First Job

by Adam S. Furman

 

Today’s the first day of my career.

I drop my equipment and scramble to set up.  It’s hard, finding a paying job.  Damn near impossible with AI taking everything from trade and manufacturing to finance and retail.  Traditional entertainment is all but repetitive.  Stories and music have all been done ad nauseam.

Few jobs can earn you a living wage in this competitive market of robots and automatons.  Thank God for the Internet and streaming.  I set up my tripod and hop onto my bed.   I unzip my pants and remove my clothes.

Today’s the first day of my career.

 

Adam S. Furman

Adam S. Furman lives in rural Illinois with his family which includes a lot of kids (like…a lot). He generally writes science fiction.

Readers can connect with him on twitter @AdamSFurman.

 

Metamorphosis

by Freddy Iryss

 

My brothers and sisters always tease me. I can’t swim as fast as they do though, my little legs never pushing as hard as theirs through the water. It comes at no surprise that I am the last one to leave home. When I do, I proudly pull myself out of the wet hole with my new arms, ready to join the others. I can’t see them but I follow their calls from the nearby forest. As I crawl and hop with glee across the grass, I don’t see the raven above me until its beak closes around my neck.

 

Freddy Iryss

Freddy Iryss writes fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry. Her short fiction work has been published in journals, magazines and anthologies. She is also the author of a monograph on Aboriginal Art. Iryss speculates about different perspectives from within the Anthropocene, which includes particularly animals, aliens, and androids.

Blog: freddyiryss.blogspot.com/

 

Amor Fati

by Charlotte O’Farrell

 

Trevor arrived at the group’s HQ shaking, arms and face bruised from the car crash. In the distance, he heard sirens as first responders tended to the casualties he’d caused.

A week on from his eighteenth birthday, and he was done with running. If he carried on trying to chase a normal life he couldn’t have, he’d just bring more chaos.

No more hiding.

The assembled crowds of hooded figures turned to him as he entered their lair.

“I’m ready to embrace my role,” he told them, voice shaking.

They bowed down.

“All hail the Antichrist!” they chanted as one.

 

Charlotte O’Farrell

Charlotte O’Farrell is a horror writer and lifelong horror fan. She writes daily flash fiction on Twitter and Facebook (LINK TO FB PAGE @AuthorCharlotteOFarrell) and her stories have appeared in several anthologies and magazines.

She lives in Nottingham, UK with her husband, daughter and cat.

 

Spreading My Wings

by Annie Percik

 

I have been waiting so long. The hour at last approaches when I can take my place amongst the celestial host. They have watched me grow and waited to welcome me into their ranks. They smile, opening their arms and their hearts to me, unaware of my true nature. Their innocence will be their undoing. Their radiance sickens me, stifling the dark violence lurking within my breast. Once I hold my rightful place, I can unleash it and extinguish their holy light.

The time is upon me. The moment I have been awaiting. I spread inky wings and take flight.

 

Annie Percik

Annie Percik lives in London with her husband, Dave, where she is revising her first novel, whilst working as a University Complaints Officer.  She writes a blog about writing and posts short fiction on her website (www.alobear.co.uk).  She also publishes a photo-story blog, recording the adventures of her teddy bear (https://aloysius-bear.dreamwidth.org/).  He is much more popular online than she is.  She likes to run away from zombies in her spare time.

 

Taran’s Hunt

by Tracy Davidson

 

No longer a child. Time to prove his manhood.

Some called the strange creatures in the next valley ‘monsters’, others ‘aliens’.

Whichever, they were not welcome.

For three days he watched over their settlement, tracked their movements. Mused over their peculiar shapes, unwieldy gaits, discordant voices.

On the fourth day, one creature wandered off alone, carrying something on a stick.

Taran’s knife broke the creature’s head shell with ease, exposing grotesque bulging

eyes. Taran took them as a gift for his father.

For his mother, he took the colourful cloth on a stick. She would like the stars and stripes.

 

Tracy Davidson

Tracy Davidson lives in Warwickshire, England, and writes poetry and flash fiction. Her work has appeared in various publications and anthologies, including: Poet’s Market, Mslexia, Atlas Poetica, Writing Magazine, Modern Haiku, The Binnacle, A Hundred Gourds, Shooter, Journey to Crone, The Great Gatsby Anthology, WAR and In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights.

 

That Healthy Glow

by Ryan Benson

 

Donna gazed at her reflection.

Sigh.

The straight razor split her unibrow.

Fixed!

She was too ugly for the popular girls and too pretty to avoid catcalling men.

Donna scowled. Circular ears protruded from her hair. Metal reflected light as she slashed cartilage.

The bloody cathartic agony energized the teen.

Full lips brought scorn so she carved them.

She wanted to speak double for herself so she bifurcated her tongue.

Beady eyes grew as lids cut free.

Looking back was a pointed eared, ragged lipped, cat eyed, forked tongued demon.

If she couldn’t blend in, she’d damn sure stand out.

 

Ryan Benson

Ryan Benson previously worked as a researcher/professor in Boston, MA. He now resides outside Atlanta, GA with his wife and children. Ryan keeps himself busy writing short stories. The Sirens Call Publications, Trembling with Fear (Horror Tree), Suspense Magazine, ARTPOST, 101words, and The Collapsar Directive (ZPP) have published Ryan.

Twitter: @RyanWBenson

 

Second Time’s the Charm

by Becky Benishek

 

He came to her when she had too much to lose.

Wrapped up in her loneliness and wistful fantasy self, she yearned for something to tell her that she was different from the others. Special.

She was old enough to know she’d grow out of it and young enough not to believe it.

Writing at her desk, house quiet, she felt warm eyes at her back, golden gaze offering her the chance to become everything she longed for: the magic, the invisibility, the flying. The recognition. The power.

For a price, of course.

But what matter a soul between friends?

 

Becky Benishek

Becky Benishek is the author of several children’s books, including “The Squeezor is Coming!”, “Dr. Guinea Pig George,” and “Hush, Mouse!” She loves to create stories that help children learn about empathy and believe in themselves. She has an extensive Lego collection, a Commodore 64, and sticks googly eyes on unlikely things. Becky is married with guinea pigs.

Website: beckybenishek.com

 

Better Latte Than Never’s

by A.L. Blacklyn

 

I’m about to burn. My final thesis is due.

My advisor isn’t bloodsucking as expected from a vampire in Witch Studies, but he can’t help.

Tonight, while the wispy ghosts serving at Never Café at night stay distracted with the zombie-like students, I’m taking the risk of swapping out every drink in the crowded coffee shop. My spider assistants cluster in the corners to observe as I snatch, spell, switch, repeat. Testing.

Wordless screams smother the usual murmur of the shop. I turn to watch one patron writhe, transforming–

Finally!

Fuzzy tentacles on a new chimera wave at the crowd.

 

A.L. Blacklyn

A.L. Blacklyn currently resides in the Southeastern United States. They share a small house with a karate kid who never grew up, a dragon telling stories in human form, and a dog who has repeatedly been mistaken as a fluffy demon. Read more of their darkly fantastical micro-fiction at shadowsinmind.net.

 

First Time

by Liam Hogan

 

The hunter waited, trembling. Across the glade, his younger sister whimpered into her gag.

It was worth the risk. Worth what his father would do if he found out. Jewels, gold, fame: all it took was the right bait.

There was a rustle in the undergrowth. Into the clearing stepped a unicorn, proud and snorting and priapic.

As he raised his crossbow he felt a horn snag his breeches. Felt it tear the worn fabric. Felt hot breath smelling of freshly cut grass. Heard a gentle snicker as the unicorn’s mate probed further. “First time for you too, farmer boy?”

 

Liam Hogan

Liam Hogan is an award-winning London based writer. His short story “Ana”, appeared in Best of British Science Fiction 2016 (NewCon Press) and “The Dance of a Thousand Cuts” appears in Best of British Fantasy, 2018. Http://happyendingnotguaranteed.blogspot.co.uk or tweet @LiamJHogan.

 

The Bell

by C.M. Saunders

 

Cancer.

The very word is enough to give you chills. It consumes you, and eats you from the inside out.

My mother was already widowed when the disease sank its claws into her.

I am an only child. I had to do the right thing, so I moved back into my old childhood home to look after her. I converted a downstairs room, put in a TV and some books, and gave her a bell to summon me.

I can hear the bell now, even above the constant din of the wind and the rain.

My mother died last week.

 

C.M. Saunders

Christian Saunders, who writes fiction as C.M. Saunders, is a freelance journalist and editor from south Wales. His work has appeared in over 80 magazines, ezines and anthologies worldwide and he has held staff positions at several leading UK magazines ranging from Staff Writer to Associate Editor. His books have been both traditionally and independently published, the latest release being a collection of short fiction called X: Omnibus.

Please visit my website for more information.