Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!
Lightning seared the tumultuous sky before Arah’s eyes. She couldn’t hear the thunder through her headphones but it shook her bones and the rocks she reclined atop. She should probably get down. Maybe even into the cave with the family she had saved that afternoon.
What kind of idiots had children in a ruined world? Arah’s mother hadn’t been any older than these parents and Arah wasn’t much older than their boy. But Arah had been born for a reason. A stupid, pointless, futile reason. She was the last magical girl.
The lightning was upon her. All she had to do was lay there and let it hit her and that would be it. The world was already lost. There was so little left. Arah hadn’t given up when the Destroyer got her mother. In fact, she’d been kicking ass the two years since then. Today she even found and rescued surviving civilians. Somehow that flicker of hope had exhausted her.
The lightning came and Arah reflexively deflected it with an apathetic hand. Her music shorted out. Would she lay there in silence? She sat up and applied the minuscule amount of magic it took to restart her sixty-hour playlist with the tap of a finger.
Arah’s heart dropped. The hillside was crawling with the Destroyer’s hordes. They had the civilians’ scents and would never relent. Arah watched them swarm closer. She was tired of being the last magical girl. She was done being an avenger.
She stood and summoned the Energy Matrix to each hand where it took the shape of her photonic daggers. She switched to her fight playlist and transferred the signal to her cat-ear speakers.
Arah leapt into the fray and promised herself, impossible or not, she would save the world.295 words by David A Ludwig (@DavidALudwig)
After a troubled night, a night where his brain burst with mice stampedes, pigs porking, and an unnatural quantity of steaming horse manure dropping into every somnambulant movement he made, Feeney struggled to find the legs to transfer his depressed body out of his thirty-five-year-old mattress.
“You’re gonna get stuck someday, Feeney,” his second wife, Prudence, had said fifteen years earlier. “A man can only put on so much weight before his body sinks into the depressed quicksand that a moldy old mattress can become.”
Pru left soon after she had verbally assailed the condition of their marital bed, much like Emily before, although Em had selected the Sleepy Head King Size Sleep Machine from a vast selection of Slumber Experiences at Honest Snoozy’s Sleep Emporium and then Alice, who came much later, occasionally commented on the lumps.
The next to last was Jessica, who barely stayed a fortnight before Feeney and his night voices and the aging mattress and a whole slew of other character flaws got in her craw, and she packed her valise with jewels and travelers’ cheques and drove away in his mother’s prize Edsel.
So, there Feeney was, nightmares galore, and not just nightmares, but night horses and other critters, all the fears he had, the years that were now shortened into months, maybe, because he didn’t believe he would get beyond a very brief time, even though Sile, his final wife, as far as he knew as his track record was not unlike Mickey Rooney’s, who incidentally starred in a movie, The Black Stallion…
His energy flagged.
There in bed, trying not to disturb Sile, regretting it all, regretting nothing, he wondered if life was a horse and he just needed to climb back on and go for a ride, once again.300 words by Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)
The First/Last Cup of Tea
I can’t be bothered today. I don’t know why. Well, actually I do. I’m bored. Every day is the same. Tap their forehead with my scythe and move onto the next collection. Only the numbers change. Maybe that’s the reason I knock on her lilac purple door rather than going straight in.
“Just coming.” The sound of shuffling footsteps. The door opens to reveal a little old lady looking up at me.
“You’re late.” She walks away, leaving the door wide open. “Aren’t you coming in?”
They don’t normally ask me in. Am I allowed to interact with the collections? They only covered running away and pleading. I look to either side and then squeeze through the door frame. I follow her into a small lounge, two overly large sofas gang up on a glass covered coffee table. A tea pot steams away to itself under an Accrington Stanley themed tea cosy.
“Tea?” She holds up a cup. “Or do you not drink tea?”
Training definitely didn’t cover tea. They didn’t even say if it was poisonous.
She looks down, fallen as if she has somehow failed.
“Honestly… I don’t know. I’ve never tried.”
She smiles and pours a cup. “No time like the present, dear. I didn’t want to die having failed as a hostess.”
“You seem happy about that.”
“My mother brought me up right.” She hands my cup.
“No, I meant about death.”
“I’ve been alive a long time, dear. A long happy time I might add, but well…” She looks over at a mantle piece of black and white photos. They are all the same man at different ages. “… I just want to see Arthur again.”
“Tell me about him.”
And she spends the rest of her life doing so.296 words by Stephen Shirres (@The_Red_Fleece)