Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike AND Bring On the BOOKS by Freerange Oyster

*oh, yeah, you guys might want to go over and read this interview about Darkship Revenge, too.*

Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

So what’s a vignette? You might know them as flash fiction, or even just sketches. We will provide a prompt each Sunday that you can use directly (including it in your work) or just as an inspiration. You, in turn, will write about 50 words (yes, we are going for short shorts! Not even a Drabble 100 words, just half that!). Then post it!  For an additional challenge, you can aim to make it exactly 50 words, if you like.

We recommend that if you have an original vignette, you post that as a new reply. If you are commenting on someone’s vignette, then post that as a reply to the vignette. Comments — this is writing practice, so comments should be aimed at helping someone be a better writer, not at crushing them. And since these are likely to be drafts, don’t jump up and down too hard on typos and grammar.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Your writing prompt this week is:
*I have no idea what this means, but this is the email I got.  It’s possible they just forgot to type in the word, or that my email somehow ate it, i.e. I don’t think they’re this avant-garde, however having left it to the last minute, I’m forced to put it up as is.  Let the games begin – SAH*

 Bring On the BOOKS by Freerange Oyster

Alma Boykin

Circuits and Crises

The Colplatschki Chronicles Book 6

Danger wears yellow; duty means death.

Emperor Andrew labors to regain the lost secrets of his Lander ancestors, spending weeks peering at yellowing pages and half-shattered machines. Far to the south, a tide of yellow, color of Selkow the Mighty, builds against the Dividing Range’s eastern slope, ready to overwhelm everything in its path. In between stand the fortress of Sigurney and the patricians of Scheel, merchants more terrified of their new neighbor to the north than of the rising tide below.

When the passes open, three men stand between obsession and destruction.

On sale this week


The Colplatschki Chronicles Book 7

How far can duty and anger drive a man?

One man the Turkowi fear above all others. Like the Blackbird of legend, he fights all the creatures of Selkow the Beautiful, braver than any unbeliever had right to be. “Shh, be quiet, or Matyasa will hear you,” Turkowi mothers warn their children.

It was not always so. Once he was Matthew Malatesta, second son of a mercenary, younger brother of the heir to Marteen, grandson of Duke Edmund Ironhand of Sarmas. Matthew aspired to nothing beyond beating the Turkowi and buying a few books. Then the Oligarchs of Morloke drove him into exile.

Thus began the saga of Duke Matthew Charles Malatesta: the tale of the Blackbird.

On sale this week

David Burkhead

Big Blue

When an accidentally detonated nuke from a stolen submarine releases something never before seen, Sea Hawk pilot Lieutenant Steve Pomerantz is sent to investigate. He finds a blue-green monster ten times the size of the largest Tyrannosaurus Rex and seemingly impervious to every weapon in mankind’s arsenal.

Earthquakes in the South Pacific, at a location dubbed as the most remote spot on Earth, raise tsunamis all along the West Coast. Air Force Captain Jamal White, pilot of a C-130 Hercules is pulled off of search and rescue duties to ferry two scientists to investigate. What they find is a new continent arisen from the deep. And on that continent something stirs, bringing terror and madness in its wake.

Two monsters, one from the frozen North Atlantic, one from the remote South Pacific, on a collision course with the survival of mankind hanging in the balance.

61 thoughts on “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike AND Bring On the BOOKS by Freerange Oyster

  1. “Our orders are to do … what?” demanded the First Mate?

    “You have read them; I expect them obeyed!”

    “Captain, that would require breaking the Fourth Wall! Nobody does that and survives!”

    “It is not our mission to survive, sir, it is our mission to do as we are ordered.”

  2. He stared madly at the screen. There was no pointer, no indicator, no prompt. He dragged his fingers through his thinning unwashed hair. How was he supposed to think, to create. He started to quiver from withdrawal symptoms. Lifting fingers to keyboard he started to giggle maniacally.

  3. He stared blankly at the screen. The words weren’t coming, but he would sit here I they did.
    However long that took.

  4. He stared at the map. Much of it was a complete blank, and much of the rest showed nought but a sketch of the coastlines – and those were rough at best. One entire quadrant of the map was blank, save for the words someone had added in a fit of whimsy. “Here there be dragons.”

    His finger tapped the words as if of their accord. “I hope not,” he muttered absently.

    “Now you see why we need an aerial survey,”

  5. “Sources irreconcilable. No elevations believed greater than 15,000 feet.”

    Robin tapped the blank space on the map with one grease-stained finger. “What did you say his planned cruising altitude was for the first survey pass?”

    “Sixteen five, sir.” Monty shook his head a little as he pointed to the second “e” in “believed.” “Based on his last position and track report, that’s where he found an error in the map.”

    “Or something found him,” Robin muttered under his breath, thinking about the legend of the giant eagle.

  6. “Your mom wanted you to join this reform school. So you put together a small army, and invaded the grounds.”
    “Pretty much.”
    “What the hell were you thinking? Surely there are much better ways to be sent here?”
    “Mom says that you get much more out of it this way.”

      1. That’s an idea.

        This is more Japanese delinquents.

        I’ve outlined the introduction of a WIP, and this came out in a hurry after some brainstorming of possible next portions. It might be the wrong path.

  7. Does that mean it’s carte blanche week? Any vignette of 50 words? And me without my freerange oyster license this year. Hmmm.

  8. Here we go. 50 on the nose.

    Kieron was the 15th generation of illegitimately conceived descendants of James the 1st, a considerable tragedy as Kieron was more noble of character than the entire royal family combined. Of course by 2020, at least half of America was somehow related to royalty; even if only to a Cherokee princess.

  9. David sighed. He knew he was in trouble; he only wished he knew why. He’d done a good job hadn’t he?

    His father came into the room. “Why’d you do it, son?”

    “I learned that babies are blank canvases, so-”

    “-you painted van Gogh’s Starry Night on your newborn sister.”

    1. Leaving the lands of twilight was as gradual as entering them. The road, perhaps, seemed more brown and less gray, and so did the bark of the trees, but our resting must have gone with the days we could not see. We rode out into a land where pink and peach were touching the sky, and the light was increasing.

    2. “There’s always a choice.”
      She tossed her head. Her brown hair slapped the waves. “You sang it. You have the choice of letting loose all the dead of all the wrecks of all the centuries, to tear apart the village and then the city and then all the world beside.”

    3. Start count … Now:

      “I wondered, sir, whether wearing that red jacket makes you more a target?”

      “I always wear this coat into battle. That way, if wounded the men will not notice me bleed.”

      “Ah, yes, that makes complete sense. Very similar to the reason I always enter battle wearing my brown trousers.”

      End count … fifty.

      You knew somebody was going to run that old chestnut for a salute.

      1. I do believe that that deserves neither fish nor fruit, only a great big dose of this weeks default prompt.

  10. He stared at the blank screen. Something wasn’t quite right. Was it a dead pixel? Nooooo… He studied the monitor a minute longer, and then opened a paint program and expanded it to cover the entire screen. He clicked on the Fill tool, the selected #000000 as the color. The pure black screen made the problem obvious. He got out a microfiber cloth and a spray bottle, then began to clean the monitor.

  11. “I’m telling you, it won’t engrave.”

    “Did you check the laser?”

    “Of course I did. Ran a complete diagnostic. It should engrave, but won’t. Watch.”

    “Hmm . . . It’s still blank, all right. Let me – ah, you have the wrong settings. This is slate. You’d taken it for granite.”

  12. Her first performance in front of a real audience and that boy who always annoyed her during recess was sitting in the front row with a smirk on his face. Her mind went blank. But she took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I’ll show him, she thought.

  13. Although we knew better, the artillery barrage had been going on for what seemed like forever. They returned a steady fire. We had ceased to pay attention; the sound was numbing. We hunkered down in place and waited for the order to go over the top. Then the unexpected happened:

  14. He stared into the nothingness. “How”, he wondered, “did I get here?” There was no escape. Nothing was happening. There were no landmarks, no gravity, just nothing. He realized he would be there until it all ended. He couldn’t even feel his own existence. Nothing would soon drive him mad.

    My first ever attempt. 50 words.

  15. A crossroad had a crooked little sign with arrows pointing down every one of six paths. Every single one was blank. Halley scowled. She walked closer and wondered if rubbings would bring letter out, but no, the words had been painted on. If they had ever existed. She doubted it.

  16. Tappity tap. Tap, tappity tap. Tap tap. Amanda watched over Fred’s shoulder as he typed a query into the search engine. The screen filled with entries, and he looked them over. “Nope, Nope. Not that one, either. Irrelevant. Does not apply. Not EVEN!
    He scrolled down, again, and again, and again. After a while she ventured to ask “any progress?”. “I got nothing” he said.

  17. He looked back up the slope. No one appeared, up to the height of the cliff. The mermaid had told the truth in that. He looked back at the blank sea, where not even fish or gulls broke the surface. Giving no hint what lay beneath. Whether gold or graves.

  18. Commence countdown: 50 …

    “Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, oh crap! There’s too much!”

    “What are you caterwauling about this time?”

    “We’ve exceeded the critical mass for the core; the containment shields are collapsing and all Reality is being sucked into a single quantum point!”


    “There’s gonna be a really big bang!”

  19. Up here in the mountains, you heard the stories, but they always seemed too wild to believe. Even in the labor camps, the accounts from the capital sounded more like superstition, maybe bolstered by a little judicious illusion.

    But the little scaly freak sitting lotus fashion on the infirmary floor was no trick of the eyes. Real dark magic had twisted his flesh into a bizarre mix of man, cat and lizard.

    He looked up from his task, his slit-pupilled eyes narrowing. “Admiring my charming looks, eh? I’m one of the lucky ones. At least I can be useful to myself and others.”

    He gestured to the prisoner he’d been tending, feeding through a surgical opening in the side. Where the man’s face should have been, there was only a blank.

  20. So… I was kinda surprised that there wasn’t a mention today of Rocket’s Red Glare. Picked it up after a mention on Instapundit, apparently one of the stories is part of a “USAian series” by some author whose name eludes me…

      1. A “brain of cheese”? Vermont Cheddar: sharp and crumbly? Jarlsberg: holey and nutty? Bourzin: soft and squishy?

        Ah does lahk cheesy jokes.

  21. I prefer to play Go sitting in a spaceship’s ancient plastic airlock overlooking our lake. At twilight, the sun-reflecting bands of Hadur’s planetary rings stretch in a triple rainbow shape overhead, ending beyond the horizon with Lake Landing in the pot of gold position. Musing on the view distracts me.

  22. “Charged vacuum?! That can’t exist. Must be something to give charge, electrons, protons, something.”
    “Nothing. But charged just the same.”
    “What is it charged with, Invisible Pink Unicorns?!”
    “Not those.”
    “You sure?”
    “I’ve a detector for those. Herd came through Tuesday, set it off mightily.”
    “Me or you?”

      1. I once (almost.. some human had to do that last several meters, alas) delivered the decontaminating solution for such to Mr. Ringo. I understand the result was a rare instance of Mr. Ringo being rendered, if only for a moment, speechless.

        1. I have it on good authority that The Daughter, at the instigation of Col. Kratman, quiet innocently rendered Mr. Ringo speechless. But that was, of course, at the instigation of Col. Kratman, and therefore should not surprise anyone.

      1. Under the most rigorously controlled conditions
        of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables,
        the invisible pink unicorn will do as it damn well pleases.

  23. “Null return.”

    “Are you sure? There has to be *something*.”

    “I checked it twice. There’s nothing there. No. Thing.”

    :Well I’ll be cornsarned! We can’t get fifty out of nothing.”

    “I guess we’ll have to view it as a challenge and give it our best shot.”

    “Alright, then. Here goes . . .”

  24. The young woman drew herself to what amounted to full height. “I won’t let you suggest I’m not brave or capable!”
    “I’m suggesting neither,” said the huntress. “The wolf had the advantage over you. I shot it. I hope you’d do the same for me. Right now you’re protesting nothing.”

  25. The drums reached a final crescendo, echoing through the ancient halls.
    The rite had been completed! They had failed.
    Jason shot a final cultist, his Mauser punching through multiple combatants. The rest had turned with expectant eyes, waiting for the massive stone statue to reawaken and wreak its vengeance.
    Nothing happened.

  26. He’d been taught nothing. Growing up around the spaceport, he had learned, almost without meaning to, certainly in the service of making a little more money that would allow him to survive a little better.
    He didn’t know who’d cared for him as an infant. He remembered neither mother nor father. His earliest remembrances were of running errands for the merchants and whores around the Eternal Port.
    He didn’t remember learning to read and write, but he knew how he’d learned to spell. After his cryptic and bizarrely spelled notes enlivened the days of those he worked for, he had taken impromptu lessons where he could. “I believe you mean Miss Violet’s mother, not murder,” a fabric seller said. “You mean client not cant,” Madame Gilliant gently corrected.
    They’d spelled the words for him, and he absorbed all, like a sponge.
    *Yeah, it’s more than 50 words. You will most surely deal.

      1. *backs slowly away from where RES is standing, turns and runs at full speed*
        Dude, you are poking the tigress….

        1. Nope, He’s messing with a Female Dragon. Never mess with a Female Dragon. Male Dragons don’t mess with them. 👿

  27. ” Yes, Doctor, she has been like this ever since I woke up last night, when I saw the light flash, and the cold wind blow the curtains in the window “, Max said to the handsome young man, who was looking at Max’s wife laying in the bed with a blank stare on her face, as if someone had taken the mind from her brain, and in it’s place exchanged it for that of a robot, just waiting for the next order before she did anything.

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