#SwiftFicFriday, #SwiftFicFriday - Responses, Musings

#SwiftFicFriday W138 – Vote!

Another prompt, another round of great stories to choose from. Check the stories out below and vote for your favorite!

My Friend on the Line

It could be the phone ringing. Or I could be dreaming it. One’s as likely as the other.
Any other possibilities?
Brain damage, maybe? I did bump my head in the woodshed yesterday. Damn, I’m not cut out for rural life. Can’t even stack wood without causing myself harm.
There it is again.
That ringing.
She’s not stirring. She’s gotta be hearing it.
I know that trick. Just wait until the other guy gets up to answer. Pulled it plenty.
Okay, why not just reach over and grab it?
On her side.
Good planning…if she answers.
Which she’s not.
You gotta love ‘em.
Okay. I’ m up.
Grab the receiver.
The ringing stops.
“Hello…anyone there?”
Then…”Meeeester Blake? Is that you Meeeester Blake?”
” Yeah. What!” I know I sound gruff. I feel gruff.
“There are some large charges on your WESA. Do you approve?”
My friend on the line, I’m sure he has called before. Usually something about my computer. Maybe he’s branched out. Diversified
“No. I don’t approve…of anything,” I say, trying to be sing-songy. You know it’s three in the morning, right?”
“Not where I am, Meeester Blake. You are Meester Blake, are you not?”
“It’s three in the morning,” I repeat. “I have no idea who I am.”
The truth of this statement shocks me even more than my friend on the line.
“That’s funny, Meeeester Blake.”
“Look, my friend. I’m hanging up and going back to bed. You take care now…talk to you soon.”
“But Meeees….” But I’ve hung up and crawled back into bed.
He’ll be back. No doubt about it.
Friends keep in touch.

278 words by Bill Engleson (@billmelaterplea)

“Dad! Dad! Come see!”

Akinobu’s consciousness drifted up from the pleasantness of dream to a hissing voice by his head. Sleep more than darkness delayed recognition of the figure by his head.

“Haruto?” Akinobu twisted his hand toward the candle in the corner of the room, causing the flame to become visible and illuminating the graduated markings on its surface. “It’s three in the morning.”

“Yeah, but you gotta see!”

Whispering was clearly taking all of the self-control Haruto could muster. Akinobu glanced at his wife, still asleep on his other side, before nodding to their youngest.


Akinobu rose carefully and waved the clock candle back to dark mode before following his son out into the hallway. His bodyguard, Sen, was likely monitoring all of this from her station in the castle walls. They were in Haruto’s room when the boy turned proudly to face his father.

“I’ve mastered my first spell!”

“I see,” Akinobu pinched sleep from his eyes to focus on his son.


Haruto turned to his paper balloon in the middle of the floor, concentrating intently with his arms extended. The boy wiggled his fingers. He was so focused on the sphere that it seemed unlikely he was aware of the sequence of faces he was making. Though his muttering did sound like an incantation.

Akinobu waited.

Haruto glanced at his father and back to the balloon, desperation creeping into his demeanor.

“I, I made it levitate! I promise I’m not lying!”

The elf lord sighed and crouched to his son’s level.

“I believe you. But it takes a hundred castings to master a spell.”

Haruto slumped his shoulders in defeat and sniffed. Akinobu put his hand on his son’s shoulder.

“Why don’t we try again in the day?”

294 words by David A Ludwig (@DavidALudwig)

It’s another night in the hospital, and I’m alone. There should be a nurse here doing her rounds, but this isn’t the institution I remembered from before. The patients here all look after themselves. If we need medication, it’s up to us to find it, rifling through the nurse’s unlocked cabinets and drawers until we find something suitable to combat our pains. Some of us depend on the pig-Latin we remember from school; others just hope they can recognise the capsules or tablets their doctors prescribed. After dark, in the darkness on the ward, it’s usually a gamble. Everyone here prays for relief, few of us caring how it comes.

But today, tonight, it’s three in the morning. The screamers are either asleep or lying awake, their throats paralysed and raw. The light from the interconnecting corridor casts a dull green hue, changing the familiar landscape of beds into something alien. There are buzzers and flashing indicators, electronic alarms and long ignored calls.

We are the forgotten; none of us now of any consequence. It matters little if we live or die.

A woman is lying asleep across the nurse’s desk, ignoring the phone’s dial tone. She’s an octogenarian, a veteran of the war. She came in for a knee replacement and then lost her leg; the prosthetic one that the surgeon attached was six inches too short. Ineptitude is now the norm here; she should be grateful she woke at all.

As for the nurses: what of them? They’ve either been reassigned to the frontline or removed from duty. Some of them will have been infected now, and most of the rest will have been eaten. The Risen never coordinate what they do: they’re an irresistible force, an unpredictable world event.

They’ll take everyone still alive before they stop.

300 words by Mark A. Morris


There was not much to say or, frankly, to be said. And I’m pretty sure that when it’s three in the morning it’s best not to say anything anyway, even if you didn’t have a blow-up fight with your lover the night before and she’s asleep next to you as you’re pretending to be asleep next to her.

Our backs were against each other. My eyes were open, staring at the wall and just in range of the alarm clock on the side table. 2:59. 3:00. 3:01. It was like “Groundhog Day” without Bill Murray or Sonny & Cher.

I thought I’d heard her crying, but that was thirty or forty minutes earlier and now I was calmed by her rhythmic breathing.


“I still love you.”

I heard it suddenly if vaguely from her. Almost a whisper, perhaps an unconscious one, thinking I too had fallen asleep.


I reached my outer hand back awkwardly. It found her naked hip. I gripped it so far as I could and quickly rotated my body so I was facing her back and my other, now outer hand reached around to caress her stomach.

Now it was her turn to move and I held my breath wondering which way it would be. She scooted herself closer to me and held my hand to her tummy before pushing it lower.

“I forgive you,” she said as she did, and I knew how much of an ass I’d been. Again.

246 words by Joseph P Garland (@JPGarlandAuthor)

It was one of those dark mornings, the kind where I woke up at stupid o’clock and couldn’t get back to sleep. The kind where I felt empty inside, like there was nothing left of me. I looked at the clock. “It’s three in the morning.” I shook my head, because I knew there was only one thing I could do.

I got up, got dressed, and put on my walking shoes. I plugged my ear buds into my phone, put them in my ears, and had the phone start playing all my music in random order. Then, I went outside, and walked.

At three in the morning. In the dark.

As I walked, I thought about what other people might think about me walking at such a stupid time in the morning. A time when no one should be outside, walking. But, I’d walked for miles at that time of the morning for years. Nothing had ever happened. No one had ever said anything.

I wasn’t that worried about it. I was a white man. A 6 foot 2 inch tall, 230 pound white man. I didn’t have a lot to worry about.

I wasn’t a woman that had to worry about being jumped, dragged into the trees, or a ditch, or behind someone’s house, raped, and then stabbed to death. It was sad to me that our society was that broken. That women had to live with that kind of fear, never knowing when it would happen, and having to change their entire lives around, rework their entire schedules, to do things when it was safer for them.

Part of me wished I could change that.

Part of me knew I couldn’t.

So, I kept walking, and listening to my music. Until the emptiness went away.

298 words by Silenced. (@mysoulstears)

Kacee blinked sleep from her eyes, her brain still processing the small hand patting her cheek. She scrubbed at her face.

“Mama? Mama, it’s time.” The small girl’s voice whispered into the silence.

Kacee froze as her brain caught up to the girl’s words. “What do you mean they’re coming, Rianna, honey? It’s three in the morning.”

“They’re coming, it’s starting.”

Even as Rianna’s repeated words filled the air, Kacee knew she was right. The puca had begun filtering through the veil. She’d known it even before Rianna woke her, given the nightmare she’d been having. Kacee threw back the blanket and pushed herself to her feet, scrambling for her cell phone. All the while, the little girl stood back, wide-eyed, watching without a word.

“Rianna, go get your things just like we practiced; we’re going for real this time.”

She didn’t move. Kacee stopped her swift actions to pull her daughter close and kiss her on the head.

“You can feel them, can’t you?” Kacee felt Rianna’s head nod from where it remained tucked under her chin. She squeezed the girl tighter before moving her out to arm’s length. “We’re going somewhere safe, just like we’ve talked about since you were two. Remember, I told you I fought the puca for years before you were born?”

Rianna nodded. “I’ll go, Mommy, but I’m scared.”

Kacee pulled her in for one more quick embrace before letting her go. “I know, honey, I am too. But I have help coming, we’re going to a safe place, and I know how to fight them.”

Rianna slipped from the room on silent feet. Kacee sighed as she watched the girl go.

“Damn legends and their seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. Why did it have to be the only daughter of my blood?”

300 words by Stacy Overby (@dontpanic2011)

This Ain’t No Mud Club

It’s three in the morning. I’ve been awake since a little after midnight, when Billy Idol’s “Mony Mony” suddenly blared from downstairs.

“Get laid, get fucked!” was gleefully shouted at the right time, and the sound of laughter followed.

Occasionally I’d hear breaking glass, then a chorus of “asshole!” with mocking laughter. Cigarette smoke wafted upstairs and under my bedroom door, setting off my allergies in a storm of sneezes and coughs. I take a drink of water from the glass on my nightstand, but my door suddenly opens with a hard slam into the wall, and I drop it, soaking my sheets.

An obviously drunk couple stumble into my room, laughing and kissing.

“Oh, sorry!” the woman says. “Didn’t know this room was ‘occupado.’” The man laughs at her and grabs her around the waist out of the room and shuts the door behind them.

I’m shaking at the intrusion. I can hear the toilet flushing in the bathroom down the hallway.

“Hey, man! Get out of there, I need to puke!” The bathroom door opens, but the guy is already vomiting on the floor.

The music gets louder, laughing gets louder, and voices rise in volume in order to be heard. It sounds like fragile items are getting thrown at walls; there is so much shattering glass and ceramics and porcelain.

I can’t take it anymore.

“Stop it! Please stop all this!” I scream from my bed. I got no response, but I didn’t expect one. I burrow under my wet sheets and curl into a ball.

It’s three in the morning.

There’s a wild party in my house.

I live alone.

274 words by Sheri White (@sheriw1965)


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