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Mark Twain’s Lament

January 28th, 2017 Comments off

Mark Twain's lament

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That’s Not a Bear

January 28th, 2017 Comments off

That's Not a Bear

#picturefiction #flashfiction

Barry heard a cracking sound. Something heavy snapped a branch on his right. He froze. The park ranger had warned him of grumpy bears just waking from hibernation.
What had the man said? Was he supposed to freeze or run? Why had he spent so much time focused on updating his Twitter feed instead of listening to the orientation the ranger had given to all the hikers?
That dinosaur movie had said to freeze but that was for a Tyrannosaur. Maybe it applied to big carnivorous mammals too.
Barry decided to hope that bears were like dinosaurs and went rigid. Another crack – was that closer – came from the right. He turned his head, inch by terrified inch to see what was there. He was going to feel realy stupid if there was a deer or another hiker walking past him.
Trees, leaves, nothing was moving. Barry felt his stomach unclench, he was overreacting. Something large and brown moved – dear God it was a bear.
Barry’s eyes bugged as the brown furred bulk shifted once more. Another crack reached his hears and he realized that there were two more furry shapes just beyond the brown one. The additional bears were white. Wait, weren’t polar bears the only white bears? How the heck could a pair of polar bears get here? Maybe the bears escaped from the zoo or a circus.
The bears had their backs to Barry and appeared to be moving away from him. Barely breathing, he lifted his foot and inched further along the trail. If they didn’t notice him, he might escape.
Barry’s second step snapped a twig – oh God.
The bears froze and then stood up. The furry creatures rose until they stood upright. Bears didn’t stand like that. Barry’s eyes tracked upward. The barrel broad torso rose straight upward from the legs. The creature’s shoulders must have been eight feet off the ground. The furred, clawed arms hung loosely at the beast’s side. It’s head – dear Lord it’s head – the head, was nothing like a bear’s head. It wasn’t like any head Barry had ever seen. A tall pillar of fur rose from the monster’s shoulders another four feet making the monster twelve feet in height. Barry could not see any features; neither eyes nor nose, not even a mouth.
“That’s not a bear,” Barry said and then gasped at his stupidity for speaking.
The brown creature walked toward Barry. It didn’t move like a bear, it moved like a man with a smooth gait. Barry began to wonder if he had stumbed on a trio of guys who liked to wear furry outfits.
The brown creature stopped right in front of Barry. He could smell a sour musk coming from the creature. Barry stared at the monster, he assumed it was somehow staring at him. The creature’s head shuddered and Barry saw a line split it from top to bottom. The line widened and  the sides of the monster’s head spread wide to reveal row after row of triangular teeth from top to bottom – at least Barry now knew where it’s mouth was.
Barry needed to run but his legs were rubber. The brown monster leaned over. Barry watched the hundreds of teeth as the enormous maw surrounded him. The last thing Barry saw was the monster’s quivering tongue as the jaws snapped shut on his head.

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The Adventures of Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill

January 21st, 2017 Comments off

The Adventures of Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill

#picturefiction #flashfiction #steampunk
The airship Fatuity hovered above the castle of the mad Baron Otto von Burstein. It’s armored sides glistened in the morning sun displaying its impregnable defiance to the machinations of the evil Baron.
“Number One, set engines to hover,” Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill said to the squat man beside him. “It’s time we showed the Baron that he cannot threaten Her Majesty’s realm with his scientific abominations.”
“Aye yer Lordship,” he said. The man turned to a large tube and began shouting muffled orders into the funnel at its terminus. The ingenious communications device (one of Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill’s better innovations) relayed the First Mate’s orders to the engine room deep within the floating warship.
“Lower a line,” Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill shouted.  “I’m going down to confront the madman.”
“Sir, is that wise,” the First Mate said as crewmen scrambled to obey.
“Worry not, Number One. I have my latest invention, the Trans-Ionic Deflector Belt. It will render me invulnerable to the Baron’s weapons and I  shall dispatch him for the glory of the Empire.”
Number One shrugged his shoulders in resignation. He would have to check on the medical bay’s status. The crew had long experience with patching up Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill after one of his grand adventures.
A cheer went up as Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill clipped his Kineto-Magnetic Rappelling Harness to the line and dropped to the castle below.
Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill came to light in the courtyard of the castle. The walls were covered with thorn covered vines which moved with animalistic life, clearly one of the Baron’s obscene creations.
“Greetings Captain,” a voice with a cultured German accent said.
“Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill if you please,” Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill said. “Your evil days are at an end Baron.”
“I will ask only once Captain – excuse me, Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill. You are unwelcome here and my Aetheric Ray is an unstoppable weapon.”
As the Baron named his creation, a large cannon with a bulbous tip where the bore would normally be was rolled through an archway into the courtyard by four men clad in the livery of the Baron.
“I would hate to harm you but as you can see, I am prepared and will dispatch you should you not leave immediately.”
“Ha,” Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill laughed. “Do your worst Baron. I am protected by my latest invention. Your weapon will be as useless against me as a flower.”
Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill drew his Plasmatic Phase Shift Pistol and held it at the ready. He flicked a series of switches on his belt and a satisfying hum reached his ears.
“Would you care for the first shot Herr Baron? You should have your chance to see that you truly had no chance.”
The Baron looked at his opponent and then back at the enormous cannon; then back at his opponent, and back at the cannon. He shrugged and motioned to his minions.
“Feuer!” Fire.
One of the servants flicked a battery of switches and miniature lightning chased across the barrel of the weapon. A high pitched whistle filled the courtyard and then a beam of brilliant blue energy, brighter than the sun, erupted from the bulb of the cannon and engulfed Air Captain Sir Miles Scissorbill.
The Baron blinked spots from his vision and surveyed the results.
The blinking, humming belt was unharmed, protected by its force field. Beside it lay the Air Captain’s ray gun and his smoking bones.
“Hans, fetch me that hat,” the Baron said. “He may have made worthless inventions but the man did have a sense of panache.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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