You run a night school for assassins. The other professional assassins loathe you for turning customers into self-sufficient killers. You would get frustrated by their constant attempts on your life, if they didn’t make for such good lessons for your students…
I strode across to the podium, before the diagram of the human skeleton and circulatory system. The class was small, ten people. I found it to be my optimum class size. Any more and my students began to look like a forest, not trees. Any less, and I might have trouble with my payments.
One tentative hand rose up. She was a slip of a girl. Her demeanor was timid, her hand trembling in the air. None of her classmates took her seriously. They were new, yet. Not all of them quite realized that I wasn’t here to teach them how to fight, but how to kill. Ellen’s ‘fragile flower’ act would serve her well.
Continue reading “Timid Reaper”
Rise! Rise from the earth, I command thee!
The red mountains by Seven-teenth
I came to the overlook and staggered to a halt, looking over the plains. Green and verdant, the grasses flowed and rippled in the wind. It was beautiful, so beautiful. A fitting sacrifice for mankind to fulfill its destiny.
I pulled my hand from my side, where I’d been stabbed. A knight in shining armor, saving the world. Well, his armor wasn’t so shiny now, but he’d done his damage before he died. I couldn’t blame him, though. If I succeeded, the air would be too foul to breathe within a few years. The world would die.
Continue reading “Blood Hack”
A housecat’s human learning to hunt, from the cat’s point of view.
“CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!” My human whipped out a strange device before my shocked eyes, and slammed it down, piercing his prey’s tin hide. He closed the device – like teeth – and it began to chew.
“O! PEN! ER!”
With each syllable, he twisted the device, mauling his prey’s hide further, then he peeled back the tin skin. He hefted the can into the air and slammed it down over my food dish. He snapped his wrist back, leaving behind the prey’s flesh. He tipped his head back and screamed in victory.
Continue reading “Sensei”
Your life, if you’d decided differently.
“Faster!” Fists flew, a pivot, then my heel pierced the air like a spear. Since I was fourteen I’d honed these same movements, harder and faster and more graceful.
“Again. From the start.” I set my feet, taking note of where I stood, and began. I lunged, punched, kicked, and then with the pivot from that kick, stomped. The movements etched the motions into my mind and muscle. Now, using them in these flowing combinations was second nature.
Continue reading “Alternate Universes”
The World is a peaceful place. Everyone is Happy. Nothing Bad is happening to anyone. Every person has everything they need. Everyone is well mannered, and Mean people do not exist.
I heard the scream and looked around. Nobody else seemed concerned. People walked up and down the street, nobody looking up. There it was again. “No! Stop! Get off me!”
It was coming from the alleyway. I rushed into the darkness, my eyes taking a moment to adjust after the bright sunlight. He was tall, muscular, and there was a tattoo of an eagle straddling a swastika on his bald scalp. In his free hand, he twirled a knife with a shocking degree of skill.
“Just relax, little peacock, it won’t hurt as–” I barrelled into him, hard. The knife skittered across the pavement, musical as different surfaces of it struck the pavement. Continue reading “Trauma Entertainment”
Naval battle of beasts. (Image prompt)
I stared into the darkness, forcing my eyes open despite the rain lashed into them. We had extinguished every light to keep us hidden, but our foe wouldn’t lose us so easily. Behind me, men with axes chopped away the wreckage of a broken mast and its rigging. The ship writhed beneath my feet as the dead weight broke loose and slid into the ocean.
“Watchmen, an extra half-share to the man who calls him before I do.” I had to shout to be heard, but I kept my voice even. They needed a strong voice right now. I heard my promise called out down the length of the ship, for all the watchmen to hear. “Patrol master, how long before our air patrol is due back?”
“They’re five minutes o’erdue, captain!”
Black scales shone in a flash of lightning. I saw the spindly wreckage of the one wing we’d destroyed in the first volley of cannon fire. Immediately I leaned to the pipe that would make me heard on the gun deck. “Portside cannon, two degrees fore, fire as you bear!”
Continue reading “Powder and Teeth”
A psychopathic serial killer falls in love with a beautiful, sexy mind reader
Soon I would have to struggle home from work. It was the hardest part, the walk home. My job kept me alone in front of a dozen monitors, watching empty halls at night. It was a lonely job, but it kept me safe, insulated from the abrasive buzzing of humanity.
There were my coworkers, of course. My relief would arrive soon. Funny word, that. ‘Relief’. Those hours alone, they were the purest, most relaxing hours of my day. Then Josh showed up. His mind was full of whatever woman he was wooing at the time. Lust whined constantly, and his pride was like the squeak of a thumb on a clean plate, never ending. He’d made progress with someone if it was this loud.
He’d never actually told me of his conquests. He was actually something of a gentleman in that regard. It should seem odd that someone so consumed with sex and the pursuit of sex should be a gentleman in any way, but I knew human nature too intimately to be surprised. When you understood people well enough, you came to realize that the contradictions within a human are what made them…human.
Continue reading “Deadly Lens”
Write a story that makes you happy.
I wiped the ink from my pen’s nib, set it down carefully, and regarded the page. The ink was still drying, but it seemed immaculate. I was especially smug about the diagrams of the Antikythera. That was a bit of engineering far ahead of its time. I had been giddy with anticipation for a week, given the chance to copy those schematics, and I felt like I had done it with precision. I carefully stoppered the ink and set the pen aside.
My parents had despaired of my education ever repaying the investment it required, but I was satisfied. Nobody else could do work this fine, and everybody knew it. Only Davuus of Broken Hills could match my technical diagrams. I had seen one bookbinding finer than what I could usually manage, but I didn’t know who did the binding, or how far away they might be. It was likely that their business was nothing but bindings. I smiled, sure that nobody I would ever meet could surpass my skill, not if I spent my career always growing.
Then the smell hit me. Fresh bread, garlic, parmesan. “Rouseaux! Did you even hear me calling? Dinner’s ready!” Continue reading “The Dream”
I looked over the world with a heavy heart.
I didn’t really, of course. Out of the eyes of every insect, every bird and squirrel, and even every human, I saw nearly everything. Secrets weren’t safe from me unless they were safe from life itself. Or . . . unlife.
I looked out from the eyes of the zombies as well. Oceans of mindless undead. Something had to be done. It would break millennia of nonintervention, but the human race was at risk. And as unpleasant as that species could be, I had plans for them.
Continue reading “Grim Avatar”
The love of your life has just died in your arms.
I strode across the battlefield, picking my way over the bodies to where she lay. The sun beat down on my face, beads of sweat mixing with blood, red droplets catching in my lashes. At least it wasn’t mine.
I knelt at her side, brushing her hair back. “Anya.” Her breath was fast and shallow, her eyes unfocused.
“Anya. Does it hurt?” She shifted and whimpered. Someone else shifted too, and I put my sword into his chest, letting it stay there for the moment.
“It hurts less,” she said. “But it’s so cold. Chris . . . I think this is it.”
Continue reading “A Soldier’s Mercy”