Friday, May 30, 2008

Call Me

Cindy plopped down on the couch and snatched the cordless phone from the table.

"Hello, Norris residence, this is Cindy," She announced distantly as she rapidly shot through the channels on the TV.

"You know, Cindy," The voice on the other end tinnily replied. "It's not especially bright to be announcing who you are to a perfect stranger."

Cindy pulled the phone from her ear and, dumbfounded, looked at it for a second. Instinct made her check the room in which she sat, and even take a cursory glance over her shoulder.

"Who is this?" She asked, returning the hand set to her ear, "Can I help you with something?"

"Yes, Cindy, you can. What I really want to say is that I know that you are in an unfamiliar home, alone, watching a couple of kids while the parents are out on their little tryst... am I right?"

A swallow audibly clicked in Cindy's throat. "What a-are you talking about?"

"Cindy, please don't patronize me, it's not a good idea," The sarcastic voice continued. "I really don't want to have to hurt you, and believe me: I can. Do we understand each other?"

"I'm s-s-orry, I'm going to have to hang up n-n-now," Cindy said, now more than a little shocked and confused.

"NO!" The man shouted sinisterly, "Don't you dare! If you so much as bump a button with your face while I'm talking to you, I will slaughter those two innocent children upstairs in the second bedroom on the right... (ha ha) and I will positively make a crime scene out of your carcass. So, DO NOT HANG UP!"

At this, Cindy fell apart into fits of shuddering sobs. "P-please, mister, I'm just the babysitter, I have nothing of value to you!"

"Oh, that is where you are so wrong, my dear. What you have of value to me is your ability to take direction and take it without fail. Understand?"

Cindy swallowed past another onset of crying and nodded. "Y-y-yes, sir. Just please don't hurt me!"

"Good. It sounds like we're both on the same page now. Good." The man said as he took in a deep breath, "Very good. OK, here's your first task: Strip.

Once again Cindy burst out in fits of blubbering tears. "S-S-STRIP! Why d-do you want me to do that... NO! No, OK, OK... without f-f-fail, I'm stripping right now."

"Very good, you remembered. Once all of your clothes are off, go into the hall closet and take out the Cannon Digital Video camera. I'll wait."

Cindy slowly, with as much shame as she felt safe enough to muster, removed her pants and T-shirt, bra and panties, and laid them over the arm of the couch.

"OK, mister, I'm n-n-naked. I'm going to get the video camera. What am I doing this f-f-for?"

The shout from the other end of the phone nearly caused Cindy to drop the phone, "NO FUCKING QUESTIONS!" JUST DO AS YOU ARE FUCKING TOLD!"

Cindy pressed her hand to her eyes and held back much of another torrent of tears that threatened to betray her. "I'm s-s-sorry. O-OK, I have the camera out. N-now what?"

"Find the cord in the bag that has a red, white, and yellow end on both sides and plug it into the camera then into the front of the DVD burner under the TV. Tell me immediately when you are finished. And HURRY!"

Suddenly, from the pocket in Cindy's pants came the muffled sounds of Fallout Boy. It was her cell! Instinctively Cindy coughed a little into the phone to cover up the noise, however little of it there was.

"Those cords better be plugged in in about five seconds or you are really not going to like the consequences!"

Cindy had no choice to let the call go to voice mail, but at least she knew now that she had an option. She quickly jammed the cords into their respective spots. "OK, uh, mister... what do I call you anyway?"

"You can call me Pitt, and I'm not putting up with anymore of your SHIT!" If you think I'm honestly giving you a name, you must be completely fucking nuts!"

Cindy cringed a little and let loose a little sob while simultaneously knocking her pants to the floor. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry... the c-c-cords are in."

"Good. Now, step three: Turn on the camera, stick a blank disk into the player, and press record on both. DO IT NOW!"

Cindy did as she was told, almost too quickly. But, before pressing record on the camera, she slunk down just a little and nudged her cell from her pants pocket. But just then the phone pressed to her ear with her left shoulder slipped.

Cindy let out a cry and deftly snatched the plummeting receiver with her other hand. She quickly pressed it back to her head and, panting quite seriously, spoke. "O-O-OK, it's done."

"You sound awfully out of breath, Cindy. I surly hope you aren't up to anything, well, potentially dangerous... FOR YOU!"

"No sir, I swear on my mother's grave," Cindy said as she kicked the now free phone a little closer to where she was standing.

"Very good. Now, step four: Lay on the couch and masturbate."

The instructions were simple, but to Cindy they were nearly impossible. She was only sixteen and had never once touched herself. Sure, she'd read about it in Cosmo, so she at least knew what it was and, for the most part, how to go about it, but it was so foreign to her that she momentarily froze. Then it occurred to her that this lunatic on the phone might not be able to actually see her, or else he'd have witnessed her messing around with her cell. She thought it was probably as good a time as any to test it.

"Masturbate. Yes, I-I-I can do that," She said as she slid onto the couch. At the same time she knelt and found her phone on the floor, an act that anyone actually watching her would definitely see.

"Nice. I knew you could. I want to see you really get into it. DO IT!"

Cindy was right, he couldn't see her. She felt much less frightened and just a bit braver. She looked at her phone, assuming it was likely her friend Kim, or her Mom. Either one would suffice as she readied to press recall.

It was neither, In fact, it was a number she didn't at once recognize. "555-0134?" She silently mouthed to herself.

"CINDY!" The voice from the other end suddenly exploded into her ear. "Cindy, dear, you have been quite naughty..."

Cindy's first assumption was that Pitt meant how naughty she was being to herself. She would quickly realize how wrong she was. Because just then it finally hit her: 555-0134 was only one number different from the phone number she was talking from.

"Oh, that's right Cindy: It turns out I'm right upstairs on the Norris' office line. Oops! I guess I failed to mention that. And, unfortunately, not only are you not doing as I ask, but, as it seems, from the very second you foolishly decided to attempt to get your own phone, I took it upon myself to murder your little, um, 'responsibilities'. Too bad!"

Cindy didn't even have the strength to scream. Her eyes suddenly went dark and rolled back into her skull as her mouth hung open in silent horror. The records of a sixteen-year old suffering a miocardial infarction are next to none, but this was one time for the books.

"I had fun though, didn't you?" The voice asked with a sickening chuckle. 'Call me!"


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Feeding


There was nothing to see, nothing to hear, nothing at all. And then: everything to smell. The palpable blackness clung everywhere like a confining wrap. The deadness of the dark was chilling and, somehow, some way, comforting and secure. But the smells wafted and permeated all. Odors collided with other odors; scents meandered with other scents. But a new and unfamiliar stink endured. Only then was it immediately recognized. Though the full nothing was as complete and total as black could be, and though the emptiness of sound was as though someone or something removed it's very presence, the thing knew its purpose. It knew, it felt, it believed only one thing: feed.


The memory of the night past was foggy and broken at best. It recalled increments of time, bits and pieces of moments and actions, and faces. There were faces in the mist of the mind, faces it knew, faces it'd seen. Something else was there as well. It suddenly recalled the terror, the ghastly encounter, the moment of ending. It sat up, regarding the fullness of the blackness more carefully. It moaned, sorrowfully and remorsefully into the nothing, and cocked its nose to the open dark. Images of what it had seen sparked inside its rapidly diminishing memory, and quickly faded into their own bottomless end. And then the odor of prey hammered into its complacency like an unseen fist. It must feed, and it must feed soon lest, for some momentarily unknown reason, it die. Horribly, painfully, it would die. It staggered against the inky shroud and, subconsciously, panicked at the fact that it had no Earthly idea how to see where it desperately needed to go. It picked up no noise to aid in its present course, and some buried fear surfaced enough to wrap its tentacles around the weakened mind. But it knew that the mind was far from weak. Follow the scent; use the scent to guide you. Use the scent to feed.


The alluring aroma tickled its nose and tongue like tiny, invisible tendrils and pecked at its very being begging for it to proceed. It stood erect, but somehow, not. It heard the creaking of taught tendons; it felt the tightening, sinewy muscles it had never noticed before. It clenched its fists, piercing into its own palms. Sharp extrusions ripped into its palm flesh and brought forth pain and blood. Though somewhere deep in the back of its mind it screamed in soundless, mute terror calling for help that would never come, in the present, it bellowed a sound into the blankness so horrid, so undeniably wicked, that for a moment, it frightened itself. Hair that now flowed from every inch of its skin stood on end not only in temporary fear, but also in complete readiness. The fresh smell of prey gripped its very purpose anew, and it followed. It ran hard, it ran fast, it looked not with its eyes and it heard not with its ears, but it followed just the same on the path of the prey.


Its eyes became acutely aware so suddenly, it had to stop and motionlessly focus. Lights now sliced irritatingly to and fro, never slowing or noticing virtually anything. Bright flashes pierced the air as pulsing blobs of life marched back and forth like an endless parade. It stood, still as the night air, and fell to its haunches in readiness. More new feelings erupted from the glare: sounds and dreadful noises. It could now hear speaking, chewing, footfalls, laughing, crying, engines… everything it couldn't just minutes ago. Things it nearly recalled hearing and seeing in a past time and place. It all hit him so rapidly that he tried, in vain, to shake them from his head. The auditory and visual assaults calmed only slightly as it placed each in its own time and place. Things began to make just enough sense now for him to complete its task: Feed. It had rested there, on the wet ground, and breathed deeply feeling the throbbing hunger ripping his thoughts asunder. It gathered itself, and looked around. Just at his feet was a small puddle. The picture in the calmly rippling water was that of a snarling nightmare so maddeningly repulsive that the still crying voice from the depths of its brain wailed in agony. It saw its hairy, no, furry hands… paws, as they led upward to its beastly form and drooling muzzle. It fought back the urge to howl again. It must remain silent and cunning, for soon it would kill.


Slowly, the lights and sounds faded away as time pushed further into late evening. It hadn't been noticed at all, which was a bit unfortunate since, had it been found, it would have killed with pleasure and fed. But it sat, biding its time. Then, just a short distance from him, his three awakened senses locked on the prey. Its eyes made out the light thrumming from the prey's beating heart.


It ears pricked at the sound of the prey's steady breathing.


And its nose knew this was to be the feast.


It sprang without a second thought. It leapt knowing only one thing: feed. It arced through the air and, nearly soundlessly, collapsed the being to a crumpled mass so quickly that the prey hadn't time to sigh. Not a fight, not even a muscle twitch to speak of, as it gnashed the prey's throat with its huge, hungry teeth and whipped its head around to tear life from the prey's veins. It smashed the prey's body into a nearby building, shattering numerous bones and causing the feast to retch a wealth of blood. The salty life-liquid erupted from the prey's torn neck and splattered the hunter's face and fur. It saw its prey's eyes; white, staring, clinging to life. It unlatched its jaws for a second and shot its muzzle into the soft cavern of the belly. The bulbous stomach popped outward spilling entrails and innards onto the sidewalk. The beast clenched, swallowed, bit, consumed, and continued unabated until chest bones rubbed its nose. Slowly removing its mouth from the cavity to pause and lick its chops, it noticed the prey's face: frozen in a dead stupor and an unhappy question. The beast grinned, if a beast can, belched, and wedged its muzzle up into the rib cage and joyfully, excitedly, ate the heart.


It lapped the remainder of its meal from its feet and fur. It had long since returned to the blackness it knew earlier. It squinted then, for on the horizon was to be its daily undoing. It had no idea why the new milky light hurt it so. And then, as it had begun, it knew darkness. Though it saw the light in the end.

It's Always Been There

David sat back in the waiting room chair and glazed over a few ancient magazines on the side table. The damn thing was at it again: itching, burning... driving him fucking crazy. He absently scratched at the irritating area, and rolled his eyes with a sigh.

"David Wilson? The doctor will see you now," The white-coated nurse from behind the counter announced pleasantly over the intercom.

David got up, quickly rubbed his fingers over the malady, and made his way through the opening doors.

"So, Mr. Wilson, what seems to be the problem?" Dr. Black asked as he nudged his glasses up to the bridge of his nose.

"Well," David began, instinctively removing his shirt to give the problem its proper appearance, "It's this... thing on my shoulder; it absolutely is driving me up the wall."

Dr. Thomas Black scooted his wheeled chair closer to the mass on David's shoulder and barely concealed a shuttering gasp. "H-Holy God! What on earth is THAT!"

"Honestly, I don't know... it's always been there," David began as he prepared to lapse into the stories millionth retelling.

"One day, maybe fifteen years ago, it really started to bother me. I remember it being there long before that, though, in one capacity or another. It was just a lump, nothing major, then it began to get a little bigger, then a little bigger still... yeah, it got pretty big. So, instinctively I started prodding it and picking at it... you know, typical reaction from a regular stupid no-nothing. I never thought it was necessary to tell a doctor about it, though plenty of my friends and family practically begged me to do it..."

"I should say so, Mr. Wilson!" Dr. Black interrupted, sitting up. "Something like this absolutely needs medical attention! How you thought you could just go around basically ignoring something so obviously serious is so beyond me..."

David suppressed a bit of laughter. "You sound just like my mom,"

"Mr. Wilson, I'm afraid this problem is nothing to laugh at. We need to get you looked at by a specialist right away! I mean, I have no earthly idea what this could potentially mean; cancer, epidermal trauma... the potential problems are staggering!"

"Well, be that as it may, I'm afraid you haven't heard the most interesting part," David said sitting back, slowly stroking his shoulder with an almost affinity.

"After the, well, organs started to appear, I became at once curious and revolted. So, with a little wonder and fear all rolled into one, I began to poke it with stuff..."

Dr. Black's mouth fell open as though he had something to add, but David cut him off with a swipe of the hand not then massaging the thing on his upper arm.

"So, one day, as I was jabbing it lightly with a fork I'd just gotten done eating with, a tongue... or something kind of like a tongue, lashed out and licked it clean. Of course I was freaked out and proceeded to smack at it until it bled. It hurt, and the thing let me know by somehow creating noise and growls. I couldn't sleep that night so, in a fit of sheer exhaustion, I fed it."

Dr. Black collapsed back in his chair and began furiously jotting notes while thumbing in a number into his cell phone. His face had gone flush and the gorge, made all the more apparent by his prominent Adam's Apple, rose and fell with every beat of his quickening heart.

"Well," David began again as he sinisterly watched the thing on his shoulder produce more of itself. "It was then I figured out that what I had was so much more than just a lump, or a "dead twin", as some web sites led me to believe."

Dr. Black dropped his phone. The notebook and pen clattered to the floor. What was something no bigger than a Billiard ball had grown in proportion to that of a raccoon-sized mammal. Though it bore it's similar shape, this was no animal (or anything, for that matter) that Dr. Black had ever seen. It was festooned with thousands of half-inch long, opaque teeth that stuck out in every imaginable angle. There was one eye, misshapen, yellow and oozing, off to the left of what might have been a head, and what could only be described as warts or boils etched every bit of its long, weasel-like length. But, worst of all, was the very last thing Dr. Black ever saw: just how lightning-quick the thing was as its endless maw engulfed him.

"Yep, doc," David said as he sighed, swallowed, and climbed back into his shirt, "It's always been there."


Welcome, friends, casual acquaintances, and the human unknown, to a little off-shoot site dedicated to the fine art of Flash Fiction. What is FF you ask? Well:

"Flash fiction is fiction characterized by its extreme brevity. While there is no universally accepted exact word limit, generally a short story is considered to constitute flash fiction if it is less than 1,000–2,000 words long, and most flash-fiction pieces are between 250 and 1,000 words long. (By contrast, "traditional" short stories range from 2,000 words to upwards of 20,000, and are mainly between 3,000 and 10,000 words long; they are distinguished from longer forms, such as the novel and novella, primarily by the intent that they be read in a single sitting.)

Other names for flash fiction include sudden fiction, microfiction, micro-story, postcard fiction, and short short story, though distinctions are sometimes drawn between some of these terms; for example, sometimes 1,000 words is considered the cut-off between "flash fiction" and the slightly longer "sudden fiction". The term "flash fiction" likely originated in James Thomas, Denise Thomas, and Tom Hazuka's 1992 anthology of that . As the authors of that anthology said in their introduction, their own definition of a "flash fiction" was a story that would fit on two facing pages of a typical digest-sized literary magazine, or about 750 words."

So there you go: No real genre necessary and more or less as un-cohesive as it comes. Well, we hope you'll enjoy it nonetheless. Our updating will be regularly and will begin, most likely, as soon as possible. Well, those of you thrilled by quick stories and eye-popping fiction grabbing at you from all around... sit tight, it's just going to get better.

S. Miller