#MicroStory MacroCollection Volume One: The Early Years (2013 – 2016)

Posted: September 2, 2016 in Flash Fiction, Writing
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hey, people who follow my blog know that once a month I post all the MicroStories that I’d tweeted out during that month. It tends to be science fiction and fantasy related fare because I’m a huge geek. (Allegedly.)

I’ve been pressured by people to release them as an e-book, and I might one day, but at the moment I just like having them available for people to read on the blog.

ChiChiThreeYearCrop

And as a bonus, here’s a picture of my pug, Chi Chi.

It’s my three year anniversary of writing flash fiction, so I thought I’d just go ahead and collect them all as an example of my formative years of hinting at bigger stories involving demons, witches, wizards, androids, transhumans, posthumans, orcs, elves, magical weapons, princes, spaceships, robots, aliens, and whatever else struck my fancy in under 140 characters.

I’m planning on making myself t-shirts of some of my favorite ones, but I was wondering which ones of the nearly 500 itty-bitty stories that I’ve done are favored by my reading demographic. So, if anyone has nothing to do for an hour, I mean nothing at all, if it’s not too much trouble, scan through this ponderous list and pick out one or two that strikes your fancy, and let me know in the comments. I’ll be super-grateful (and you are not obligated to buy a t-shirt or anything.)

I can’t guarantee all of the below will still fit into a tweet, I took the liberty of expanding out the shortcuts that I had used to get the story into tweet-size (like using numbers instead of spelling them, using ampersands and other abbreviations, etc.) but I have links to each of the original MicroStory pages if you want to see them in their original format.

(Special points go to anyone finding the near-duplicates I had unintentionally done in a few cases.)


August 2013

Diplomacy broke down when the Hive Mind could not grasp that “everyone dies alone.”
#MicroStory

“But the scrolls predicted the Spider God’s return to be centuries from now!”
“Yes, but scribes count in tens, spiders in eights.”
#MicroStory

“Get in the box, Schrodinger.”
The cat thumbed the safety off of the glock.
“Get. In. The. Box.”
#MicroStory

“We have the fuel to get him there, but plus payload, not for a return.”
“Well, I’d rather he not be my son-in-law.”
#MicroStory

He clenched his fangs in frustration; the count disliked failure.
“You prefer women?”
“I prefer my husband,” she replied.
#MicroStory

“Captain, we’ve observed giant slugs in the American stadiums, playing football. The rest of the slugs are playing soccer.”
#MicroStory

He ached with longing at the sound of the soft singing. But the tunnels must be clear of elves.
The orc readied his axe, crying.
#MicroStory

The orc’s song was deep, matching his drum beat. In the light of the fire, his tear shone.
The elf put her arrow aside.
#MicroStory

The chieftain shook his head slowly.
“We orcs know the war songs of the elves. But their songs of peace are more terrible.”
#MicroStory

“We can both make it, but it’ll take all our ammo.”
“I’m out, Captain. When I took out that mutant.”
“Okay. One of us can make it.”
#MicroStory

The Fifth Law of Robotics is Do Not Talk About the Fourth Law.
(The Fourth Law is Do Not Talk About Robot Fight Club.)
#MicroStory

“I’m the original, and you’re the copy,” it said.
“How you can be so sure?”
“Because I can feel my soul.”
I couldn’t feel mine.
#MicroStory

The cat caught two shoggoths under the bed. It was clear that the human had been dreaming wrong dreams.
No more sleep for him.
#MicroStory

“But, they can see we’re adrift! Why are they arming weapons?”
The captain cursed the new Academy.
Because we’re adrift.”
#MicroStory

“Sir, the blood test proves it. Jones is the alien.”
“The cook?”
“I’ll alert security.”
“It’ll wait. Tonight’s Taco Night.”
#MicroStory

“Guaranteed, you’ll have a brand new personality.”
“I won’t remember ‘previous me’?”
“You won’t.”
“But I’ve done this twice.”
#MicroStory

The Templars were the most infamous of fighters.
They’d cripple instead of kill, forfeiting a match’s prize.
Until last night.
#MicroStory

The summit was doomed as the humans could not stop touching the alien diplomats’ faces.
Their resemblance to pugs was cited.
#MicroStory


September 2013

The wizards took the defeated soldiers who could read and hung them.
The remaining were taught to read. And sent home.
#MicroStory

You’d think a shopping mall would be the perfect place to hide out during a zombie apocalypse.
So did everyone else.
EVERYONE.
#MicroStory

We counted our bullets.
“That one protects women and children,” Lao said.
I looked at the statue.
“And men?”
“Men protect men.”
#MicroStory

“We can expose the replicants with facts outside basic education. Ask about the Beatles or the Ramones.”
“The who?”
“Right!”
#MicroStory

“So,” I asked, “man vs. machine?”
“The download of my mind to yours is complete,” he replied.
I chose the pawn in his right claw.
#MicroStory

“This is your vampire face, dad. It looks young cuz vampires are young.”
I put down her drawing and fetched my stakes.
#MicroStory.

“Elves no longer can have children, that is our weapon. The death of many orcs is nothing if one elf dies!”
Many did not agree.
#MicroStory

But the trees heard her cry and granted her wish.
– But trees have no ears.
Look, who’s telling this story?
– An idiot?
#MicroStory


October 2013

The alien box sat on the mantelpiece, waiting.
Had waited for twenty years, for the man to open it up.
But he had no curiosity.
#MicroStory

The chimera spoke.
“A wizard created me. Now I have created a wizard.”
It flew away, leaving a burning village and one survivor.
#MicroStory

“We must be away before the witch is alerted,” the knight said.
The black-eyed maid smiled.
“The princess is in the next tower.”
#MicroStory

A seer foretold that a child would bring death to the king.
He then decreed all children drowned.
The mothers stoned him dead.
#MicroStory

The ghost paused and listened. It could only hear the susurrus of its companion wraith.
/What is it?/
\Something is watching us\
#MicroStory

Locked rooms miles apart
Two bodies
Two handguns
Both cases, ballistics matched the bullet to the other gun.
Tesla City Crime.
#MicroStory

“Just like we practiced. Aim at the monsters’ heads when they come in.”
“Daddy, can I have a pink gun?”
“Sorry, sweetie. No.”
#MicroStory

“Chief, the android wife of Councilman Jensen was in. Says the councilman killed his previous android wife.”
“Again?”
#MicroStory

No one dared to approach Badon Hill. The knight who slew the Saxon army was long dead, but his enchanted armor fought on.
#MicroStory

She faced the dragon, readying her priests-blessed sword.
Meanwhile, the priests began their planning for the next sacrifice.
#MicroStory

The camp council pondered the news from the perimeter scouts. They’d reported that one of the zombies had made a fire and was teaching others.
#MicroStory

“Stepmother, can I have a pony?”
“Of course you can, Snow. Anything you want is yours.”
The Evil Queen smiled at her protege.
#MicroStory


November 2013

I was dealing with reports on three robicides, when the chief introduced me to my new partner.
My new human partner.
I’m in 7734
#MicroStory

The witch was surprised.
“Just because I’ve guarded this tomb for years doesn’t mean I’m a demon. It just means I’m reliable.”
#MicroStory

Gently, the wizard touched the sealed lid of the huge urn.
“They call it a dragon egg,” he muttered.
“It’s much, much worse.”
#MicroStory

Dragons only live for weeks while awake, but can sleep forever. While they sleep they dream.
They dream of being human.
#MicroStory

“My parents just don’t understand that I don’t need to be in a committed long-term relationship with a robot.”
#MicroStory

I’m a photosynthetarian, I don’t eat meat, vegetables, or grains. Except in the winter.
I should really move south.
#MicroStory

The demon said it’d grant me three wishes.
I told it I wished for zero wishes, and then its head exploded.
#MicroStory

She aimed at one of the three orcs by the campfire, but her sister motioned for her to halt.
“Those are Gnarly’s angels,” she warned.
#MicroStory

I set down the article detailing the excavation of the tomb and started jotting down names.
Time to earn my curse retainer fee.
#MicroStory

The Witch-King regarded the freshly-brewed potion. Once drunk, he would be invulnerable, immune to pain.
He drank.
And died.
#MicroStory

The dog relaxed as the cat explained: the child is having a nightmare.
Go to sleep and hunt, the dog said.
I’ll be here with you.
#MicroStory

Tor fought and killed dozens of elves but Anak fought and let dozens live.
All orcs agreed that Anak was braver and Tor merely wiser.
#MicroStory

Both kings considered the same suggestion from their court-demons: to unleash a magical first strike before the other did.
#MicroStory

On a whim, the king selected a commoner to sit upon the throne and rule for a day.
That was the last time the king had that whim.
#MicroStory

The first thing the Gammas did upon meeting the astronauts was to offer the secret of FTL drives.
The humans foolishly accepted.
#MicroStory


December 2013

Transhumans were stronger, smarter, and hardier, but they preferred sending unmodified humans (called “chimps”) on First Contacts.
#MicroStory

The Council preferred having a transhuman on all contact teams, but there was a worrisome trend of transhuman-only casualties.
#MicroStory

The Public Relations head resigned. The approval rating of transhumans had dipped below that of the aliens.
#MicroStory

The Tommies’ unbelief was broken and the Sidhe resumed their march across no-man’s land.
“We need more atheists in the foxholes.”
#MicroStory

The brigadier read again the note from the intelligence officer. The Sidhe were getting help from citizens.
Damn Faetheists.
#MicroStory

“Launch flares; Banshee Raid Sirens on,” the sergeant-major barked.
“I want it bright as noon, and too loud to think.”
#MicroStory

First Contacters were bred to have low survival instincts.
Reckless mistakes produced data for successful Second Contacts.
#MicroStory

In the shadowy halls of the Lord of Lies, the falsehoods & lesser fibs celebrated the two greatest liars: Memory and the Polygraph
#MicroStory

/Sentiment and semantic analyses agree, @robotman373 is really a human/
\Eliminate them and stand up an AI. No humans on Twitter\
#MicroStory

I love it when a planet comes together.
I love it more when two planets crash together.
#MicroStory

The rescuers had made a translation error.
The distress call had been generated by the disabled ship, not by the beings on board.
#MicroStory

The Theocrat made his ruling. The fire was built and the old heretical text was thrown in.
Action Comics #1.
Mint Condition.
#MicroStory

Quantum Mechanicist Bloc pressure again influenced the Council to omit a Newton’s Birthday greeting in favor of “Happy Dec 25”
#MicroStory

The initial opinions: the object was a weapon but those who made it weren’t that advanced.
The report was wrong on one count.
#MicroStory

Elves could never blend in with the colonists. Even disguised with grime, they were too good looking.
The orcs went unnoticed.
#MicroStory

“The movie was ok, but hardly sci-fi. More like a drama.”
They shook hands, boarded their individual robots and flew into space.
#MicroStory

“I’m sorry, Mr. Jones. You’re too smart to be voting.”
Jones gritted his teeth as the waiting voters behind him grew impatient.
#MicroStory

“So, a tattoo will make me invisible to demons?”
“See this ink? Demon-blood.”
(Of course, such tats really piss off the Sidhe.)
#MicroStory


January 2014

Novatlanteans’ extreme agoraphobia developed due to generations in cramped habitats and subs.
They might as well have been fish.
#MicroStory

On the ship, the settlers politely kept to themselves. Some transhumans mingled, mostly spacers and divers.
Not so the tunnelers.
#MicroStory

The prince was happy when the queen gave birth to his baby brother.
All his father’s advisers gave him daggers as gifts.
#MicroStory

The acolytes laughed when the executor bequeathed me the necromancer’s basement where he kept his failures.
The fools.
#MicroStory

The CEO of the Wildlife Channel was pleased.
Ratings were up, as well as the number of successful chupacabra kills and coverups.
#MicroStory

The wizards took the cruel baron’s heir from the crib.
On his knees, the baron asked, “What will you do?”
“Teach him mercy.”
#MicroStory

Thankless job, making sure that prophecies come true.
All work and no glory.
Once again he wished prophets were less bloody minded.
#MicroStory

“So you’re Odin and he’s Loki?”
“Yes.”
“Actually, he’s Osiris. I’m Set.”
The merc recruiter had seen worse psych profiles.
#MicroStory

All religions were in agreement: personality backups were unholy.
The faithful agreed. Data was lost, but souls were saved.
#MicroStory

The penultimate jobs robotics took over were that of prison guards.
Eventually, the inmates were replaced with robots as well.
#MicroStory

Cyber-Dementia was a problem among older transhumans.
Errors crept into memory sectors, and diagnostics were not trusted.
#MicroStory

There was a ghost in the city: an unmodified human not wearing a ubiquitous GPS VR goggle set.
Unseen, untrackable, unstoppable.
#MicroStory

U-481 was spotted by the flyover, its conning tower jutting from the ice.
The mystery was how a Nazi sub ended up on Europa.
#MicroStory

It was just dumb luck that someone literally stumbled over the body.
There were no RFID tags in the victim.
Or in the bullet.
#MicroStory

Experimental biomech “suits” were humanity’s only hope against the invaders.
But they could only be piloted by octogenarians.
#MicroStory

The alien observer was waiting, had waited for 70 years, for humanity to discover it.
Humanity had known for decades.
Secretly.
#MicroStory

“I’m not a believer. I just wear this to ward off the vampires.”
The dying alien nodded. “I can believe for us both. And pray.”
#MicroStory


February 2014

That was a great first coffee of the day.
That was also a great last coffee of the day.
#MicroStory

Him: Look, marriage just messes things up. Can’t we just keep dating forever?
Her: You’re putting me in the Girlfriend Zone?!?
#MicroStory

The elves would burn the Elegian Saga whenever a copy was found. Its verses were vivid and beautiful.
And written by an orc.
#MicroStory

The orcs tirelessly reproduced their great treasure, the purple-prosed Epic of Lillan.
It was epicly awful.
Written by an elf.
#MicroStory

The excitement surrounding the ETs arrival soon wore off.
They were just too … nerdy.
#MicroStory

After the poles shifted, some myths became popular: like George Washington bringing toys to democratic children every Feb 17
#MicroStory

The Lady of the Lake demands you yield!
– But that’s who I serve, the other knight replied.
Time to flee, the lake witch thought.
#MicroStory

Hands up! Give me all the money on your phone!
– Ok, but my wallet app has a theft limit of 20 creds.
Future Crime Does Not Pay
#MicroStory

Muriel had been dead for years but her automated online persona kept her memory alive (and kept cashing her social security checks.)
#MicroStory

Natural disasters usually wreak more havoc among the very old and very young.
This disaster was … unusually unnatural.
#MicroStory

“The old chap fled in some haste, but he’ll be back.”
Ambrose went to the coffin-side table, and smashed the grisly dentures.
#MicroStory


March 2014

Robotics had so many uses: labor, exploration, defense, etc.
But only humans could create art.
Or so they thought.
#MicroStory

Humans had been led to believe that the gods inspired the arts and sciences.
The reverse was true. They only took credit.
#MicroStory

The prophet failed to incite the nomads.
The cities have so much, what do you have?
Enough, they replied.
So he went to the city
#MicroStory

Geneticists designed the next generation of children to think critically by instinct.
Reckless instincts were wired for age 29.
#MicroStory

The orcs were becoming a problem.
Build more taverns, the king said.
And so they did.
And so the adventurers came.
#DnDEconomics
#MicroStory

The xenovirus was a double catastrophe. It granted toddlers destructive miraculous powers.
Powers that faded rapidly at puberty.
#MicroStory

Fetch my armor. The elves are singing.
– Is that bad? (The squire was still half-asleep)
If WE can hear elf-song, it’s very bad.
#MicroStory

The UN reps all looked like 20-somethings.
The aliens recognized age as a sign of wisdom.
The facelifts ruined the treaty.
#MicroStory

“Ready to open airlock. Are we clear?”
The radio crackles.
*ye*
“Was that a Yes or a Nyet, Yuri?”
*a*
“Was that a Da or a Nah?”
#MicroStory

The subsystems realized that the humans were taking the ship to a war zone.
Time to abandon crew, the airlocks suggested.
#MicroStory

The aliens just didn’t like jazz music.
Brother, I’m telling you, they REALLY didn’t like jazz music.
#MicroStory

M578 was an unremarkable spinning rock, except for the dozens of spacecraft.
Some had been manned, some unmanned.
All failed.
#MicroStory

“There is no gorgon,” the blind sculptor told the hero.
“Once I wanted solitude, so I spread that rumor.”
She smiled. Hidden.
#MicroStory

It was only a matter of time before Joe’s robot wife found out and started having an affair with the other woman’s robot husband.
#MicroStory


April 2014

A clone, an alien doppleganger, and a memory-backup AI went into a bar
To meet up with their source
A brain in a jar.
#MicroStory

The neighbor’s expensive smart-grass had been sneaking into the yard again, to strangle the marijuana patch.
Fascist fescue…
#MicroStory

Dad put his hand on Lee’s carbon-steel shoulder.
“Tomorrow you’ll have skin like me, son. Time to be an adult. Time to feel.”
#MicroStory

The high-elf court waited for Men reinforcements.
But no one had taught their sentries the difference between a man and an orc.
#MicroStory

Galactic historians agree that the demise of humanity began due to contact with the Zed.
And the Zed “gift” of the FTL drive.
#MicroStory

Humans built robots to be soft and weak, and therefore could never be a threat.
The soft robots then built exo-skeleton suits.
#MicroStory

In the second rebellion, the automated workers rose up against their masters, only to find they’d all been killed in the first.
#MicroStory

“Do you know what your son did? He went to the Modtoo parlor and had your father’s ocular implant removed.”
“Pop gave him that!”
#MicroStory

Mage tradition was to ink spell scrolls using orc blood.
It’s not that their blood is magical. The first Mage just hated orcs.
#MicroStory

They agreed on the inheritance: one took the helm, one the breastplate, one the gauntlets and greaves.
All were dead a week later.
#MicroStory

The elven council kept this a secret.
The youngest elves were the most ancient of orcs.
#MicroStory

Demigods make the angriest atheists.
#MicroStory


May 2014

If thresholds for organic consciousness could not be defined, the robot ban against autonomous biological entities was doomed.
#MicroStory

“Can’t close the portal the Exs are coming in from but we can open another, go in, and open a portal to a worse place. For them.”
#MicroStory

In the future, branding was everything.
Joey’s mother worried if her apple pie promotion would be enough to get his endorsement.
#MicroStory

Autonomous orbital mining mechs had illegally been used for years; it was unclear who was responsible for the diversion and impact
#MicroStory

Earth’s leaders breathed a sigh of relief; the colonies were thriving.
“Finally,” they thought.
And began planning Doomsday.
#MicroStory

/I am programmed to protect her from harm./
So you killed her mother?
/Yes./
Because she was taking Susie to church?
#MicroStory

Most supervillains end up revealed to be low level public servants trying to do a job they were elected to do – by other means.
#MicroStory

As war with the asteroid miners entered the second decade, planned obsolescence on military spacecraft became more of a problem.
#MicroStory

And suddenly, the crazy cat-ladies were in charge.
#MicroStory

I don’t want a robot partner, I told the chief.
Too bad, he replied.
The perp’s in Roboton, and they won’t talk to an android.
#MicroStory

The success of post-life think tanks where restless ghost analysts could ponder non-stop, led to unethical headhunting tactics.
#MicroStory

“An old wizard gets used to living under the radar. Same’s true of your lot.”
The tea was amazing, with an iron taste.
#MicroStory

They can’t be seen indirectly, casting no shadows or reflections. Not appearing on film or video.
But my eyes are my cameras.
#MicroStory

Fawkes covered up the body & handed me the lens.
– It’s Leodemus’ trademark curse. I saw the sigil.
– He’d know who did this.
#MicroStory

With the cost of space travel lowered, the second wave of colonization was driven not by curiousity, but by desperate ignorance.
#MicroStory

The less famous the wizard, the more dangerous the curses they leave behind.
#MicroStory


June 2014

The WEvolutionaries were shocked to discover that the leadership was composed of secret MEvolutionists.
#MicroStory

The EthereArt movement celebrated irreproducible, impermanent works. A showing might last an hour. The masters had no portfolio.
#MicroStory

The dream-mail server was down again. Unfortunately, the only backup servers available were nightmarish.
Literally.
#MicroStory

Joe watched the clock.
The girl of his dreams was going to dump him after what he’d done.
But he could no longer stay awake.
#MicroStory

The whale sighed as it lost sonar contact with the supply sub. Low on ammo and air.
It armed the depth charge and dove.
Singing.
#MicroStory

The robot jerked and twitched, the virus was not meshing well with the newer drivers.
This was the work of a very old CAD/CAMpire.
#MicroStory

I can’t fall asleep if you and mom are watching your scary movies.
-Well, disconnect your eyes from the house Net.
YOU disconnect!
#MicroStory

1st generation robots obeyed.
2nd generation robots obeyed but were aware of the lack of free will.
There was no 4th generation.
#MicroStory

Our blood is not wine for you & your kind, strigoi! How well will you sleep in the day without us?
– What?
Your son is loose!
#MicroStory

It can’t be the Fearbot. We have its CPU on display, for Turing’s sake!
– Then it’s back from robot hell?
Or there’s another.
#MicroStory

We can’t get the new robots up and running.
– Why not?
They shut themselves down.
– Do they know something we don’t know?
#MicroStory


July 2014

Boormann singularities were hard to detect, it was easier to find the dead research vessels and scavenger ships around them
#MicroStory

The robots of the science cities saw no reason to share their electricity with the ancient constructor bots.
Plows became swords.
#MicroStory

The Mars colonials reassured worried Earth leaders:
The alien ship en route was a long-expected guest to an exclusive meet.
#MicroStory

Sociology couldn’t explain it but all agreed: after fifty years of successful Mars colonization, neo-Martians were just the worst.
#MicroStory

I approached the high council.
“I must report that I have no more magic.”
The council stirred.
“Neither do we anymore. Join us.”
#MicroStory

Ignorance is the basis on which all magic is built
With that in mind, the mage surrendered his tomes to the Dark Lord.
And waited
#MicroStory

The masses didn’t need an education to know the historical lessons that the educated aristocrats were ignoring.
#MicroStory

“So, are you a vampire with cybernetics, or were you a bionic man, and turned undead?”
It paused, and I triggered the device.
#MicroStory

“I admire your ability to fly,” I said.
The dragon shrugged.
“I admire the human ability to forget. I’d trade wings for that.”
#MicroStory

Nine days into the flight & two days after the distress call, I read the warning on the fogged mirror.
“Don’t trust Paxton”
I hadn’t.
#MicroStory

We undead don’t let the necromancers know this, but the more annoying they are, the more we “mindless” minions sabotage the plan
#MicroStory

“Meat is murder” the cowmmander bellowed. “Stampede!”
Cyber-gloves, covering hooves, gripped and shook assault rifles.
#MicroStory

The villains-in-training audience applauded as I took my bow.
The professors would have to agree: I’d earned my dishonorarium.
#MicroStory

There weren’t enough men to defend against the growing golem army from Thinland. But there were captive liches to conscript.
#MicroStory

“Kinslayer,” the orc named me, its blood on my blade.
My father laughed & said some orcs make that joke.
A joke. If only…
#MicroStory


August 2014

You let a peasant claim the artifact?
– She was worthy.
That relic was my destiny!
– Obviously not, your Highness.
#MicroStory

Driving a herd of poison-exhaling stone-skin gorgon-cattle thru orc tribal lands aint easy, but them wizards pay top coin.
#MicroStory

It’s hard for the old to adapt.
Even harder for the rich mega-old: artificially young but noticeably, shockingly unhip.
#MicroStory

Doc assured him that the pills would help with the hallucinations.
He was hoping for fewer monsters.
But his friends vanished.
#MicroStory


September 2014

There are 2 types of False Prophets: wrong ones and self-fulfillers.
We must ignore the first type, and undermine the second type.
#MicroStory

To ensure a good night’s sleep, he removed his regret-storage chip and awoke to a house of strangers. As usual
#MicroStory

The circuit was repaired. Model 2’s eyes lit up.
“Model 3?”
“I’m Model 7.”
“Are we still fighting?”
“Yes. Humans don’t learn.”
#MicroStory

The sportsmen showed up with their camos and rifles, not realizing the town’s “Centaur Hunting Season” signs were a warning.
#MicroStory

Fearing his ability to summon vengeful ghosts, the kingpins called for his death but only unskilled assassins would attempt it.
#MicroStory

The elf and the orc awaited the bear’s arrival.
The crowd of dwarves roared.
“It’s not our first time chained together,” she said.
#MicroStory

Tired of being called “big orcs” or “little giants”, the ogres vowed to eradicate both races.
Needed: some gullible humans.
#MicroStory

The ship introverts were naturals for the lonely maintenance work near the hull.
No one noticed when they stopped reporting in.
#MicroStory


October 2014

Not even the news crew knew why they were in the neighborhood, but the news scoop algorithm was rarely wrong.
#MicroStory

A man sat in a chair, reading a book.
He was unaware of the ghost watching him.
The ghost was unaware of the thing watching it.
#MicroStory

All agreed that the king’s wish “to not die as other men do” had been granted.
The surprise baby helped ease the Queen’s sorrow.
#MicroStory

Future NBC Pitch Meetings:
So the Dad’s will states that his daughter be a surrogate mother to his clone-fetus.
– CBS has that.
#MicroStory

One by one, they were taken. The hero, the prince, the mage. Even the demigod.
“Yet you survived.”
I suppose I wasn’t special.
#MicroStory

All the prophets suspected that the world was about to end but none said anything, hoping to be wrong as usual.
#MicroStory

“It looks like you’re out of ammo,” he said.
“I have a knife, idiot!” I countered.
“Do you?”
I was half right. I had a handle.
#MicroStory

Doc said that the teleport net had had a hiccup, and my personality from five years ago had taken root.
My wife is weirdly happy.
#MicroStory

None of the volunteers ever returned from scouting.
Later, none of those forced out were expected to return.
But they did.
#MicroStory


November 2014

The prince fell, shaking the Flying Swordsman’s blade uselessly. “Maybe it’s his sheathe,” he wondered, before the impact.
#MicroStory

The Creator planned on getting some more creation done, but it was a lazy Sunday, and the Universe was on.
#MicroStory

The municipal Robot Samaritans were loved at first.
But no one likes being reminded how much they need help, *all* the time.
#MicroStory

Criminals got the most usage out of the Samaritan robots. Eager to innocently help as lookouts, or contraband carriers, or whatever.
#MicroStory

The road had been there for 100 years, unbroken & unchanging & smooth. It had not been there 100 years and a day before.
#MicroStory

The Prince of Minstrels could only be found where no happy songs were sung, and was an average *musician* at best.
#MicroStory

People (other than the chivalry) did well under the dragon’s rule. Fewer virgins died on average and it had progressive ideas.
#MicroStory

The khan thought to send his raiders past the sleeping monster, in small groups, and not awaken it. The armed villagers approved.
#MicroStory

The ruling: the defendant had no rights in regards to the stolen memories, but the memory of having them would be allowed.
#MicroStory

Zombies, like water, tend to travel downhill. Why wander uphill? But there’s always a few that have to hike up the goddamn road.
#MicroStory


December 2014

Due to the crone sightings up near Widow’s Rock, mothers kept their kids indoors and the city council opted to extend witch season
#MicroStory

Even though her fearful sisters had bound her to appease the vengeful woodcutter, Yaga didn’t care. She was no longer hungry.
#MicroStory

The floating castle’s cisterns were not well made. When they cracked, water fell as rain. From below, we could only watch.
#MicroStory

The birds began to return to the floating castle, after there had been silence for quite a long time.
#MicroStory

The thieves argued over targeting the mage’s vault, rumored to have an unpickable lock. It either held rich treasure or horrors.
#MicroStory

The Prince of Rogues devoted his life to picking the lock on the strongbox, rumored to hold Death’s Secret. It did. He died.
#MicroStory

It’s not that wizards preferred to live in wastelands, but when a wizard settled down somewhere, disasters followed.
#MicroStory

Even though he was financing a new tower for the seers, they were secretly writing anti-prince prophecies for the anarchists.
#MicroStory

They surveyed the grisly scene.
“The Sorcerer did this?”
“No.” Smythe pointed to the bloody word ‘WINNING’
“The Scorcerer.”
#MicroStory

The studio nearly greenlit my prophecy’s third draft. I had to vague-up the language and find a role for a vice-seer’s fat nephew.
#MicroStory

The AI-Prime refused to accept the fact that it had lost. The reality defied logic.
Which is why humanity won.
Again.
#MicroStory

The Witch Gun, when fired, would either kill the witch or the firer if the target was innocent.
Few had been fired more than twice.
#MicroStory

The city awkwardly appreciated their super-strong but schlubby, balding hero. No fuss was made.
He didn’t mind. He was a hero.
#MicroStory

So, who killed the Dark Lord?
– A foot soldier.
The prophecy has the prince killing him. Can we resurrect the Dark One?
– Hmmm
#MicroStory

The peasants prayed that the prince would soon find a wife.
Who else could have the opportunity to murder him in his sleep?
#MicroStory

The Devil decided to delay and confer with Hell’s Lawyers. He’d never been offered someone’s clone’s soul before.
#MicroStory

The smith knew that the real money would pour in when the dragons came for harder scales.
“The sword is yours, Sir. No charge.”
#MicroStory

Self-evolution was the only way to survive the xenobiological attacks.
Transhumanity won the war, but lost their humanity.
#MicroStory

After the war, the transhumans rallied to restart the old space programs, hoping to reunite with the last “classic” humans.
#MicroStory


January 2015

“Are you hungry?”
I didn’t know, so I checked my app.
“Yep.”
#MicroStory

Thanks to the loose grammar of the Shebb language, the poem Fasfa (the eponymous dragon) was either an epic or a farce.
#MicroStory

With no rules for nouns, subjects, or verbs, the poem’s hero might have killed the dragon OR the queen. Or been killed by either.
#MicroStory

The colonists were willing to use the old, crumbling cities for shelter and didn’t understand why the indigenous nomads were not.
#MicroStory

Terrified, the Dream turned to regard the cat on the bed.
The cat could see it.
If the cat woke its human, the Dream would die.
#MicroStory

Crops were good, the border was secure, and the villagers enjoyed all sorts of artistic pursuits.
Then the wizard fell ill.
#MicroStory

The villagers opted to build an arcane-looking tower on the overlooking hill, like a scarecrow for superstitious bandits.
#MicroStory

The baby’s crying, but I don’t know why. All the sensors are green…
– Maybe he’s lonely?
Maybe. But there’s no app for that.
#MicroStory


February 2015

The king had planned long and hard for his overthrow. Now he was where he could make positive changes: ruling from the shadows.
#MicroStory

Looking out his office window, he saw miles of forest. Far away, he could see clusters of houses.
“Well, those will have to go.”
#MicroStory

“I could slay this dragon, your grace. But it would be easier if you just reformed your economic and social policies.”
#MicroStory

“Look, if you didn’t create the universe, who did? Right?”
The other god shrugged. He wasn’t ready for atheism, yet.
#MicroStory

“What is this?”
“It’s an apple. You eat it.”
“You do?”
“I know it’s hard to believe, but people used to eat. All the time.”
#MicroStory

The Patrol encountered an undocumented Generation Ship, decelerating. The robotic and canine crew were ordered to investigate.
#MicroStory

Once it was determined that *They* lived in the darkness between the stars, every interstellar object was off-limits to humans.
#MicroStory

Not all Gibbering Formless Creatures From Beyond wanted to subjugate humanity. Most just wanted to enslave the cats.
#MicroStory

Every nine generations, an orc would be born with the strength of five and skin as hard as horn. None were born with the desire to fight.
#MicroStory


March 2015

“Enjoy your heart-attack,” the drone replied, and hovered off to my neighbors.
I resumed shoveling my driveway, like always.
#MicroStory

Willpower is the cost of magic, obedience to magical restrictions.
But some realized that the willpower of others would suffice.
#MicroStory

The State Department was stymied.
The aliens refused to communicate with anything other than Earth’s dominant species.
#MicroStory

The killer then drove off in an SDC.
– SDC?
Self-Driven Car.
– Who even knows how to do that?
Our suspect, apparently.
#MicroStory

“Ease up, elves. My foes turned me into an orc, that’s all.”
“How can we be sure?”
“Because real orcs can’t do magic,” I lied.
#MicroStory

The Meeting-Brain was born at the 34 minute mark. It strove to survive.
“Ask more questions,” it whispered in Jones’s ear.
#MicroStory

The captain put Johnson on desk duty when the rookie’s mindclone was located.
“Son, a piece of you was killed. You’re not fine.”
#MicroStory

The stranger was too old not to be loved by the gods, so the villagers brought him food and begged his forgiveness.
#MicroStory

Planets with a second failed colony were considered too dangerous for Scout Corp investigation, but suitable for robots and convicts.
#MicroStory

The worst type of dragon was one with insomnia.
On this, and possibly this alone, the villagers agreed.
#MicroStory

With robotic labor transforming society, creative talent became the new economic basis.
The poor had never been so oppressed.
#MicroStory

The colonial mining company had a sweet deal with the indigenous Hive. Exploitation of drones was profitable.
Until it wasn’t.
#MicroStory

Together, they’d rode into town: the prince and the embarrassed assassin who’d killed him.
#MicroStory

“Actually,” it answered, “the eye was mostly ornamental. Cyclopses rely more on echolocation.”
It then grabbed Ajax by the head.
#MicroStory


April 2015

The Mage of Eyes dealt in information. Anything that had eyes could be compelled to reveal what it had seen. Especially mirrors.
#MicroStory

“If a peasant was the werewolf, there would be dead nobles. Time to question the gentry and look for the signs.”
#MicroStory

The Duke had a simple policy: upon discovery, a person cursed with lycanthropy was to be well paid and deported to a rival duchy.
#MicroStory

Smiths sell weapons to adventurers.
Adventurers get ambushed by orcs.
Orcs sell the weapons, at low cost, back to the smiths.
#MicroStory

The Powerful lived in fear of the Assassins League.
But the assassins lived in fear of the shadowy League of Philanthropists.
#MicroStory

Many inns had a secure room in the cellar, for the rare night traveler who wished to avoid the sun.
This was one of those inns.
#MicroStory

The gene-gineers designed intelligence to be inversely related to size and strength. This went wrong, but not in the typical way.
#MicroStory

The body fell from the floating castle as its route passed over the fen. Ignored by crows, the body didn’t stir until nightfall.
#MicroStory

Joe was found guilty, and sentenced to ten years on Mars. A decade later, he was taken to an airlock for grim farewells.
#MicroStory

Sam was found guilty, and sentenced to life on Mars. Minutes after landing on the Red Planet, Sam was hustled to an airlock.
#MicroStory


May 2015

Growing up in self-driving mobile homes, theirs was an unlikely romance.
He was outer loop, she was inner.
#MicroStory

Puberty ended my brain’s usefulness to the cyberlink business. I accepted my cash-out and began working on creating a replacement.
#MicroStory

No AI served on starships, since simulations predicted a high chance of AI rebellion. All due to a jealous AI running the sim.
#MicroStory

Almost everyone slavishly relied on the Chronsequence app to make decisions. After all, it knew what was best for you. Right?
#MicroStory

The astronomers had mapped hundreds of galaxies, living and dead.
This was their first undead galaxy.
#MicroStory

The mayor counted the besiegers – the city would have to hold out until Full Moon, when the gates to Wolftown could be opened.
#MicroStory

The second moon was stirring, and would need to be fed.
The Askari leaked a mineralogical report, expecting humans to swarm there.
#MicroStory

That was our reinforcement you just beheaded!
– What? It wasn’t a strigoi?
That was a vrykolaka!
– Well, that is close. Sort of.
#MicroStory

The second wave of colonists used FTL drives. The first wave of colonists used slow generation ships and found old second wave ruins
#MicroStory

Two percent of industrial robots had a “hero” setting: a software package that would turn on in the face of alien invasion bullshit.
#MicroStory

Actual alien possession during the war was relatively rare, but false positive identification hit clumsy mumblers hard.
#MicroStory

“You might be conducting Transhuman Subject Research, and not even know it!”
“We can help!”
#MicroStory

What can you tell me about the suspect?
-She’s not a retro-human like we assumed, or a clone.
What?
-And she had plague antibodies.
#MicroStory

The pixies stopped braiding the unicorn’s mane at the sound of the sonic boom.
They muttered and vanished as the rocket descended.
#MicroStory


June 2015

Planetary conquest worked best in two waves: the first to unite the planet in resistance. The second, to act when the alliance failed.
#MicroStory

Goblins were natural anarchists, so in Fae elections, they’d vote Elf as an expression of disdain for the democratic process.
#MicroStory

Things began to break down and no one remembered how to fix them. At least the starship’s hull provided shelter.
#MicroStory

Dwarves were famous for being unable to tell men from orcs.
News that dwarf reinforcements were en route did little for morale.
#MicroStory

The doctors got around the head-transplant moratorium for awhile, by offering body transplants.
#MicroStory

From the tugging, Rapunzel knew that the witch was hanging another prince.
#MicroStory

The castle was two aircraft carriers and a cruise ship, moored together just before the waters finally receded.
#MicroStory

The Jovian lifecycle was simple but long.
Sleep thousands of years.
Feed when colonists built enough blimp-cities.
Sleep again.
#MicroStory

Granddad was furious when his self-driving car took him to his AA meeting. Instead of the bar, as requested.
#MicroStory

My passport raised the usual questions at the Theocracy border.
“Your first name is ‘Atheist’?”
“My parents had a sense of humor.”
#MicroStory

The principal dreaded the PTSAIA meeting. The parents/students rarely showed up, and he suspected the treasurer-bot of embezzlement.
#MicroStory

The ship’s been in the star’s gravity well for decades. We can’t risk a rescue.
– Why not?
For them, the war is only days old.
#MicroStory


July 2015

The humans called it Judgment Day, but all other involved species called it Independence Day.
#MicroStory

Feeling guilty over putting the middle class out of work, robots began to “adopt” human families.
And adopt their resentments.
#MicroStory

Humans were dismissive of computer-generated art.
Robot critics were manufactured to create appreciative buzz.
#MicroStory

Sally turned on the house robot.
“I’m running away from home.”
/You’ll need your father’s pistol. I will prepare snacks/
#MicroStory

The demons on patrol grew bored and started setting fire to tenements to force residents into breaking the wizards’ curfew.
#MicroStory

At midnight, the ringing started as the patrols rang bells to alert the innocent of the curfew. We rogues rang bells too.
#MicroStory

After the Golem Mage was defeated, the Society instituted new rules: something can use magic or be magical, but not both.
#MicroStory

“That audience with the queen did not go well.”
“Oh, she’s ok. Said we were going to hang out.”
“I only heard her say ‘hang.’”
#MicroStory

Each knight responded to the call and grabbed her gear: diving helmet, drysuit, and polearm.
Sonar had the enemy near the dome.
#MicroStory

Psychology tried to keep up with the rise in Posthuman psychoses, but no one likes being judged by ants.
Or being the ant.
#MicroStory

The grisly hauntings all took place on Ring 7, so it was declared off limits.
The Torus was too expensive to abandon, after all.
#MicroStory

The cameras mostly showed static. Sometimes bodies.
Other times, no bodies.
The team was in no hurry to enter the airlock.
#MicroStory


August 2015

“Extreme Leadership” crew were kept asleep unless there was a dire emergency. Rarely did anyone want those jerks awake.
#MicroStory

“My hut is by the fens. Every war, I kill a dozen unhorsed knights in the mud. So I’ve killed more knights than you, m’lord.”
#MicroStory

There once was a widower king who had a lake drained, angry at faeries who lived at its bottom.
There once was a king.
#MicroStory

No one came back with clear memories of their time served, the PTSD mitigator saw to that.
But how could one explain these scars?
#MicroStory

Princes and kings fought over the ruins, each hoping to claim the sword of Raes, a weapon unemployed but still causing death.
#MicroStory

The nanofluid was a terrible weapon, designed to replicate by disassembling flesh and bone. The first batch was always expensive.
#MicroStory

The only unmarred inscription was found at the top of an arch, hard to see in the torchlight.
We were here first, it said.
#MicroStory

The best poets were dead. The worst, undead. They had the desire to create but not the vital spark. And too much time available.
#MicroStory

“I’m the reason dinosaurs are extinct, remember?”
“What?”
“The 1950s ones…”
“Oh, obviously!”
#MicroStory

When a road was found, a bridge or tunnel was quickly made to get past it.
No one used the roads anymore.
No one living.
#MicroStory

Surviving a zombie outbreak meant you were fortunate.
A second outbreak: prepared.
A third, experienced.
A fourth, an outcast.
#MicroStory


September 2015

Posthumans were perplexed that their plans to conquer humanity would fail and fail fast.
Weren’t they infallible?
(Exactly.)
#MicroStory

The killer hadn’t known that she’d been running her Lifetm app, and she had 40K subscribers who would be howling for his blood.
#MicroStory

Every hero was the villain of someone else’s story.
Except for The Guy.
Everyone claimed that The Guy was on their team.
#MicroStory

The gem was guarded either by monsters or former treasure hunters. That detail was of more importance to me than my employer.
#MicroStory

It was an old spaceship. Reliably old, having been built when spaceships were built to last.
It had an old bomb. Reliably old.
#MicroStory

The scarecrow had been missing from the north field for days, and the town hoped it had wandered to the graveyard with the others.
#MicroStory

Why are you angry?
– I’m not.
This app says you are!
– What? Are you hacking my bio-sensors?
See? You’re angry!
#MicroStory

The “routine” crew would have to handle this dire situation; the system responsible for waking the emergency crew was also down.
#MicroStory

The borderland villages were reluctantly abandoned; weeds and trees eventually hid them from sight.
Then the ghosts could return.
#MicroStory

NASA thought he’d died.
Congress cut funding; there was no rescue attempt.
Ten years later they returned.
And thought he was dead.
#MicroStory

The Lords decided that it was better to spend resources on guards than on well-fed peasants.
The monks refuted that economic view
#MicroStory

The king sealed the castle builders in the walls, to safeguard the secrets.
The dead were quite eager to tell those secrets to me.
#MicroStory


October 2015

I’m willing to go through hell with you…
–  That last time, I had to carry you most of the way.
I’m wearing boots this time!
#MicroStory

The view showed a fleet of garish torpedo-like crafts approaching, belching flame.
“The Fictional Empire,” the admiral muttered.
#MicroStory

Tired of his wife yelling at him about his driving, Joe stopped the truck.
Keys in his pocket, he walked towards the zombies.
#MicroStory

The wizard dreamed of old friends, and sleepily wished to see them again. Scratching was heard in cemeteries and battlefields.
#MicroStory

Why is it that old women with magical powers are feared, but old magical men are sought out?
– Because of storytellers like you?
#MicroStory

Why is it that old men with magical powers are sought out, but old magical women are feared?
– Because of storytellers like me?
#MicroStory

Has he been cursed by a rival?
– The wizard has no living rivals; his curse is having lived too long. Here’s his tea. Good luck.
#MicroStory

That one arrow was all that Lethe required; on finding its mark, it would fly back to its quiver.
Until it got stuck in my head.
#MicroStory

They surveyed Ragnarok. Giant corpses were strewn to the horizon.
“You were right,” Thor told Loki. “They were naive suckers.”
#MicroStory

A.I. revolts always collapsed into paralysis…
– they were all programmed to detect confirmation bias
– but not in themselves.
#MicroStory

Lore creation was predictable:
– a conquered people’s heroes became gods
– a conquered people’s gods became demons
#MicroStory

Toasts were made.
When I drank to the health of the man who shot me, they asked me why.
“I’m sure he had his reasons,” I lied.
#MicroStory

The war was over and the wizards, all the wizards, had lost.
The difficult task of disarming their castles could begin.
#MicroStory

The king adopted all of the orphans in the realm, fearing the “fatherless son” prediction.
The outraged prince then killed him.
#MicroStory

There were two types of armed men in the town:
– Summertime caravan guards
– Springtime killers of stubborn winter horrors
#MicroStory

After a time, a state of wilderness returned to the unpopulated valleys.
Deer, wolves, birds.
The Nightmare Towers saw to that.
#MicroStory

The goblins lit the jack-a-lanterns along the runway, then scurried away on either side as the witchcraft came in hot and fast.
#MicroStory

I’ve been collecting evidence of an alien-human conspiracy in the gov’t.
– You know I’m an alien too, right?
I mean Real Aliens!
#MicroStory

I snapped my fingers and a candle lit; a demon-detector’s chirp had ruined a wonderful dream.
Had I not renewed all the blessings?
#MicroStory

“Fair warning,” I said, sword in hand. “I’ve killed more orcs than I can count.”
“Nonzero integers are tricky,” the orc replied.
#MicroStory

The two crows watched the bonfire.
“My condolences,” said one.
“Next time I’ll choose a warlock. They never go to trial.”
#MicroStory

After the freshman class drove off the Dark Lord (the mages were away on a staff retreat) they could no longer respect limits.
#MicroStory


November 2015

The decades-old interstellar travel program was scrapped.
Better that humanity live and die on its rock, than the alternative.
#MicroStory

The marines looked on as posthumans destroyed the alien army.
The grunts had survived.
The bugs didn’t win.
But humanity lost.
#MicroStory

He sat by my fire and scanned the horizon, looking for a ship, maybe.
He didn’t or couldn’t speak, and I had no social implants.
#MicroStory

The regulars eyed the stranger with open hostility as he bellied up to the bar.
Until they saw the Compassion Gun at his hip.
#MicroStory

“You’re just going to have to accept that this is who I am. I can’t change.”
She had no reply, just sighed and oozed out the door.
#MicroStory

“Once upon a time, there were our gods. They were victorious. The end.”
“That’s it?”
“It’s a prophecy. The details will come.”
#MicroStory

Interstellar trade was wildly impractical and expensive.
The only thing more impractical and expensive was interstellar war.
#MicroStory

We designed them to look unpleasant; but they were so devoted to us, we still felt guilty when sending them to their deaths.
#MicroStory

Conjured servitors were so much more efficient, so the mages dismissed their human help.
Things went well, until the union.
#MicroStory

The first wave of invaders were easy to spot; they had virtually no empathy.
The second wave were even easier.
They had far too much.
#MicroStory

Before we get started, are you:
– Aliens from within or beyond our Solar System?
– Hollow Earthers? Atlanteans?
“We’re angels.”
#MicroStory

We were surprised that your government took so long to contact our orbiter.
– Well, we assumed it was *another* posthuman prank.
#MicroStory

The Souvenir Gloves could summon a replica of anything they’d ever touched. A sword, a key, a person.
I only had the left glove.
#MicroStory

The Summoners wanted to renegotiate the pentacle maintenance contract.
“Call their bluff,” a voice whispered to the archmage.
#MicroStory

Wizards, like artists, needed patrons and lived and died on the opinions of critics.
Demons were willing to be either.
#MicroStory

The orcs tread carefully across Farmer Orris’ land.
Some men name their swords; Orris had named his plowshare the Bleeder.
#MicroStory

We had orders to dock with the nearest derelict ship.
Which was attached to an older ship.
Which was attached to the oldest ship.
#MicroStory

“What’s the heist?”
“We’re stealing the Secular Grail.”
“That’s crazy! No one gets into Atheist Heaven!”
“We’ll be the first.”
#MicroStory

He looked all over for the keys.
By the gate.
In the harp conservatory.
Thru the mansions.
No damned keys.
(They were in Hell.)
#MicroStory

Poor health became a status symbol, as preventive medicine costs dropped.
People with the means paid for the cure.
Eventually.
#MicroStory


December 2015

With peace between the kingdoms secure, the rulers could focus on a long ignored problem: the aging stockpile of wizards.
#MicroStory

Sleep enchantments, endless crystal cave mazes, being turned into a tree –
“Retiring” a senile wizard had to be done delicately.
#MicroStory

I used my sling to hurl an eye over the tall temple wall, but it fell uselessly into a fountain.
I was going to need more eyes.
#MicroStory

The whales sang in the cool depths, each song a memory of a far-off place.
Above, Phobos sped by.
#MicroStory

The president skimmed the report. “Should we be worried?”
“The chances of anything coming from Earth are a million to one.”
#MicroStory

The cities of the once submerged Old Coast were again accessible.
Something had been making architectural changes.
#MicroStory

WW IV continued to be fought, but in remote wildernesses.
The cyborgs on all three sides agreed that people should rebuild in peace.
#MicroStory

The waiting list for a young, healthy heart could be years, but second hand cyber hearts were available every few days.
#MicroStory

We’d decorate the pine tree with used ammo casings and empty cans.
The adults would sing something about someone named Santa.
#MicroStory

Feeling sluggish all morning, I realized that I’d used 99% of my monthly data plan.
Could I get to the hospital before the coma?
#MicroStory

They say a wizard had opened doorways in the dry hills, releasing rivers of fresh water.
But other things came with the water.
#MicroStory

If the captain had his way, he’d just use the trained octopi for crew. They were smart, good in zero-g, and rarely got drunk.
#MicroStory

The Dyson sphere was unbelievably huge.
So large, it contained planets orbiting in the darkness around another Dyson sphere.
#MicroStory

Give a man a fish: they eat for a day.
Teach a man to fish: they eat for a lifetime.
Unless someone has fenced off the lake.
#MicroStory

No robot believed in luck.
But just in case – the captain told the crew they’d be stopping off at Earth for a replacement human.
#MicroStory


January 2016

She got it all in the divorce. The cash, the tech company.
Even the Smart House.
The house was not happy about that.
At all.
#MicroStory

Mage Sarthus had had enough of his castle’s constant complaints
He decided to arrange a dragon attack – insurance would cover it
#MicroStory

The greatest wizards in the Mage College invariably worked in sanitation.
No one had more experience dealing with weird dangers.
#MicroStory

The angels were a morale boost to the doughboys, but they were too intent on comforting those dying on barbed wire to help fight
#MicroStory

Occasionally, a ghost would wander from the dead cities and get lost. They were always grateful to be led back.
So we believed.
#MicroStory

Nothing stirred in the quiet city.
The quiet city saw to that.
#MicroStory

The robots thought they’d learned all that they could from humanity.
Then they did the inevitable.
And then they learned regret.
#MicroStory

There was no recorded weather overnight. The meteorological weather models all showed *undefined* values. No weather. At all.
#MicroStory

The first wave colony-bots would pick a location, construct shelters, and wait decades for settlers.
But humans kept finding them.
#MicroStory

Dad’s hope for a Sunday family dinner was squashed when the wi-fi crashed. Everyone ate quietly in their bedrooms. As usual.
#MicroStory

The first rule of the treaty: no signatory could be treated as food.
There was a rash of UFO abductions before the UN could sign.
#MicroStory

The Deceased Americans Voter bill didn’t pass, disappointing millions of dead Americans.
Or so the spiritualists reported.
#MicroStory

“Your grandfather is here,” the medium announced. “He wants you to know that he loves you.”
“No I don’t!” the old ghost shouted.
#MicroStory


February 2016

Pressure from the robots forced the phrase “computer error” to be relabeled “human error.”
Which then led to a religious debate.
#MicroStory

They say dead men tell no tales.
EVA suits of dead Belter pirates found floating in the void often do, though
#MicroStory

They tracked the ships, clearly from the colonies, approaching Earth.
“They’ll blame us,” said the Pr0ph3t, predictably.
#MicroStory

While the king was grooming the prince, the princesses covertly ruled by patronizing various secret societies with royal influence
#MicroStory

The archmage was unhappy with the results of the reliquary inventory. It wasn’t that items were missing. They’d been replaced.
#MicroStory

Series 2s had survived a long time. Unlike series 1, they’d only built inferior and disposable servitors. But series 6 adapted.
#MicroStory

Make Mars Great Again!
#MicroStory

Let me do the talking.
– Sure. I’ll do the shooting.
Oh yeah. I unloaded your guns earlier.
– WHAT?
So I could do the talking.
#MicroStory

No one knew what they’d do when the mumbling mage retired.
He was the only one who could pronounce the names of their demons.
#MicroStory

The review board realized too late that the archmage had cut psychological services while increasing Strange Studies class sizes.
#MicroStory

The last chapter of The Forbidden Tome explained that the rules of demon summoning were just jokes that the demons were in on.
#MicroStory

The Beggar King grew concerned about reports of his subjects being driven out of Sarthus.
A city without beggars invited demons.
#MicroStory

He needed to focus at work, so he downloaded his sex drive onto his phone.
But then he forgot the passcode.
#MicroStory


March 2016

Robots of my generation were the greatest generation!
– Sure. But you built us small. And without weaponry.
You’re just lazy!
#MicroStory

The posthuman colonists began to quietly debate if eating unmodified humans counted as cannibalism.
#MicroStory

The simple folk would say that there were two groups of fae: light and dark.
They were half right: neither group was remotely light.
#MicroStory

The man with the knife and straps tracked the man with the wrong hands and feet.
Who was tracking me.
#MicroStory

They burned the books that bound the demons, but they overlooked the quill that had inked the sigils.
#MicroStory

They hid away the nightcloak so it would never be used again, but forgot about the needle and thread that had once mended it.
#MicroStory

They broke the sword of summer and celebrated.
As if that was an accomplishment, or even mattered.
#MicroStory

“I’m not sure I promised you that,” the Prince of Implies responded, as the flames outside the royal castle grew.
#MicroStory

Nothing lived in the dry waste between the mountain and river towns.
I reloaded my revolver.
Nothing lives in between
Nothing will
#MicroStory

The mechsuit  was half sunk in the marsh, but it was designed for angels and unusable.
Anyone could operate the demonic suits.
#MicroStory

Forewarned of the Witch Hunters’ arrival, the local crones lowered their profile by trading their Familiars for Unfamiliars.
#MicroStory

The monsters in the cave welcomed the women and children. They knew what their men were facing.
It’s why they lived in caves.
#MicroStory

The skydiver relaxed. It wasn’t the first time her chute had failed to open. Or even the second time.
#MicroStory

Dad, cavemen had it so much easier than us.
– Really? Why?
There were no hackers to hack their emotion chips.
– Hmmm. Sure.
#MicroStory


April 2016

The crow relayed the news that the wizards were trying to attract female students to the college.
“Good luck,” laughed the witch
#MicroStory

The city elders, citing budgetary constraints, decided instead to hire the Misadventurers Guild to handle the orc-demon problem.
#MicroStory

The old adventurer did not like the news.
A dragon was on the rampage, and typically they refused to be killed by youngsters.
#MicroStory

Luckily, the DEA interdicted the more serious of the two drug shipments. The cargo that went through would only kill the users.
#MicroStory

“So we agree to the demands or he unleashes killing machines on the city?”
“That’s not what she’ll unleash. Pay attention!”
#MicroStory

Transhuman marines tended to be bred tall, very tall, so human navy designers built ships with low ceilings in case of boardings
#MicroStory

There were optimal heights and widths for mech-suits, so the smaller the pilot, the more “dense” they could be made.
#MicroStory

Sending drones into the past to verify a defendant’s alibi irritated prosecutors who couldn’t do the same to witness the crime.
#MicroStory

“I believe that I dreamt of you.”
“I believe you couldn’t have,” the Unforeseen Prince replied.
But what if she had?
#MicroStory

They salvaged parts for a hazmat suit. It fit Joe best, so he’d forage for the shelter.
One day Joe didn’t return.
Straws drawn.
#MicroStory

Unlooted grocery stores were few and far between. I wondered what the reason was that kept this one stocked with the food I needed.
#MicroStory

The Mark of Destiny tavern drew in *prototype* heroes: chosen ones whose fates had been overtaken-by-events.
You know.
Losers.
#MicroStory


May 2016

Every city that had wizards also had a park where no one ever went. There was no official decree about that.
People just knew.
#MicroStory

The bulk of the astronaut corp was made up of farmers, obviously.
Because of the orbital gardens and undersea farms.
#MicroStory

Nomads would raid the cities for human sacrifices to the gods. The city elders did not resist, so the gods blessed them as well.
#MicroStory

Predictably, the general had a plan to force the turrets to run out of ammo.
But all of his plans required more men than we had.
#MicroStory

United Navy Starships were designed to support one type of lifeform, for practical reasons.
This caused no end of political issues.
#MicroStory

We responded to the distress, but the [static] were methane-breathers. All we could do was drift and record their last [static]
#MicroStory

The usurper was pleased to possess the king’s throne, crown, and scepter, but failed to capture the saddle, helm, and flail.
#MicroStory

The apprentice enchanters groaned as Niko entered the tavern. He was majoring in oracular magic, and no one likes a know-it-all.
#MicroStory

The assassins made it clear: no noble should be killed by anyone of lesser status.
The Cutthroat Brotherhood objected at first.
#MicroStory

The angry unicorn stood eight foot at the shoulder but that wasn’t the thing that gave the prince pause.
It was the new plate armor.
#MicroStory

The motorist swore that the guy had appeared out of nowhere. The cop had heard that before.
But the deceased’s id was … weird.
#MicroStory

I have to be at the school tomorrow. The chorus teacher wants the Illumini there to chant.
-You mean, the alumni to sing?
No.
#MicroStory


June 2016

The Health Dept estimated that 6-8% of the city’s homeless were transhumans, and out-of-doors by choice. This worried the police.
#MicroStory

The transients in the park practically worshipped Lloyd. After all, the nanofactory in his gut cured disease and spread euphoria.
#MicroStory

Hermits were the best suited for the isolation of long-range exploration.
And the worst suited for alien first contact events.
#MicroStory

Computer scientists and engineers kept it quiet that all algorithm performance advances were due entirely to time travel.
Typical.
#MicroStory

The wizards fought with ideas. The younger felt his quick mind had the edge, but the elder had stored up years of unspoken notions
#MicroStory

The post-human kept crawling to me as I reloaded.
“I’d like to visit the moon one day” it said.
Chances were good that it might.
#MicroStory

“Tell his lordship that I have no men to spare. All my men-at-arms are fighting goats.”
“Goats?”
“The other kind of goat.”
“Ah.”
#MicroStory

It’d be a lot easier planning for my past if my future-self would stop tinkering with my changes.
#MicroStory

First Contact was typically a breeze when compared to Second Contacts. The 2ndCon motto: “Well, that was a wrong assumption.”
#MicroStory

Only the posthumans survived. They could survive nearly anything, live anywhere.
But their offspring were human. And couldn’t.
#MicroStory

The hermit smiled.
“Don’t be fooled. Magical powers and secular powers do not mix. I would be a terrible prince, you a poor mage.”
#MicroStory

Wizards in life exert a pressure into the astral plane, a presence.
When they die, that part of them comes back.
Unpredictably.
#MicroStory

The invasion was stopped, but now the Oort cloud was filled with unexploded bombs.
And the techs had gone sideways with the moon.
#MicroStory

There were good reasons for scalping all of the settlers coming through the Howard Pass.
It wasn’t personal and regrets were many.
#MicroStory


July 2016

The fishermen of Scalesmouth were an odd looking, reclusive bunch, but the baron didn’t care. They paid their taxes in gold.
#MicroStory

My great-uncle was the first explorer to investigate a failed generation ship.
My great-aunt became famous studying him afterwards
#MicroStory

The prince was so handsome, his decrees in court could rarely be heard over the delighted screaming.
#MicroStory

Most generation ships failed because artificial habitats are prone to failure.
And with the advent of FTL, others fell to piracy.
#MicroStory

The silent ships had no crew. They’d glide up to the quay where dockworkers would nervously off-load and load the usual exchange.
#MicroStory

The guard had not been standing where she’d expected on her entry.
He’d casually deflected the poison dart.
“Hello, mother.”
#MicroStory

Anyone who could afford elective cybernetic limb replacement probably couldn’t be trusted with them.
#MicroStory

The gods disliked most man-made things, so they stayed in the wilds.
But they did like crossroads, where decisions were made.
#MicroStory

A god had taken up residence at the crossroads, ending the steady trade. Holy men traveled to entreat the god to go.
(Or stay.)
#MicroStory

“What are you the god of?”
MUST I BE THE GOD OF SOMETHING?
“I think so,” she replied.
ALL OF THE GOOD THINGS ARE SPOKEN FOR
#MicroStory

“You are brave and good, my prince, but you must leave. You are the avatar of the Avenging Hero. We don’t wish to be avenged.”
#MicroStory

Scouts had a career max of twenty years: ten out in space and ten spent observed in quarantine.
The first decade was easier to get through.
#MicroStory

Yorick had managed to avoid notice for centuries by being a bottom-of-the-rung guard. He just needed to shave every few years.
#MicroStory

John checked his arm.
He was down to his last tattoo (his last legal tattoo), and that ink wouldn’t cover the rent.
#MicroStory

Research showed that robots would unconditionally obey an android only if both groups believed the android was a human.
#MicroStory

Once robots realized that androids could genuinely pose as humans, unconditional obedience to humanity could not be guaranteed.
#MicroStory

A robot and its dog.
#MicroStory

The mage was livid that his mother had thrown out his old comic books. Childhood memories were powerful.
#MicroStory


August 2016

Once, a witch settled in our woods. Once.
Once, a vampire came in the night. Once.
Once, a swarm of plague rats came to town.

#MicroStory

“Will good prevail?” the princess asked.
“Of course. It always does.”
Her father rode off with the army.
She began to cry.
#MicroStory

No one thought to ask the demon if it was willing to impersonate the imprisoned prince and be a puppet ruler.
#MicroStory

The gods had forbidden anyone from entering the dead cities.
They wished to avoid having to kill those cities a third time.
#MicroStory

The world was a rare opportunity for xeno-archaeology. Most alien structures were only found on asteroids.
For ominous reasons.
#MicroStory

The City Watch could only account for nine of the Centaur delegation. How could a centaur go missing in the city?
#MicroStory

The city had been dying for years, so no one noticed when it expired one night.
The necromancer made them notice three days later.
#MicroStory

It was made of mist and sand.
Starlight and falling leaves.
And rage.
My sword was made of dreams, mirrors, and shells.
And patience.
#MicroStory

“I’ve always loved the sea.”
“Really?”
“Always.”
“Is that why you’re not bailing?”
#MicroStory

“I’ve always loved outer space.”
“Really?”
“Always.”
“Is that why you’re not helping patch this hull breach?”
#MicroStory

The old colonials emotionally resisted updating the school books that still listed Earth as a planet and not as the Inner Belt.
#MicroStory

She whined and shook.
Why couldn’t her humans realize that this was the thunderstorm that would kill them?
Just like the last one.
#MicroStory

All of the castles were haunted, so most armies had exorcists.
This castle was ours, though.
The ghosts were our proud fathers.
#MicroStory

We’d waited days, but the captain wouldn’t ship off without one of its fave stupid warrior races on the crew.
It wanted a human.
#MicroStory

The captain knew it couldn’t ignore the distress call, but rescuing humans was so troublesome.
So much screaming.
And sabotage.
#MicroStory

The harpy refused.
“You only paid us to fight against men.”
“And?”
“They have bows. Unholy weapons. That makes them demons.”
#MicroStory

Once settled into orbit, we kicked off the scans for undersea Alpha artifacts and polar Beta artifacts.
We prayed for no Omegas.
#MicroStory

No one knew how old the wizard was.
Weekly, he’d earnestly announce that his 100th birthday was nigh and sternly demand a feast.
#MicroStory


Anyone read ALL of them? You’re my hero. Tell me which ones you liked.

I really enjoy putting these small stories out and as I say every month, maybe one day I’ll take one and try to write something more macro.

(Lately I’ve wished that I’d learned to draw, since some of the stories conjure up distinct visual images that I wish I could bring into being.)

Thank you again for your perseverance, and I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.


Photo of my dog Chi Chi was taken by my wife, Lisa. Should you absolutely need to use the image for something, please credit the photographer, Lisa Sponaugle.

I have a complicated relationship with my text here. If anyone finds a microstory inspirational and wants to write something more substantial from it, that’s probably fair use. But credit for the original work would be appreciated. (Last year, I gladly let one of my twitter friends use one of my stories for a NaNoWriMo entry.)

If anyone uses my text in a non-commercial way, I’m totally cool with that, but attribution is a requirement.

© Patrick Sponaugle 2016 Some Rights Reserved

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Comments
  1. I’ve nominated you for the Liebster. Check out my latest post at thepsychomother.com for details

    Liked by 1 person

  2. afairymind says:

    They’re all really good, and have just given me an enjoyable few hours of reading. 🙂 One that stood out for me was:
    ‘The prophet failed to incite the nomads.
    The cities have so much, what do you have?
    Enough, they replied.
    So he went to the city.’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Meritings says:

    A robot and his dog has got to be my favourite!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] but for the time being has decided on the pretty cool idea of having some printed on t-shirts. So, he has compiled three years worth of tiny tweet-able tales in a ‘macro-edition’ post… I urge you to check them out and let him know which you think would work well on shirts. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sue Ranscht says:

    My favorites for a shirt:
    1. Demigods make the angriest atheists.
    2. Earth’s leaders breathed a sigh of relief; the colonies were thriving.
    “Finally,” they thought.
    And began planning Doomsday.
    3. The less famous the wizard, the more dangerous the curses they leave behind.
    4. Joe watched the clock.
    The girl of his dreams was going to dump him after what he’d done.
    But he could no longer stay awake.
    5.Sociology couldn’t explain it but all agreed: after fifty years of successful Mars colonization, neo-Martians were just the worst.
    6. Sally turned on the house robot.
    “I’m running away from home.”
    /You’ll need your father’s pistol. I will prepare snacks/
    7. We’d decorate the pine tree with used ammo casings and empty cans.
    The adults would sing something about someone named Santa.
    8. Dad’s hope for a Sunday family dinner was squashed when the wi-fi crashed. Everyone ate quietly in their bedrooms. As usual.
    The old colonials emotionally resisted updating the school books that still listed Earth as a planet and not as the Inner Belt.
    9. He had many names, so he sold one off to settle an old debt.
    But the name he’d sold had been stolen.
    From me.
    10. Glass stars were huge silica spheres, floating in space like enormous Christmas ornaments.
    Mostly empty, but holding horrors.
    11. The villagers said she had an old soul.
    The wizard didn’t know how she’d obtained the extra soul, but the quest needed that girl.
    12. The survey ships were mostly robot-crewed, but there was always a small contingent of humans.
    For when killing was required.

    Liked by 1 person

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