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Stories on the Go: 101 Very Short Stories by 101 Authors

Hugh Howey

  Stories on the Go

  101 Very Short Stories by 101 Authors

  edited by Andrew Ashling

  Go to the first story

  Go to the Table of Contents

  Go to the Index by Author

  Go to the Index by Genre


  Stories on the Go

  101 Very Short Stories by 101 Authors

  edited by Andrew Ashling

  Copyright © 2014

  All rights to this anthology are reserved.

  No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the authors. This book contains works of fiction. The characters and situations are products of each author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  Rights to the individual works contained in this anthology are owned by the submitting authors and/or publishers and each has permitted the story's use in this collection.

  Cover picture provided by Hudson Owen.

  Cover design by Scarlett Rugers.

  Publishing services and advice by Draft2Digital.

  Table of Contents


  Title Page


  Index by Author

  Index by Genre

  101 Very Short Stories by 101 Authors

  Micah Ackerman: 38th Street

  Caddy Rowland: Suzanne Valadon — A Woman Who Dared

  Monica La Porta: Eternal Bounds

  Sam Kates: Coming Home

  Lanette Curington: Purple Passion

  Ela Lond: Crescent Moon

  Livia Harper: Buck Hunt

  Griffin Carmichael: Flashlight

  Selina Fenech: Wild

  Mark Gardner: Chip Assassin

  Ellisa Barr: Choose Peas

  Marilyn Vix: Payback’s a Witch

  Jean Louise: Thursday at the Ritz-Carlton

  Sheryl Fawcett: The Man Across the Room

  Nathan Williams: The Gambino Theater Gambit

  K.D. Hendriks: Witch in Space — and other Mishaps

  Wendy C. Allen a.k.a. Eelkat: The Oak Tree — EelKat’s Twisted Tales

  Lindy Moone: The Little Chill — A Three-Minute Mystery

  Andrew Ashling: The Fiar

  David J. Normoyle: Last Words

  Jack Lusted: Found in Space

  H.S. Stone: A Deluge of Demons

  Craig Halloran: Henry and Tory

  Cherise Kelley: My Master Got a Raw Deal

  George Berger: Hudson and Hailey

  Jamie Campbell: Masked Attraction

  Amelia Smith: The Birds of Winter

  H.S. St.Ours: Perfect Blue Sunset

  Melisse Aires: Justice For Rogue Incubators

  Cora Buhlert: Heiligenloh

  Philip Harris: Cag — An Almost True Story

  Emily Martha Sorensen: A Phone Conversation

  Raquel Lyon: One in the Eye

  Samuel Clements: One Depressed Angel

  Dulce Rolindeax: Virtual Vampire

  Julie Ann Dawson: Bad Karma

  J.T. Hall: The Valentine’s Day Before We Met

  Roz Marshall: The Snow Patrol

  Vincent Trigili: Rage

  J.E. Taylor: Abyss

  Hugh Howey: A Father’s Fist

  Samuel Peralta: Trauma Room

  Daniel R. Marvello: Final Exam

  John L. Monk: Trixy Chestity goes to England — (Chapter 7)

  Hudson Owen: Einstein Stayed Here

  Stella Wilkinson: The Witch and The Wolf

  Susan C. Daffron: Kitty Nightmares

  Anya Kelly: The Vampire’s Prey

  Rachel Aukes: Beer, Bugs, and the End of the World

  Anya Allyn: Another Point of View

  Zelah Meyer: Mab

  Nicolas Wilson: Buttrock

  Jennifer Lewis: Grace and the Green Card

  Toni Dwiggins: The Green Stones

  Derek Neville: Oz

  D.D. Parker: Quiet on Set

  Keith Rowland: Beyond

  Ruth Nestvold: Embracing Sorrow

  P.D. Singer: Reading Material

  Quinn Richardson: Mechanical Advantage

  Peter J. Michaels: Noumenon

  Daniel Wallock: Forgetting Life

  Thea Atkinson: Of Piss and Tobacco

  Lisa Grace: The Trouble With Tribble

  Matt Ryan: Pencil

  Vanna Smythe: The Million Colors of the Sea

  Geraldine Evans: One For The Boys

  MeiLin Miranda: Non Si Muove

  Beverly Farr: Something Worth Keeping

  Sarah L. Carter: Deadly Beauty

  Tony Bertauski: What I Wasn’t

  Edward M. Grant: Tongue Tied

  Misti Wolanski: Indy-San

  Erik Feka: Life Goes On

  Dee Gabbledon: Outlandisher — A Short Tour de Farce

  Becca Price: The Sirens’ Song

  Arrington Flynn: Telling Your Story with Misty Rose

  L.E. Parin: The Frog Prince

  Darrin Perrez: The Last

  Frank Zubek: Martians For Neighbors!

  Rachel Elizabeth Cole: Hit and Run

  Matthew W. Grant: Lamron Ot Emoclew

  Michael Coorlim: Twin Souls

  Maren Hayes: Kiribati

  Tony Held: Showdown on Lyndale Avenue

  Allan Körbes: Workplace Hazards

  Tiffany Cherney: Into the Ether

  Landon Porter: Live Without Them

  Kathy Molyneaux: Welcome Home Mrs. Lee

  Drew Avera: My Last Moment

  SB Jones: The Eternal Gateway — Blades

  Bob Summer: Words

  E.A. Linden: Death Sentence

  Sarra Cannon: The Witching Well

  Carol Kean: The Tipper

  Kristy Tate: Anywhere Else

  Jos van Brussel: Love Salutation

  John March: The Spirit Talker

  Nadia Nader: The Witch in the Woods

  R.M. Prioleau: Death’s Door

  Joel Ansel: Living Bride



  Andrew Ashling

  Nobody likes long introductions.

  I'll keep this one under a thousand words as it introduces 101 stories of a thousand words or less.

  Hugh Howey launched the idea for this anthology on Kboards, a forum for Kindle readers, but also the meeting place of an active community of indie writers. The idea was almost immediately picked up by a lot of enthusiastic indie authors. Writing is usually not a collaborative art, and indie authors value their independence, maybe even more than other writers. So it's no wonder that this project went through several iterations, with so many individualists involved.

  From the outset, our goal was to provide an anthology that would be a showcase of recent indie writing. To make it more attractive for you, the reader, we set ourselves a limit of a thousand words. You should be able to read each story in under five minutes — on your desktop computer, laptop, or tablet at home or in the office, but also on your smartphone, on the go, while you are commuting or waiting at a coffee shop for your significant other to arrive.

  We included as many genres as we could. We hope that maybe, with only five minutes of your time on the line that would otherwise be wasted anyway, you'll be tempted to venture outside your comfort zone and try out some new genres and new authors.

  To make it even easier on you, we included an Index by Genre and another Index by Author. Of course, there's also a Table of Contents.

  Or… you could just start reading the first story without further ado.

  There are many people to thank.

  Hugh Howey for his ever-abiding enthusiasm and for providing the idea and initial impetus for this book. Harvey Chute, the benevolent, long-suffering creator of Kboards, home of so many unruly indie-writers, where the idea for this anthology originated. Hudson Owen for providing the cover picture, Selina Fenech for paying for the cover, and Scarlett Rugers for the design. The volunteers who helped edit this book and always provided me with constructive suggestions. The 101 authors for making their stories available.

  And, last but not least, my thanks go to you, intrepid, gentle reader, for giving us a chance to present the fruits of our lonely craft to you.

  I hope you'll enjoy our stories.

  Andrew Ashling, Editor


  38th Street

  Micah Ackerman

  Saban watched as the flash of blood entered the tube attached to the butterfly needle. He had been bitten yesterday afternoon, and had called his doctor right away. He was at the clinic now; his doctor had told him to get tested immediately.

  He thought it was all rumor, all media hype right up until the moment that homeless dipshit had sunk his teeth into Saban’s arm. The man had been covered in filth and defecation. Saban didn’t even see him coming; how was he supposed to know that the bum was dead? Two days ago, Eyewitness News had reported about groups of psychotic people biting innocent bystanders. Last night they had finally announced that the biters were—dead, but walking? It was ridiculous. It couldn’t be happening.

  The phlebotomist pulled the cylindrical tube filled with crimson off the needle attachment. “I’ll get this right to the lab; you’ll have your results soon.” She looked tired; the line of people waiting to get tested stretched out the door of the clinic. Saban had waited two hours for a blood test. He knew it was the right decision as he felt his body temperature rise and his knees buckle while waiting in the queue.

  He stood and glanced into the mirror hanging over the sink. “Ohh, God,” he whispered, hoping no one would hear. His face was a greenish yellow, and his eyes were red with blood. Would there be any reason to wait for the results? He could have diagnosed half of the people in line just by looking at them.

  Saban walked out of the blood draw booth past the throng of souls waiting for their turn. Some of the people held bags full of vomit. That was the first symptom: uncontrollable nausea and vomiting. Saban hadn’t been able to hold down anything solid since the bite. He wrote it off as nerves, but now he knew that it was so much more.

  The line extended onto the sidewalk. It was freezing out, and Saban shivered as the wind hit his sweaty brow. It was the grayest winter that he’d ever experienced, which certainly fit his mood. Reaching up, Saban pulled down his wool hat over his ears. His stomach and calves began to cramp, locked up as if a noose were drawing tight around his neck. The hallucinations would come next. The phlebotomist had given him a printout describing the symptoms. Of course they left off the last symptom: death.

  An ambulance screamed by him on the street, the sirens echoing off the glass-faced skyscrapers. It made 38th Street feel like a cavern, a cold unforgiving cavern. He walked toward his apartment. Four blocks, which might as well be a hundred. Every step was agony. Trash had started to build up on the curbs, always the first thing to be forgotten in a time of crisis. The epidemic was certainly a crisis; the garbage men must have headed for the hills. “If only I were smarter, or worked in trash collection,” he said, laughing quietly to himself. Even laughing was painful. His ribs seemed to stab into his lungs with every chuckle. He could have run, it was true. Little good it would do now.

  The tall buildings seemed to magnify the icy wind as he walked. Up ahead, Saban could see two men fighting. It seemed commonplace these days; everyone was on edge. One man straddled the other, who was lying on the ground desperately trying to get free. The man on top was determined; he looked as if he were headbutting the other in the face. Saban picked up his pace, wanting to get past the ruckus before the cops arrived and caused a scene. The sidewalk felt spiky under his tender feet. He was almost to the men when he noticed the man on top wasn’t fighting the man on the bottom — he was eating his face. Every time he bent down he chomped another mouthful of nose, lip, or cheek. Blood had puddled around the victim’s head. His legs gyrated up and down as the remaining electrical impulses left his body. Saban was disgusted and mesmerized at the same time. It must have been a hallucination brought on by the fever. He was hot, then cold; his body couldn’t decide which. His immune system was rebelling against itself. Soon he wouldn’t know up from down.

  Saban walked around the grotesque scene of bloody gore. He wanted to give the men—were they men or monsters? He wanted to give whatever they were a wide berth. The sun started to go down slowly in front of him, though it was only ten in the morning. Regardless, the sky was darkening. Saban felt faint, he was spinning, no he was… Hungry, so hungry, he needed to eat. A thin film had fallen over his eyes, like a blurry veil. He was ravenous now; he needed something, anything or anyone. He pushed the thought out of his mind. What did it even mean, anyone? Saban’s throat had begun to close up. He tried to speak, but the only sound that came out was a sickly groan. His legs wouldn’t work right. He began to shamble. All he could think about was getting to his apartment, to the steak in the refrigerator. But steak wasn’t quite what he wanted.

  Saban turned stiffly and watched the man chowing down on his enemy’s face. He looked up at Saban, cocked his head to the side, and then went back to eating. Saban’s brain was going foggy. He couldn’t remember yesterday. He didn’t know how he had gotten on the street. He knew that he needed to eat. Soon he found himself on his knees beside the corpse biting into the bicep, feeling the wet flesh slither down his throat, which opened to accept it. The taste was beautiful, like a symphony.

  Micah Ackerman

  is a Horror and Science Fiction writer from Connecticut. He has worked in the medical field for the past 10 years giving him unique insight into the interior workings of the human animal. His first full length novel Wormwood is now available on Amazon. The book is about a full scale nuclear war and how one man strives to save his small town. Micah loves to chat with his fans, so if you have any questions or comments please visit him at his website.

  Micah Ackerman’s Website

  Table of Contents — Author Register — Genre Register

  Historical Fiction

  Suzanne Valadon:

  A Woman Who Dared

  Caddy Rowland

  Suzanne sighed as she looked around at the customers at Le Chat Noir. This cabaret in Montmartre was considered the place to be seen by everyone, from the lowliest of artists to the finest of gentry. The past year it had flourished. Oh, yes, particularly the bourgeoisie flocked to the crowded cabaret, hoping to be noticed frolicking with the wild bohemians and their wicked ways.

  Surprisingly, it didn’t matter to these imposters that the cabaret regulars cruelly satirized them, calling them out and embarrassing them in front of their colleagues. It was all a lark, after all. Once the night ended, they’d go back to their respectable parts of the city, never making eye contact with any of the rabble they had associated with the night before—should they be so unlucky as to run into them on the streets of Paris.

  She herself was more looked down upon than most of the artists in the area. It was most definitely a man’s world, and probably always would be. Yes, even in the world of bohemia, where artists prided themselves on their cutting edge painting and lifestyles, women were very much a minority in regard to playing anything but traditional roles.

  Generally, women only gained entrance to the art world as an artist’s model. Artist’s model, my ass, thought Suzanne. She, and other models, served as nothing but whor
es who were passed around from artist to artist. Once one had their fill of whatever had made the woman seem their muse, she was discarded, only to be picked up again by the next in line. For one man, it was her hair, another, her hips. Regardless of what feature appealed, the males painted a few pictures, grew bored, and found new inspiration. She doubted they ever considered how poorly they treated the women who posed for them.

  Well, she had dared to enter their world not only as a model, but as a painter—something few other women had succeeded in doing so far. Renoir had helped her, but most of all Degas. Degas had taken her under his wing and taught her technique. It had probably amused him to do so. Once she began to show promise, he’d been unable to hide his surprise. To his credit, he complimented her, continuing to help her.

  Now she painted quite well. Additionally, she was also currently pregnant. Oh, it wasn’t Degas. Not him. Other than that, she was unsure who the father of the child growing in her might be. It didn’t matter. She’d been branded a salope long before she became pregnant, simply because she refused to live according to society’s rules. Most of the men she knew wouldn’t make a father to be proud of, anyway. Those who would were unlikely to step forward. One could always hope, though. It would be nice to be taken care of for a change.

  Even when the baby was born, she’d continue to paint. It was in her blood now, and she knew her paintings were quite good. Currently, men admired her only for her looks, but she hoped the day would come when people would admire her for her artistry. Suzanne Valadon. Although she had been born Marie-Clémentine Valadon, she now went by Suzanne. Could she dare hope to never be forgotten? Would the world ever start to appreciate contributions by females? Wouldn’t it be something if her art made history?

  Suzanne looked around the smoky cabaret once more. There was Vincent, always by himself unless his brother, Theo, accompanied him. Well, he was a strange one. Still, van Gogh could paint. No one could deny that, although she heard many trying to. He winked, making her smile. She felt a kinship with him, knowing what it felt like to be an outcast. Maybe all of the outcasts should get together and build a fortress, with a sign hanging in front that simply said, “Just Don’t Mess With Us.”