Cold Hard Cash

He could hear the faint sound of laughter filtering through the trees.

Shafts of sunlight poured through gaps in the canopy, but the air was strangely cold.

Robert thought back, brought up the map in his mind; there shouldn’t be people for miles.

He wandered into the nearest patch of light, glanced up, and confirmed what he expected: thunder clouds rolling in already.

A necromancer, and by the sounds of it, he’d brought a band of witches too.

Just when he needed an easy job.

Roberts sighed, gripped his sword a bit tighter, and jogged off into the gathering darkness.

[100 words]

 

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Bound

They writhe, chained, below. No sleep, only the respite of discomfort before pain.

Soon they will be back on the oars, hauling themselves across oceans, fighting to live a life in chains rather than die in them. They’re just like us—the tribal tattoos inked on their forearms the only difference.

No, the men I work alongside are the real savages. They savour their positions: crew of a slave ship—what power! I don’t—but I’m grateful to be where I am.

They writhe; my fingers trace idly the scars on my forearms, where once my own tattoos were inked.

[100 words]

Hello/Goodbye

I didn’t recognise the number, but answered the call nevertheless.

“Hello?”

“Hi, who’s this?”

I paused. “It’s Toby,” I replied slowly. “Who were you expecting when you called my phone?” The sarcasm I was trying for didn’t quite work; the girl’s voice was so friendly that I instead ended up sounding helpful.

“No one in particular. How are you, Toby?”

“I’m fine, thank you…but who is this?”

“My name’s Gemma. Toby, you are the last person I will ever talk to. Goodbye.”

The line went dead.

I rushed to retrieve the number and called straight back.

There was no answer.

I Warned You

In London you’re never far from a rat.

Everyone knows that.

You’re also never far from one of my kind.

You know that too, to an extent.

You just don’t know what we are.

We’re waiting, suffering while we wait but that isn’t important.

The end will be so sweet we won’t remember the suffering.

I only call it the end so you’ll understand.

It is the beginning of a new age for us.

Most of my kind don’t care what happens to you.

Having a conscience doesn’t make me unique, but I’ve picked up more human traits than most.

Survival

Survival: Those who walked upon the Earth still, didn’t know of or hope for anything else. When it’s not just your world, but the whole world, that comes crashing down, immediate priorities tend to stay simple. Those who survived the impact and the subsequent ‘winter’ became single-minded scavengers, wanting only what they could consume.

It was in this state that the crew found every survivor: concerned only with lasting another day. They did not respond to the plans for rebuilding, did not comprehend the need to secure life on a timescale longer than a season, longer than food would last.

 

[100 words]

Once

Once I heard Heaven. Not as peaceful as I expected, at first I struggled to hear any one voice.

They talked slowly, and each voice grew in volume before fading away, as if floating lazily past. Many sang in foreign tongues. One line I understood, sung by a woman, lasted five minutes.

“Oh to be where the grass is greener…”

The first word took up half that time, drawn out in wistfulness. There were no harps, but I heard a steel drum. People ask how I knew it was Heaven. I say I’d heard my father calling, they smile sadly.

[100 words]

Bottled Up [Drabble]

He walked to the window, pushed open a chink in the blinds.

Nothing.

He took a swig from the bottle. The cheap gin should’ve burned on the way down, but he barely felt it.

His nerves were shot, and he was just waiting for the rest of him to catch up.

They were coming.

He fingered the safety on the pistol strapped to his hip. He kept it on him at all times.

He walked to the window.

Nothing.

Swig.

He paced across the room that was fast becoming a cell.

He walked to the window.

They were here.

Finally.

[100 words]