Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In days of olde ... when knight were absent

By Sandra Davies

Victoria turned from the turret window, from which the pluming dust of the Crusade-bound cavalcade, led by her liege lord in response to the king’s summons, could now barely be seen. Disbelievingly she regarded what lay on the pewter dish, the canescent globes unappetising in the extreme. One raised eyebrow was sufficient to permit the waiting varlet to speak.

‘My master asseverated that your chastity could only be assured if you ate these especially-selected mushrooms daily – on pain of death I am to make sure.’

Victoria smiled – her lord could hope, but she knew that neither her chastity nor the varlet’s death would be an issue – unless issue became one instead.

Copyright ©2012 Sandra Davies All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.


This story was originally published on Sandra's site, lines of communication, on February 10, 2012.


If you like this story, check out Sandra's other story, published on this site: Assembly.


Sandra Davies is an artist printmaker and recently-emerged writer of fiction, who regards flat estuarine and sea-edged horizons as essential for well-being. Regularly published on MuDSpots, Thinking Ten and Six Sentences, less so Camel Saloon, Pygmy Giant, Pigeon Bike, and currently working on her fifth novel – a romantic detective tale. More writing at lines of communication and prints at Print Universe.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chickens roosting in the trees

by Baird Nuckolls

She came to Keystone West in the Cotton Candy Nebula to get away from the routine of her life, the humdrum stress that wore her down like a nearly flat sine wave. She wanted to sit by the pool slathered in sunscreen and sweat, broiled by the fiery blue sun, reading a trashy novel and drinking some sickly-pink concoction that the pool bartender had splashed over frozen helium in a plastic cup. Staring off toward the Cuban archipelago, her eyes pinched against the sharp sun, she could hear the fluted call of Gentian tourists beyond the wrought-iron fence.

She couldn't sleep the first few nights in the sticky heat, but after a few days of no schedule and no real conversation, she slept like the dead, falling into bed as the rowdy young Falindal offspring on their gap-year tour pedaled past on the way to Duval Street for their night of drunken revelry. She woke in the dawn to the crowing of a flexi-cock and found her way down to the dusty street in the lavender half-light. Walking through the empty streets, she looked at the decaying architecture and the aggressively carnivorous vines overgrowing fences. Stopping to read a historical marker that was hidden in an riot of greenery, she discovered four vegan chicken-bots roosting in the trees just inches from her face. They stared at her in alien, transgendered silence, hoping she would move along so they could sleep.

The smell of hot caffeine stereo-isomer drew her down to the waterfront, to a stand frequented by unshaven dock workers and a few bare-footed beach bums, who stood over their steaming dark brew, inhaling brain cells, firing new neurons in the cool damp day.

Later, she wandered further afield, renting a quadricycle to circumnavigate, past faded cera-melt bungalows and shoddily constructed time share communities clinging to the edges of the airport. The strips of crude consumerism gave way to graceful old homes hidden in groves of tall native trees, ceiling fans stirring the porch air, bird-bots calling from the hidden shade.

The abandoned Federal fort was all flat light and crumbling brick, a home to feral feline-reciprocals; the most promising part was the cache of iced H2o for sale in the lobby shop. She understood, standing on the end point of land, looking out of sand bars and shallows filled with waving aquagrass, why Hemingway drank, surrounded by legions of six-toed cats. She'd visited his home once in the original Key West, wandering the grounds and staring at the books behind glass in his study, the deer mounted on the wall over his desk and the descendants of his cats lounging on the wrought iron furniture beside the faded aquamarine pool.

She rode through the oldest part of the habitat, as tour buses rumbled by on the cobbled streets, their garbled narrative announced on the breeze, their aisles filled with off-world visitors stupefied by rum drinks and the heat. From every street corner, young people hawked day trips on giant heliospores, spun their daydreams of jet pack flights, bikinis and umbrella drinks to the crowds. She ignored them all, searching out the secret gardens instead.

The last night of the week, she stood at lands' end and watched the blue sun sink into the ocean, far from the raucous crowd at AltMallory Square. Keystone West had become a private oasis, the heat burning through the fog in her brain, replacing the sharp edges of her toil with the worn down and faded colors of the town. She found herself amused, renewed, content. When it was time to leave, she contemplated slipping the ties of her life and remaining behind, washed up on the silicate beach like so many before her, seduced by the lure of ease.

But it wasn't entirely necessary to leave the ease behind. She packed her sunglasses, along with a few nautilus fossils to remind her of the sound of the foreign sea. The chicken-bots raced across her path and under the porch as she walked away. They would await her return in the cool shade.

Copyright ©2012 Baird Nuckolls. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.


If you like this story, check out Baird’s other stories, published on this site: He Preferred Red, Jet lagged and Scarred.



Baird Nuckolls left her heart in Key West one Spring Break and longs to return. She is a writer and editor, living in Northern California.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Helen's dilemma

By MorningAJ

Helen took a deep breath and prepared to explain it again. Her fiancé was looking at her with a strange expression: slightly confused and slightly annoyed.

“This has nothing to do with women’s lib and equality. I’m just not going to take your name when we’re married.

“I refuse to be known as Helen Highwater!”

Copyright ©2012 MorningAJ. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.


This story was originally published on the Jobbing Writer site on January 26, 2012.


If you like this story, check out these other Morning AJ stories, published on this site: Disguise, Earwig, Falling star and Jetsam.



MorningAJ is a professional (science PR) writer/rebel who fends off the
restrictions of her paid-for work by creating short stories, poems and
microfiction in her spare time. She’s even managed a novel, thanks to
NaNoWriMo, and is currently working on her second.
She also paints watercolours.

Monday, February 6, 2012

**One of my stories, Blasphēmos gamisia, was republished on the Every Night Erotica site

One of my older – and odder – erotica stories, Blasphēmos gamisia, about playing cards, royal intrigue and bizarre infidelity, was republished on the Every Night Erotica site.

This story was originally published on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association (ERWA) website in October 2009; it was later included on ERWA’s “Treasure Chest” page in January 2010.

Blasphēmos gamisia was later republished in my anthology, Charge of the scarlet b-sides: microsex stories & poems (available at

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


By Otis B. Driftwooed

An eerie, expectant hush fell over the sold-out stadium when she, refulgent, princess lovely, cooed the band’s biggest hit, “Grace Kelly Kiss,” before channeling Betty Davis, shatter-glass brittleness when the band whipped into the drum-led guitar slither of “Wicked Eve”. Lighters and reverence were abandoned as the crowd followed that tonal shift, women and men dancing, shouting out their hormonal responses.

These moments, caught on video, would prove to be the band’s most-remembered live Eighties performance, as evidenced by online chat rooms and referenced media clips when she, still beautiful, now a movie star, died in her sleep in her Beverly Hills home more than thirty years later.

“We’ll never experience the likes of her again,” one Tumbling Stone critic wrote in his heartfelt eulogy. “She was unique, multi-talented, endlessly beneficent – in a word, pure.”

Copyright ©2011, 2012 Otis B. Driftwooed. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.



Otis B. Driftwooed was born in the United States, and lives in the Pacific Northwest. This is his first published story under this name.