Deadly Wish

Explore a character’s moral dilemma – either he gets a million dollars, and someone he doesn’t know dies, or someone else gets a million dollars, and he dies.

“A million dollars?”

“Yes.”

“Very well.  It’s mundane, so I’ll grant it.  But . . . let’s make it interesting.  I’ll also kill someone.”  The genie that had sprung from the antique lamp pointed out my window, and in the window across the way a woman was dusting; she looked like a cleaning lady.  “Her.  I’ll kill her.”

“What!?  No!  That is nowhere in the wish I made!  I didn’t ask for anything like that!”

To be fair, I had kind of been surprised when a human form billowed out of the lamp.  It was like a silly fairy tale.  But after I spent half an hour crawling around my kitchen counter as a cockroach, I was ready to believe.  It was either that, or risk some new torment.

“Who cares?  The terms of your wish are fulfilled.”

“No.  Take it back.  I don’t want it.”

The genie floated on a cloud of mist, ignoring me.  “Funds will be deposited in your account by six–”

I threw the lamp.  It passed through him, his form swirling like smoke before reforming. “I said take it back!”  I was screaming now.  I wasn’t a killer, dammit.  This wasn’t me!

“Well.  I might be convinced to refrain.  But you’ll have to entertain me, mortal.  Squirm on the hook a little.  Wriggle, worm.”

“What are you talking about!?  You can’t just kill people!”  I couldn’t hit him, I couldn’t stop him, I couldn’t do anything but shout.  Someone in a neighboring apartment thumped on the walls.

“Oh, I can.  And nobody will ever know.  Heart attacks are a dime a dozen.  Even the healthy could have one.  But like I said, I might refrain.  I’ll give her the money instead, and give the death to you.”

I froze.  “You can’t possibly . . . you can’t expect . . . ”

He rolled on his cloud of vapor, stomach-down now, folding his hands under his chin to watch me.  His hair was pure white, like cotton, and his form childlike.  His eyes on me, though, were those of an old man. “I expect you to squirm.  I expect you to decide.  I expect to feast on your struggle, manling.  Take the money, and you may as well have killed her yourself.”

I turned away, planting my hands on the cool tile of the countertop.  I’d never considered myself a great altruist.  I always wondered just how cold I was.  I didn’t donate to anything, didn’t have a great cause.  But could I just let someone die?  I shook my head.  I was looking at it wrong.  Someone would die.  Someone would certainly die.  The question wasn’t, ‘would I let someone die’, but ‘who would I choose’.  I looked out the window and felt my resolve harden.

I was an architect.  I made things, dozens of people were employed to support my work.  She was a cleaning lady.  I doubted she supported more than herself.  I stood up, looking out the window, my decision ready.  I heard the genie’s childish voice pipe up behind me. “Ooooooh, here it comes!”

I saw a second cleaner walk into view, carrying a trash bag.  She was younger, probably still in high school.  The older lady bent to her, and began wrapping some small hurt, then kissed her on the brow.  A daughter.  The girl laughed, pushing her mother away, too old to have boo-boo’s kissed better, but she laughed, she smiled.

I looked around my apartment.  The entertainment center, the Playstation with one controller plugged in, the single microwave dinner on the table, the empty beer can.  Part of me began to die inside, just then.  That part of me so assured of my worth, the part convinced that I was valuable to the world.  I turned back to the genie, whose blue eyes met mine.

With a heart that felt like a lead weight in my chest, I announced my decision.

Geo Rivals

You’re driving home from work late at night when you begin to suspect the car behind you might be following you. You take every right turn until you have made a full circle. The car is still behind you…

Scene from Courtlyn Siepert: You’re driving home from work late at night when you begin to suspect the car behind you might be following you. You take every right turn until you have made a full circle. The car is still behind you…

Why are you so paranoid, and why are they after you?

I had been beaten. Again. This time I had the advantage though; I was intimately familiar with this neighborhood. I glanced in the rearview and made the turn, heading to the hillside that the latest clue had to represent. It would take anybody from outside the region days to do the research needed—

That’s when I noticed headlights in my rearview, making the same turn I had. My instincts twitched. Continue reading “Geo Rivals”

Shooting Stars

You live in a world where you have three names printed on your wrist – your one true friend, one true love, and one true enemy. But only one name is printed on your wrist.

Blood Hack

Rise! Rise from the earth, I command thee!

Original

the_red_mountains_by_seven_teenth-danmrw1[1]

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”

Deadly Lens

A psychopathic serial killer falls in love with a beautiful, sexy mind reader

Original

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”

A Soldier’s Mercy

The love of your life has just died in your arms.

Original

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”

Believe in Me

A bank robber takes off his ski mask and hails a cab, stowing his pistol in his back pocket. Suddenly, lights begin to flash around him. “Welcome to the Cash Cab!…”

Original

I stepped out of the lights and music of the Cash Cab, four hundred dollars richer. The frigid rain spat down at me, and the wind tried to throw my hair into my face.  Shame and self-loathing were furrowing my brow and tying a knot in my stomach.  I felt like I was going to be physically sick.  I had never been so ashamed of myself.

Continue reading “Believe in Me”