re the new girl? Start by drawing me a bath.” The duke’s eyes roved over her trim form. “Maybe I’ll overlook your humble origins and find other uses for you.”
“Yes, sir. I’m very grateful,” mumbled the assassin. She would take particular satisfaction in this job.
“I sense your epiphany.” The hermit addressed the pilgrim’s companion. “What do you seek?”
“You toiled up this mountain out of friendship?”
“Naw, had no choice.”
The hermit frowned. “You must want something. Ask! Be done!”
Manacles jangled. “Got a lockpick?”
When one rat figured out how to open his cage, there was celebration. They squeezed through a hole to a world they’d never before seen.
Abandoned inside, the fattest rat comforted himself with the leftover treats while his friends were welcomed by foxes and cats.
Note: I was inspired for this story by an item on the BBC news website about the rat that got stuck in a drain cover.
The queen smiled at the crowd’s roar. Husband dead, stepdaughter exiled. Now to recruit the royal champion.
Clanking towards the royal seat, the victorious knight bowed.
“Do you wish to be king?” asked the queen.
The princess raised her helm and then her sword. “No.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed these stories. I’ll be back soon with more!