Thursday, October 31, 2013


“What’s this?” Bree asked, plucking a delicate, beaded web from the wall.  

“It’s my dreamcatcher.” Anna said. “It catches bad dreams and lets the good ones through. Then the bad dreams get burned up by the sun.”

Bree puckered her lips, wrinkled her eyebrows and squinched her nose as if she’d smelled something rotten. “That’s stupid. Do you sleep with a night-light, too?”

Anna’s face burned. She kept thinking she’d get used to Bree’s abuse, but every classroom gibe and playground slander was a fresh paper cut on her heart. “Not anymore.”

“Whatever. Mom promised me a new video game if I agreed to spend the night with you. The sooner we sleep, the sooner I can go home and play with my real friends.” Bree turned off the light. 

Laying in the dark, Anna clutched the dreamcatcher. It was heavy, pregnant with a fortnight of horrors. She stroked its fragile strings, their familiar magic unknotting serpents of anxiety that writhed in her gut. One by one, Anna snapped the threads she’d so carefully protected from daylight’s embrace these long past weeks, and a thick, luminescent fog mushroomed from the dreamcatcher, filling the room. Anna dropped the ruined talisman and slipped into the closet; she watched through a slit as a host of liberated abominations—great, eyeless creatures with razored tentacles and bottomless gaping throats—descended upon Bree. Her screams fractured the night.

Anna stayed in the closet until the first golden rays of morning filtered through her bedroom window. Monstrosities’ mouths yawned wide, silently wailing as they evaporated into obsidian mist. She crept from her refuge, stepped over Bree’s tattered remains and lifted a tangle of beaded string from the bloody floor. Anna dropped it into the trash; she wouldn’t need it anymore.

Her nightmare was over. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Memory of a Murder (Flash! Friday #47 entry)

Oscar stared eagerly at the condemned man. In four minutes, Oscar would know all the man’s secrets; in five, he would kill him.

Oscar—state-sanctioned psychic executioner—lifted his hands like a maestro preparing to conduct a symphony. His fingertips brushed the condemned man’s temples, wicking memory. He picked his way carefully through the crosshatch of remembrances until... 


Woven seamlessly into the organic quilt of true memory were those Oscar had fabricated and stitched carefully into place.

The moon reflected in a silver blade.
A scream.
An ocean of blood.

Oscar wanted the man to unremember, to know the truth before the end. He tugged at a seam, unraveling the memory.

The condemned man’s hands shot up, clamping Oscar’s head like a vice. Oscar screamed—False! All of them!—as a geyser of unearthed memories flooded his mind. Behind the patchwork of invented memory, inhabited by a wailing populace of countless wronged souls, was a graveyard of rotting remembrance. Murderer-to-murderer, psychic-to-psychic, they lived each other's confession. 

The room trembled and roared as psychic shockwaves passed between Oscar and the condemned man. In time, both men crumpled lifelessly to the groundtheir lives and deeds forever lost in unremembered memory. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Halcyon Skies (Flash! Friday #46 entry)

His skin was a blaze of frigid fire; it glowed fierce orange in the light of a slowly strobing emergency beacon as it bore temporary holes through the gauzy darkness. Ray stood naked and shivering, face upturned to the midnight sky.

The aurorae had poisoned his team, afflicting each member with a tranquility so profound they wasted away from self-neglect. Day and night they stood on the ice like a field of frosted sunflowers. With faces upturned they traced the celestial phenomenon across the sky, refusing food, water, even sleep. No amount of protest or beseeching, not even the threat of violence could penetrate their anesthetized states. Suffering from achromatopsia—a complete inability to perceive color—Ray himself could not appreciate the hypnotic miasma as it swirled seductively in the atmosphere; his undiscerning eyes conveyed a natural immunity to its apathy-inducing influence. He activated the emergency beacon and radioed for help.

Over the course of six days, forty-four men and women succumbed to dehydration and exposure. During those same six days, Ray received a number of radio transmissions, each more foreboding than the last. There were reports of low latitude atmospheric anomalies—brilliant serpentine ribbons pulsing on every horizon, day and night—and a pandemic of inexplicable waking coma spreading like wildfire. On the seventh day there was silence.

Abandoned and alone, Ray burned the bodies, stripped to his skin and, with eyes searching the sky for a glimpse of heavenly hellfire to deliver him into the hands of malignant indifference, waited for death. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Forbidden Fruit

From the book of New Genesis: Chapter 4, Verses 1-10. 

1. Using standard DNA extraction procedures (see Entry 1.24) isolate 20ug of target DNA
2. Using standard DNA extraction procedures (see Entry 1.24) isolate 20ug of subject DNA
3. Incubate target DNA with restriction enzymes B132 and K984 per protocol (see Entry 1.37)
4. Incubate subject DNA with restriction enzymes D142 and D177 per protocol (see Entry 1.43)
5. Combine target DNA and subject DNA per ligation protocol (see Entry 2.13)
6. Plate 5ug/ul of recombinant DNA with cloning vector RA314 and incubate at 37*C for 24 hours
7. Isolate transfected colonies 
8. Culture transfected colonies in nutrient broth x10 generations 
9. Lyse 3-5 transfected colonies and incubate with phage vector per protocol (see Entry 3.11)
10. Inject 20cc of purified vector (suspended in saline) into subject

Drosera stood before her congregation; a sea of aquamarine faces framed by wild ivy tendrils gazed back at her. 

“And the Creator named us Chloros feminae. We are the keepers of New Eden,” she said.

“Praise be to Mother Earth and her sister, Sol, from whom all life-energy flows,” came the reply.

“Praise be.”

As the congregation exited the temple into a bright, sun drenched courtyard, Drosera slipped away. She traveled beyond the walls of New Eden, crept over fields littered with fleshless remains, crushing bones and sucking the marrow as she went. To forsake Sol’s rays and consume life was forbidden in New Eden. Wanton consumption had ended the Old World.

Spreading dew-drop tentacles, Drosera basked in the harsh, orange glow of a molten sunset. The air was electric, charged with the life-force of countless buzzing insects. Her buds quivered with excitement. 

A armyworm moth lit upon one delicate, mucin-tipped appendage. 

In time, the harsh, paranoid rule of New Eden would fade and Drosera would openly practice the ways of her ancestors. Until then... Drosera hesitated, permitting her anticipation to rise to an almost fevered pitch, before ushering the morsel to her fervent lips.


Friday, October 4, 2013

Little Miracles (Flash! Friday #44 entry)

“What am I going to tell their parents?” Constance asks, frowning at a herd of giggling first-graders and wrapping her hands one over the other in a repetitive knuckle-cracking motion. 

She flinches as one of the students trips, initiating a chain reaction that results in droves of coordinately challenged youths toppling like dominoes. Constance presses her palms to her cheeks and gnaws on her lower lip. 

The thermometer reports an October high of 104o. There’s no telling how many gallons of sweet pumpkin wine have passed from various drinking fountains over pursed cherubic lips. Lips that only hours earlier whispered in unison the first public school sanctioned prayers in this century. They’d prayed for a miracle.

Constance stares at the mound of intoxicated children. With their prayers answered, she wonders for the first time if it might have been a mistake to bring God back into the schools.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


With arms outstretched, her bones as brittle as antique china, Isabelle lingers—a fading image born of excited photons, sensitized silver and mercury vapor. Her teeth are cracked, would likely crumble to dust if she could but relax her petrified grin, and her eyes weep powdered rue. 

Only her ears remain unspoiled, eavesdropping on countless hours of conversation as first decades, and then centuries, elapse. She craves the breathless whispers and tired recitations, the salacious confrontations and bitter confessions. Diatribes. Monologues. Sermons. She inventories each exchange, dissecting every inflection and vocal nuance, inserting herself into their substance. So, too, does she decipher the language of the unspoken. The unstealthy creek of floorboards at night, the drone of insects, the curious hum of new technology. These are her only sanity in an unsane, unchanging unlife. 

Tonight, a discordant symphony unlike anything Isabelle has ever heard fulfills her need. A high, cautionary trill punctures the quiet and smoldering embers seep through. They ignite the cosmos. 

She rejoices as crackling flames race to lap at her weathered visage.  

Isabelle has evaded the Pope’s hoard of righteousness, escaped the tortures of the Inquisition and avoided the gallows in Salem, only to be discovered in an era of rational thought and imprisoned by a new magic. Now the burning time has returned and with it the promise of sweet release. Isabelle delights in the ballad of cinder and flame as it rises to a deafening crescendo. 

Her skin blisters. The world turns to ash. 

Isabelle is engulfed in divine conflagration and evaporates into silence.