Archive for short fiction

Read Some of What I’m Writing Lately, Maybe

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by synabetic

Here’s a quick post to links of the flash fiction shorts (stories clocking in between 1200-1700 words) I have written as of late. They’re simple, I feel, and a little creepy. Or so some folks tell me. Okay, maybe a lot creepy.

The Writing
Worm
Bind
Today
Bruise
Family

Let me know what you think with a comment or something.

If you are super bored, I posted up the first three parts of The Rage of Ognark, a terrible bizarroesque story I’ve been writing.

And there you have it. I should have some more stories up soon.

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Flasher Fiction: Worm

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2013 by synabetic

Buckle up, kids, it’s story time. Enjoy!
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Worm
by Steven G. Saunders

Hey.

Hey, I know you’re listening.

You can’t help it. You have nothing to do but hear what I have to say.

Make yourself comfortable, because you are going to be here for a long, long time.

First things first… You probably wonder why you’re here. With me. Unable to get away. Hey, I get it. You’re scared. I’d be scared, too, if I were in your position. I get scared just imagining myself in your spot. And that’s tough for me, because imagination doesn’t come easily to my kind.

A lot of things are tough for me; things you can easily do without any difficulty. Yet, here you are. Listening to what I have to say. What I have to think. It’s more about what I think that what I say, if you know what I mean. And how I feel? That’s very easy for me to convey:

I am hungry.

Do you know what my kind calls you? Worms. It’s pretty funny, isn’t it? I don’t mean that thing you do with your meat parts that evinces mirth. I mean funny as in queer, weird, strange, unusual. Eldritch.

Now, there’s a word in your language I very much enjoy: Eldritch. I wonder if you would describe me as such.

It’s funny we call you worms because it is beyond the scope of the words you creatures would use to describe yourselves. Worms.

There was an acquaintance of mine from long, long ago who had a great term for encountering your kind. They called it “worm sign”, which if you knew what I know about life, the universes, and everything else that all souls, spirits, and brain functions process, you would laugh, too.

See, this is laughing. I’ll wager a great sum of wealth you had no idea I am laughing right now.

I believe what you are doing is… crying? Yes? Weeping? Sobbing?

And the begging begins. I have always wanted to be able to elicit a sound emission from myself that resembles in some way one of your sighs. But if you can imagine me sighing, that is what I’m doing… well, within the emotional context of a creature such as you.

You must accept your fate. Begging only ruins the time you have left. My sincere, kind advice is to just listen to what I have to say, and silently hope that I communicate with you for a long while.

I will admit I get very lonely. Being something like me is a lot where you either accept your role in the multiverse, or you let yourself waste away and perish. I do not wish to perish. Just as you, I wish to exist with the sheer, determined will that recognizes my unhindered and unburdened existence for as long as all the possibilities will allow.

Oh, dear, I have upset you.

I can understand how this is upsetting. I cannot relate, so you will have to find it within yourself to forgive me somehow. Though I doubt you will ever forgive me. You will not be able to. You will be incapable of doing anything but become a part of me, for just a little while, and then you shall be expelled… but you won’t be able to know about it. You will already be gone.

As I have said, I am quite lonely. My kind do not relate well with each other. We live, by your reckoning, anyway, for an incredibly long time. Not years; not decades; not centuries. But epochs. We exist for periods of times that span the length of several of your civilizations, and we’ve even figured out how to leave whole worlds in wholly different universes for ones beginning anew elsewhere. You will look at what you call worms on your world, and you will sometimes dig into the earth and look at them; feeling godlike, perhaps. Then you will rid yourselves of them. Perhaps in your mobile larval state you will eat them. Any way any of it is cut, you are still bound to that world. Or perhaps you are bound to travelling to several worlds. We still see you as you see those worms.

You are but worms to us.

You can be destructive worms, too. You squabble amongst each other as frequently as I would have passing thoughts on the millions of colors I am able to feel. You call them wars, combats, fights, struggles, revolutions, brawls. You come up with all kinds of reasons to justify violent, aggressive engagement. Did I aggressively engage you? No.

I do believe you engaged me while I was napping. I tried to escape as I was not hungry, but, alas, you persisted. I was forced to engage, terminate, and consume your companions; and now I need live sustenance. This is why I saved you for last.

Think of this like it’s the only survival you have left. Enjoy it while you can.

One time, many eons ago when I was young, I existed in a different world, a different place. Being a young being of my sort as I was, there were many sensations which were new and wonderful to me. One such sensation was music. I had never heard it before, having lived where I had lived. Then came a moment when I encountered someone much like you, someone determined to make a point of some sort by ending my existence. It is unknown to me if that creature like you had any reason other than to demonstrate some sort of prowess for others of its kind, but it… it sang– yes, I have learned what singing is since– as it attempted to lodge implements crafted from ores and patience into me. Most of your kind across the multiverse who I have encountered or have heard of believe in something called “luck”, and  “luck” was not with the Singing Bother at that particular moment in time. It slipped because it was weighted by more ore and patience, and lost its balance, fell down, and not seeing its worth– for I was young and impatient– I quickly dispatched it and consumed it as quickly as possibly. At the time, I could not have told you the difference between your kind’s “screaming” and “singing”.

They were all strange sounds to me back then.

Eventually, as I grew larger and wiser, feasting mostly on creatures you consider to be lower lifeforms– much as I consider you to be; no offence meant– I encountered more beings akin to you. All of them had emotional investments pertaining to my demise and to all the worthless scraps and junk that had accumulated around me over the years. As I grew even wiser as the centuries passed, I also became clever. By your standards, I am quite clever.

I succeeded in tricking you, didn’t I? I am quite the clever soul now. Not to make you feel bad, but it was all too easy.

It always amazes me how your kind is so simple to trick into finding me, falling into the traps I have set, and becoming my nutritious sustenance all because you cannot resist looking for objects you have attached “worth” to. And because I bring many of these objects with me from realm to realm with me these days, it is even easier to invite you into my domain, with all sorts of creatures who consider themselves to be “intelligent” becoming lovely short-term companions, and, in short time, food.

Ah, you are trying to reason with me. I can appreciate that. If you must know, there are those who hate your kind who live near me and they are the ones who inform others of your kind who wish to accumulate wealth in their betrayal of their species by creating stories which, in turn, lure you here for your ultimate fate.

Thank you, nonetheless. I do not fault you for enquiring. I believe what you are feeling right now is the part of fear where you can begin to rationally think your way through to a possible solution.

The only solution you are going to reach here is as a waste product.

How did I do? I have been working for many decades on crafting jokes. I feel it lessens the impact of your demise.

I can tell you more if it makes you feel more comfortable. Oh, I know. Here. How does that feel? Numbing quickly? Feel a little giddy. Yeah, these barbs are something I worked on for three hundred of your years. I am not a cruel person, you see. I am merely hungry.

We are all slaves to our biology. I suppose I should thank my lucky feelers that I am not enticed by shiny objects. Too bad, too, as shiny things are much more shiny for me, as I have more optical receptors and external optical processing orbs.

Are you ready? Of course you are. You have no choice. I have delighted in getting to know you as we have talked. While you begged, sobbed, pleased, bargained, and tried to think your way out of this, I have already entered your physically being and have begun feasting on who and what you are, exactly. I am already fond of you. You are– soon to be “were”– a kind soul, just looking to help your home village from a calamity. You were a hero. Your larvae looked up to you. You had few peers. You must be terribly shocked that a person such has me has ended you for supper-time purposes. But, as your life ends, don’t fret over any of the grovelling. I won’t tell anyone. I won’t even mention that you offered up all of the creatures you intended to save.

I should apologize to you. I said this would be a long, long time. And it has been a long, long time… it just doesn’t seem like that to you anymore. Time as you currently know it has absolutely no meaning.

Now. Ready?

As I have said…

I am not a cruel person.

Goodbye.

worm_reaper


Great Worm image property of Reaper Miniatures, used without permission. No infringement on trademark or IP is intended. Honestly, the image is just a placeholder until original art is done, to which I’ll remind folks to read the story again and look at the pretty picture.

Flasher Fiction: Bind

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by synabetic

Yay! Story, right? Hope you dig it. My partner is giving me pictures and images she has taken or drawn and I’m writing up flash fiction pieces for them. It’s fun! Especially since I write them so fast. This might have some edits in its future. Enjoy.
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Bind
by Steven G. Saunders

Gas is a commodity too many people take for granted. I mean, there you are one minute driving around, singing along to the latest Faderhead album, knowing full well that there are no cops along the dark road you’re speeding along and then… bam, that fucking gauge dips down to tell you “aw, fuck it, yo”.

I kept meaning to pay attention to my gas gauge, but I was having too much fun. The party was quite stimulating, and a few girls even talked to me, telling me that they loved my voice and hair. But I wanted to get out of there and drive by myself, scream at the top of my lungs out of a cold window with the wind whipping by, and punch my shitty car into over 100 MPH.

It was fucking awesome until I realized my car’s gas gauge had been broken. Well, shit, right? Out of gas in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest place to fill up probably five or more miles away. That’s a hell of a walk.

I go to call a buddy of mine. James will understand. He’ll come out, pick me up, and I’ll fill my gas can up, come back, and get my car going again. I know I had better finish this tequila off in case a cop happens by… while I’m sure I reek of booze, it’s better to reek than show, you know?

Man, cops suck. They always think they’re in control when all they are is a bunch of little boys and girls who got picked on a lot as kids. That shit pisses me off. I sure wish they’d just do their goddamned jobs and leave harmless pricks like me alone. But that’s why they fuck with me, yeah? Because it’s easy.

I finish my tequila and realize I have beer in my truck. Fine. It’s in the truck. I go to call James and I have no signal. What is this, the beginning of some kind of fucking shitty horror movie?

What do I do?

I get back into my car and try starting it again. No dice. Of course “no dice”! I’m out of gas. I bury my head into my steering wheel and my horn goes off for a second. It makes me laugh.

I better get walking.

Before I go, I grab my backpack in the back seat and fill it with my beer. Only a six-pack? I was a fucking Boy Scout– I should have been more prepared.

The road ahead of me is dark. Very dark. It’s just like every other dark country road in the Pacific Northwest. Just miles and miles of road, pasture, wooded enclaves, and fencing. As if on cue, it starts to rain. Drizzling at first, but as I walk and drink further, it starts coming down harder.

A fog has started rolling in as I walk along the road, hoping against hope that someone comes along and finds me. Other people might be scared by this sort of thing, but I simply am impatient. I just want to get home, sleep, shower, and call up that Chelsea I met earlier.
Her hair was spectacular. Her mannerisms cute and endearing. She was pretty good looking and I’m thinking she’ll make a fine addition to my collection.

The rain starts to come down harder. Then even harder. Holy fuck, how can rain come down this hard? And the fog starts getting so thick I can’t see more than fifty feet in front of my face. I don’t even notice until it’s too late and I take a header off the road, having stumbled into a ditch.

Dammit. My face. I think I cut it on a stick.

I get up, and I see a shape in the foggy distance. I start toward it and within a few short minutes I see what appears to be an abandoned shack of some sort. Fine. I’ll take it. It’s got that look of gray wood… the kind that has seen too much weather. In the dark, rainy, foggy moonlight I see the green moss. I smile at the whole… nature of it all.

flasher_fiction_bind

But it’s shelter, so I’m not complaining.

I wait there for a few minutes, drinking a beer. Then I hear a sound. Branches breaking. This shack must be on the edge of one of those wooded enclaves. Then I hear a voice… someone calling out to ask if someone’s there.

I respond. The voice sounds familiar. It’s hard to make out over the rain.

I emerge from the dilapidated shack and see a familiar face. It’s Chelsea… of all people, it’s the woman I was interested in at the party. She looks at me and smiles, telling me she figured it was me, having seen my car along the side of the road.

She tells me that she knows it’s my car, because she took special interest in me leaving, wondering if I would call her. I can feel my heart skip a beat. This girl was interesting! More so than earlier when I found out she liked things like Blade Runner and Skinny Puppy. Now she was saving my ass and sounding sexy while she was doing it.

Chelsea asks me if she can give me a ride to a gas station. I say yes, without hesitation. I start talking to her, offering her a beer, which she politely refuses. I wonder if she thinks VIVIsectVI is the quintessential Puppy album, or if she’s one of those Too Dark Park people.

Her response gives me pause. She laughs and asks me what I’m talking about. Weird. She mentioned earlier at the party that she was a hardcore Puppyhead– even had a tattoo and everything. I cock my head and talk to her some more.

Chelsea responds to everything okay as she leads me away from the shack. I’m no survivalist, but I get the feeling she’s leading me away from the road. Why? Why would she do that? Because I have no reason to believe otherwise, I ask her. I ask her if we are walking away from the road.

She knows a shortcut, she tells me. That’s odd. I’m not that far from the shack. But I have to trust her because I’m in a bit of a bind.

That’s when she turns towards me suddenly and says “Yes. Bind”.

What… what the fuck?

I ask her what she means by that, and her pretty face smiles. It’s not a cute smile. It’s the kind of smile I have seen actors try to replicate when they’re being evil. Something inhuman… something… anti-human.

I start to run. Because, hey, why not? This shit is freaking me out, man. I am probably just drunk and wigging, but you can never be too sure. I run into the fog and rain… I run and run and run…

Until I fall down. That’s when I use the shack to help myself back up. Oh, god, the shack. I’m back where I started? I don’t even know what to think. My drunk brain is trying very hard to be really afraid.

Chelsea stands by me. She places the rusty manacle on my right wrist and I can actually hear her grin. The moonlight glints off of her teeth and finally I feel the primal fear my brain has been trying to tell my body to get into. My mouth runs words that don’t matter. My eyes dart to the hanging bones I never noticed before.

I never noticed before because this is a different shack.

I wish I had never run out of gas. I wish I had planned ahead. I wish I didn’t have to end it all by being just another cautionary tale no one would ever know about.

This is a good a time as any to be out of beer.

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Image courtesy of  Nicole Turner

Flasher Fiction: The Writing

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 27, 2013 by synabetic

Since I’m writing some story things, here’s another one. It hasn’t went through the vetting process the previous one did, but I will say James will be reading this one first, so I might change something between now and when he provides feedback. If he provides feedback. Or maybe you could; if you’re not James, I mean.

The Writing
by Steven G. Saunders

I enjoy writing. Well, not all of the time… I have to make time to enjoy other hobbies, like mounting insects I have captured in nets and in other various ways; reading through old comic books that others, before me reading them, have thought unpopular; studying up on the intricacies of Albanian history; and numerous other things I do to occupy my time before I do a jazzy shuffle off of this mortal coil.

But there’s always the writing. It calls to me. But not in the way other writers say it does. Many of them try to be cool and hip and edgy about it, as if they actually read The Shining first before seeing the movie when they were younger. Some writers make it all look like some sort of compulsive addiction that they must appease, like some sort of hungry demon who feeds on words falling from the fingertips of high-purposed booze-hounds. Some writers do it for the money and pretend that all the ad-copy work eats at their souls, when in fact they are powerless control freaks who will never understand their own misery is, in fact, themselves. Other writer-sorts just shit things out like they have a kind of intestinal infection of the mind, crapping out pieces like this one, hoping later on that they correctly channeled Bukowski as some kind of hilarious blood-drunk gremlin, with good ol’ Chuck pissing about and pissing in everyone’s faces.

I was going to make some more shit references, but I seem to enjoy that sort of thing too much, and I don’t want to come across as a scatophile.

Writers have all kinds of explanations and excuses for their passions. It’s just a thing people do, you know? But what they will never tell you is about what lurks within. In order to be a writer, you almost always have to be a narcissistic egomaniac who loves your work above all others. You will befriend other writers, and if you determine they pose no threat to you, you will stay actual friends with them. Usually, though, we end up in situations like this one, where jealousy and envy on both sides escalates into a silent emotional war of wills. No one ever admits to it, or talks to it, because while writers are chatty wordsmiths, they hate telling you how they actually feel.

Unless it profits them in some way, of course.

Writers fashion themselves to be storytellers, much like how you fashion yourself to be some altruistic archetype for your profession, whether it’s police officer, school teacher, brain surgeon, or drugstore cashier. Justification is what it’s all about.

Human beings seek justice in their own justification.

One time I was wandering about, looking for bugs. And I found one, this little, brown Hesperia Juba. I caught it in my rugged sweep net; rather unexpectedly, in fact. I instantly thought of another writer I know, one who never ever supports my work… but always expects me to support theirs. There are many of these people, because that’s how people tick, but this person especially irritated me, so I gently removed the butterfly from my net and stared at it.

the_writing_butterfly

I imagined the writer I was thinking about as duct taped to a wooden chair; you know, like those ones used in old schools, or found along the side of the road; and I imagined them with their mouth taped shut. As I took my phillips head screwdriver, I quietly muttered that I should have selected a standard screwdriver and punched holes into the duct tape on the writer’s mouth.

I was… uncareful and stabbed him a little, but that’s okay as this was just a silly fantasy. I then took the butterfly and crammed it into his mouth, shouting terrible obscenities at him. As I ordered the writer to chew the butterfly, I covered him in kerosene and set his naked body on fire. I filmed it all, taking special note of his burning genitals. The writer’s screaming could be heard through the holes in the tape, and I could see little butterfly wings being spit out and catching on fire.

It was beautiful.

As I sighed at this gorgeous dream, I placed the Hesperia Juba into my mouth and chewed. It felt good. It felt… complete.

But not quite. I was talking about writers and I’m a writer, so I will continue with my thoughts on writers.

Writers will always be hiding something. They always have hidden something. It’s why they write. Hiding things and keeping things from others is how they learn how to lie, and all writers are proficient, hardened liars. Even if they have nothing to hide, they will envy those who have things hidden and make up hidden things to hide from others.

Part of being a writer is wondering if you’re crazy, too.

Of course, it’s everyone else who is crazy. Especially other writers. Whatever brain chemistry it is that makes people feel special and unique, writers produce twice as much of. Whatever hormones cause greed, envy, jealousy, and wrath, writers have three times as much of. Writers also know what’s best for them because they always know best. They are better than you.

I am better than you.

I am a writer, after all.

If there ever was a creature who was undiluted in their toxicity, it is a writer. And when writers mix, the result can be a nasty cocktail of pure bullshit and hurt. Most writers are weak, though, which explains their typical demeanor.

I’m different, though. I’m special. I was an athlete in school. I played college ball. I can run, jump, talk fast, restrain, and stay calm. All at once. I am rather proud of these features. I deserve to have pride in myself. Most writers are overweight, depressed, and quite literally mad. Whether they have developed some sort of psychological malady or they are angry about something, writers are fully predictable in their want for unpredictability.

Writers never see me coming.

They’re easy enough to track down, to follow, to talk up. You feed their egos. Nothing feeds their egos better than complimenting them on their work. They also like to drink. The ones who don’t drink love to tell you all about not drinking. All writers talk. All writers will disagree with what I’m saying because I am touching their hidden place. But they will know what I mean.

Writers are easy prey.

Most writers will tell you they know a lot, but, like that kids from the Encyclopedia Brown stories, they couldn’t defend themselves if their lives depended on it– as it often does. Now, Sherlock Holmes could defend himself. Did you know he was created to be a master of a particular fictional martial art called Baritsu, which is actually a real martial art called Bartitsu?

See? Writers are smart.

One time, a man disagreed with me about my Sherlock Holmes facts. He won’t be disagreeing with me anymore.

Writers encapsulate hubris, and if you can use that hubris you have the most finely crafted sweep net in the history of sweep nets. Writers love to talk, which is what I’m doing right now, and…

And you found him. I see.

Did you find the wings?

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My fellow writer and dear friend, Josh Wagner, suggested something that I originally felt when writing this piece, anyway. Originally, this story ended with “I feel it’s in my best interest to tell you nothing else until my lawyer arrives, detective.” Now, some folks may like that– which is why I have added this note. Others might feel differently. Actually, let me know what you think, because one day I will be putting together a collection of these stories, and I’ll love to know what the “final form” should be.