Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Two Weeks Promo by Freerange Oyster

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:fix

Two Weeks Promo by Freerange Oyster*

*don’t blame the mollusc.  We’re having some work done on the house, so he sent the promo two minutes after I’d put up the vignettes, but I was helping/suggesting/moving things and didn’t get to see it till late that night.

Amanda S. Green

Nocturnal Rebellion

Nocturnal Lives Book 5

All she wanted was a simple murder case, one uncomplicated by shapeshifters or interfering IAB investigators. What she got instead was much, much more.

Now three cops are dead and Mac’s world will never be the same again. It is up to her to find the culprits and bring them to justice. But what justice? That of cops and attorneys and criminal courts or that of the shapeshifters where there would be no record and a quick execution of punishment, whatever that might be?

As she walks that fine line, Mac walks another tightrope as well. Shapeshifter politics are new to her and, as she has learned, more complicated than anything she ever encountered as a cop. One misstep can lead to not only her death but the deaths of those she cares for. Like it or not, she has no choice because she has learned there are other things just as inevitable as death and taxes. Sooner or later, the world will learn that shapeshifters aren’t just things of legend and bad Hollywood movies. If that happens before they are ready, Mac and those like her will learn the hard way what happens when humanity learns monsters are real and living next door.

John Van Stry

Future Tense

Days of Future Past – Part 3

Since being brought forward in time to the post apocalyptic wastelands of what was once his home, life has been pretty hard on Paul. Though it has had two good points, namely Sarah and Heather. But now Coyote wants him to take care of the task that he was brought here to deal with in the first place: Aybem.

While it has always been clear that destroying Aybem is supposed to be Riggs’ job, Coyote remains unconvinced that Riggs can do it without Paul’s help. After seeing just what Riggs is capable of doing, Paul isn’t as convinced that he needs to be there, but he also knows he’s not going to get any choice in the matter.

And of course, just what does happen to you once Coyote no longer needs your help?

This is the last book in the Days of the Future Past trilogy, a story of a young man brought forward in time because he came to the attention of Coyote, who thought that the gods’ chosen hero just might need some help.

Cedar Sanderson

Snow in Her Eyes

Detective Amaya Lombard is a witch hunter and a damn good one. Hated by the magical because she works with cops, feared by cops because she works with magic, she walks a fine line between malice and murder. When an entire family dies in magic and blood, only Amaya can find the truth that lies behind the seemingly senseless mayhem… because even the dead deserve answers.

Pixie Noir

Pixie for Hire Book 1

You can’t keep a tough Pixie down…

Lom is a bounty hunter, paid to bring magical creatures of all descriptions back Underhill, to prevent war with humans should they discover the strangers amongst them. Bella is about to find out she’s a real life fairy princess, but all she wants to do is live peacefully in Alaska, where the biggest problems are hungry grizzly bears. He has to bring her in. It’s nothing personal, it’s his job…

C.J. Carella

Havoc of War

Warp Marine Corps Book 5

THE FINAL BATTLE IS AT HAND

A renegade American fleet has launched a genocidal counterattack against the Galactic Imperium. Empowered by entities from warp space, the Black Ships are about to unleash unspeakable evils on the entire galaxy. Only the US Navy has any hope to stop them, but first it must contend with alien armadas still intent on wiping out humanity.

At the forefront of battle, the Warp Marine Corps faces impossible odds. Armed with new weapons and wielding ancient technologies, Captain Peter Fromm and Colonel Lisbeth Zhang will fight not only for the lives of all humans in the universe, but their souls as well.

Havoc of War concludes the story that began with the Amazon best-selling novel Decisively Engaged.

On sale until August 14th

Decisively Engaged

Warp Marine Corps Book 1

They picked a fight with the wrong species.

A NATION AT WAR: The United Stars of America. Born in the conflagration of unprovoked alien attack, the newest entrant to galactic politics took the few crumbs of hypertech gifted to it and ran with them, soon expanding over dozens of star systems and establishing a wide trade network, protected by its powerful Navy and the dreaded Warp Marines.

A FIGHT TO THE DEATH: A single Marine platoon, tasked with protecting an embassy on a hostile alien planet. An embassy – and the human enclave around it – that soon finds itself surrounded by armed mobs. Can the Marines and a ragtag band of civilian and Navy personnel survive long enough to be rescued?

On sale until August 14th

Alma Boykin

Familiar Tales

Fear the Hamster! (No, seriously, that little guy’s spells pack quite a wallop.)

Five urban fantasy short stories about magic workers, their Familiars, and life in a world where magic may be mundane but it’s never dull. Humor, adventure, pathos, tax deductions, and a wolverine with serious white-coat-itis. And bad breath.

Laura Montgomery

Far Flung

In the very near future a seastead offers consumers a choice in governing systems. Navy Capt. Adam Tenney’s daughter takes that offer, but what can he do for her when pirates threaten the seastead, the U.S. refuses to recognize it, and he is trapped in a desk job on land?

67 responses to “Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike & Two Weeks Promo by Freerange Oyster

  1. The clunk and rattle startled Cecil out of his reverie. He quickly glanced at the gauges and sight glass of his steam wagon. As he coasted to a stop he eased the pressure off the boiler. Setting the break he climbed down to see what he had to fix.

  2. Fifty doesn’t help the timing of it, but the law’s the law and that’s the speed limit:

    The fat man glared at his thin companion, then at the “No loitering” sign, then at the “Wet Paint” sign labeling the bench underneath them. Finally at the bench itself, dry paint holding them attached. Returning the glare to his seatmate, he declared, “Another fine fix you’ve gotten us into.”

  3. Knowing nothing he could do now would fix his plight, Michel walked steadily and without fuss, and perhaps quicker than his captors had expected, because when he came up the narrow stairs, with walls of plain gray stone, set with windows and scones for the torches, a band of guards hesitated ahead.

  4. It turned out that someone had heaped crates before the doorway, but that was easy to fix with the men working in concert, and not having to move them far. Within the tunnel was filled with dust and spiderwebs. A maid shrieked, and Jill threatened to set her to dust every inch

  5. For a moment, she envisioned a library filled with all the works in the world, obtained by sprites and goblins. She would be fixed for the longest life she could imagine.
    Assuming, of course, that whoever caught her with that labyrinth did not come after her. She sighed.

  6. The star is fixed.
    No star is truly fixed. They all move.
    Not that fix,
    So, no little stars?
    Different fix.
    Alright, what’s fixed to?
    Nothing.
    But you said-
    That the star is fixed, yes.
    Do you mean…?
    Advanced celestial mechanics.
    Someone repaired a star?!
    It used to vary wildly.

  7. The greyhound track. That odd little beast he’d found out in the woods looked good down there.
    The bell. The Hound took off, and right away was ahead of the rest. Way too far ahead. Then those odd gray eyes glowed as it caught the mechanical rabbit and tore it to shreds. He tossed his stubs and snuck out the back.

  8. “I need a fix!”, Bill said, bursting through the door.
    The chart cubby’s occupant looked up. “Do I look like a drug dealer?”, he asked.
    “No, not that! What’s our position? There are gorgeous mermaids all around us and I want to be able to find this spot again!”

  9. Carl barely gave the shapely woman three glances. “Name?”

    “Anita.”

    “Last name?”

    “Fix.”

    He glared at her. “I swear, if-”

    She handed him her driver’s license.

    Carl read it and handed it back. Well.

    “Occupation?”

    “Drug abuse counseling.”

    He set down his pen. Yes, it was one of those days.

  10. “Ah there you are!”

    “I exist to serve you Your Majesty. What do you want me to fix?”

    “My half-brother is producing too many bastards. He only wants Virgins, the Virgins stand in line to be had by him and every one of them get pregnant”.

    “You mean?”

    “Yes, can you fix the Minotaur?”

    [No insult intended toward the Ox.] 😉

    • “Only virgins.” is such a..limiting.. requirement. Learning happens through practice… or perhaps that was why this particular fellow had such a leaning – he didn’t learn and… perhaps I best cease speculating. Though that standing in line thing does create curiosity.

    • Dorothy Grant

      “Sir, have you considered cutting of the supply of virgins?” The general poured a fresh splash of wine in his skull goblet, and pretended to ignore the gasps of outrage from the courtiers.

      The king turned, and ran his hands through disordered hair. “I’m trying! They’re hard enough to find as is!”

      “That’s what I mean, sir. If you’d switch to a less refined source for powering your spells, then they wouldn’t all be running into the labyrinth to get deflowered.” He drank slowly, standing like a rock in the fashionable storm. “And that’d fix the problem with your half-brother, too.” Having offered the suggestion, he went to drink again, and found the goblet empty. Almost like an afterthought, the General held the cup upside down for three small shakes. At the exits, the guards had tensed up, gripping their ceremonial spears more tightly, watching with glittering eyes.

      “You don’t understand, man! Once you’ve made deals with dark forces, you can’t alter them! They’re always looking for a weak spot in the binding strictures, a way to get out of the compact, scratching and clawing and rending at mind! Aiieee!” As the king frothed, the general calmly unsheathed his dagger and stuck it into the royal kidneys, then cut his throat before he could shout a spell.

      The courtiers screamed and whirled to run – but the spears were there to meat them, and short sword and axe behind. When the last of the court had been dispatched, the general gave the signal to unbar the windows, and let sunlight in to turn oily tentacles and desiccated flesh to smoke and ashes. “Someone go get King Minos. And whatever virgin you catch him with, that’s the new queen.”

      “So, we’ll be ruled by a beast.” His second in command was doubtful.

      “Beast in body, beast in soul… I’ll take the boy over that.” He pointed at a heap of greasy ashes and smoldering flame. “Good always wins in the end, and I aim to be on the winning side.” The general smiled, and noted who didn’t smile back.

      “But he learned that one-God religion from the other prisoners! We’ll have to be baptized!” Ah, Hyros could always be counted on to whine.

      “If you don’t stop whining, I’ll hold you under until the bubbles stop coming up.” He only half-meant it; the man was loyal. But his comrades started laughing, and slapping him on the back.

      “We’ll bribe their priest to make sure there’s soap in the baptism pool!”

      • Enjoyed this gem. It definitely is the first chapter of a book– or the beginning of a short story.

        • Dorothy Grant

          Huh, and here I thought it was just a little riff off Drak. You’re telling me there’s more?

            • Dorothy Grant

              Let me give you a bright sunny smile, while gesturing to the door wherein the muse resides. The locked, barred, insulated, dogged, hatched, chained, welded door. “Nope, can’t hear anything else from the muse. So I guess there’s not!”

              …the door vibrates gently, as though something massive just kicked it. And aprt may be dissolving gently into a puddle, with wisps of something that’s not steam rising…

              • Dorothy, whatever snuck in through the door with that inspired riff, please let it back in, if only for a short story. Of course, I would far prefer the novel, or series version. Shades of the Hogfather, I like it.
                JPDev

              • It will break through soon. *grin

      • “but the spears were there to meat them”

        While expressive, methinks you meant to meet them.

        • I’ll beg your pardon, and offer the excuse that ’twas typed upon a mandatory morning shift (I’m a swing shift person, but morning shifts happen), without sufficient tea. I managed to deal with the customers correctly, but there aren’t many brain cycles to spare…

  11. My neighbors the Ficks are in a fix with foxes in the holes in their yard. The Ficks’ yard, not the foxes’. The holes are the foxes’ in the Ficks’ yard. There are fifty of them, but not fifty words. Well, there were forty words, but NOW there are fifty.

    • Is the fix in for Fred Farkel or Ferd Berfel as their common neighbors the Ficks fight frolicking foxes? Will the flying fickle finger of fate fly at Ferd, Fred, the Ficks, the foxes or some foreign figure? Will fox phantasms appear and further outfox the Ficks? Or the Farkels?

      • The Minotaur hath me defeated most fairly. most squarely. He Laughs-In at me. I…am amused. Nay, I smile, narrowly, attempting to restrain a grin from my visage. (I must not show my fangs.)

  12. I stared at the small black spot in the middle of my neighbor’s kitchen wall. “What is it?” I asked as it became big enough for a tentacle to slide through.

    “I don’t know,” she said. “I do know that the blueberry muffins I just baked are disappearing at a rapid rate.”

    She looked at the hole then looked at me. I was a scientist-wizard and didn’t look like much. Plus I was short, heavy, and had a hangover.

    “Can you fix it?”

    ***Sorry this is over 50 words… I have a feeling this could be a much bigger story.

    • Egad, the Fickle Finger of Fate is a tentacle?

      • better than a spider leg imho 🙂

      • Fair warning– I am stealing Fickle Finger of Fate 🙂 Great title btw. lol

        • Since I swiped it from Laugh-In (through that one was Flying) it’s only fair. And I do desire to read the story that wraps around that vignette. And what the narrating character had partaken of to excess. Yeah, some curiosity is more… mundane. Though I do prefer to limit dosage and therefore unwanted side effects. Not always successfully, alas. Fwiw, while I might mix and sample a few cocktails over a time, I make a point of there never being more than ONE that uses tequila. And that might be the only one that day. No bad experiences myself, but some of the stories other folks have? Warning taken. Speaking of warnings, the ONLY time I ever got a warning at any liquor store was upon the purchase of (an admittedly lower shelf) tequila: “Do NOT shoot it.” That warning also taken. Prefer sipping drinks, but if there is a shot? Whisk(e)y suffices.

    • run with it!

  13. William O. B'Livion

    Found this on Craiglist. Posting it here because (1) interest and (2) I know some other folks in the area visit here and someone might be REALLY interested.

    https://denver.craigslist.org/bks/d/assorted-science-fiction/6230771569.html

    It’s not mine, and I have neither the patience, the room, or the budget.

    • This reminds me of one of my distant relatives. He is downsizing his library. Lots of signed first editions of things like Stephen King and various SF/F author’s, plus unsigned copies of things too. I wish I had money right now.

  14. As the Archbishop’s private L train sat at the Embassy Row station, waiting to pick up the latest consultant, Ligonier Rafferty glowered at Maroa’s embassy. “How does Gorlath get away with these things? Embassies are supposed to be inviolate, but when he astroturfs up mobs to sack them, one nation after another swallows his flimsy excuses. There are severe penalties for harming even a single bishop, but when he attacks the entire Maroan episcopacy, only the mildest admonitions from SegStato and the Holy Father.”

    He shrugged, shook his head. “We do know one thing: the fix is in.”

  15. The Board was discussing how to assign the prize money. One fellow suggested that it should go to the person who showed up at the most company events. That’s when we knew the fix was in. The proposer was always at company events. The scoundrel wanted the money for himself!

  16. BobtheRegisterredFool

    “If we had already hired you as Comms Director, how would you have responded to Charlottesville?”
    “Donald Trump’s response confirms my initial suspicion that he is too much of a Liberal Democrat to be an ideal President. Reaching out to Obama voters was necessary to win, but nominating one? He was successful in part due to not being a traditional Republican candidate, but there were always legitimate concerns about who he would tolerate, embolden, and bring into the party. The Alt-Right has too much of the Left, and of the dirty foreign European Right in it. Barack Obama’s practice of white supremacism was harmful to the United States, and it is hard to imagine how any practice of white supremacism could be beneficial to the United States. I condemn this political violence. The groups that do this are filled with drug abusers, and hence are impossible for me to have much sympathy for.”
    “We will contact you if you are selected for the position.”

  17. There’s only one place I want to be – out on the water.
    “Come on, Becky. Let’s go. Let’s go. Mama won’t let me go out in the boat by myself.”
    “Ok, ok. I’m coming.”
    Thirty minutes later the motor conks out. Becky pulls it up and takes a look.
    “Aha! It’s the shear pin.”
    She quickly removes a bobby pin from her hair, deftly pushes it into place, and we are on our way.
    Back at the cabin I rush up the beach, full of admiration for my big sister.
    “Mama! Mama! Becky fixed the motor with her bobby pin!”

  18. “Hey! Where’re y’all going?” John asked.
    “We’re fixin’ to go to the movies.” Lisa said.
    “Which one? Can I come?” he asked.
    “We’re leaving as soon as we get our hair fixed.”
    “How come Ashley gets to go with you and not me?” John pouted.
    “Because your ten!” Lisa rolled her eyes. “Besides, Mama’s fixin’ to fix to good fixin’s for dinner just for you.”

  19. The mob tried to arrange the race. We’ve determined not to quit. All that left is to fasten hood for the car is repaired. Next get a set on our bearings. If we keep our eyes on the finish line and win, it won’t matter the predicament we’ve been in.

  20. “Black six this is Blue one, over.”
    “Blue one, this is black seven, where the hell have you been, over,” the first sergeant replied, radio protocol be damned.
    “My comms lost fill. We’re back up now, over.”
    “Send your current fix, over.”
    “Sierra Tango one tree tree six four seven, over.”
    Top immediately switched radios. Before he could key the mike to cancel the fire request, the speaker came alive,
    “Shot, over.”

  21. Listen very carefully, I shall say this 0nly once.

    A Message to the Children of the Revolution: Grow Up!
    By Sarah Hoyt
    Yes, I am about to spank the Marxist toddlers, in front of God and everyone. And you can stop telling me it’s child abuse, because legally most of these whining, screaming, breath-holding, fit-throwing brats are adults. Some are retirement age.

    My various social media today is full of people telling me White Supremacy is alive and well. They range from the crazies that, in former days, would have been wearing a sandwich board, to respected publications like the Federalist. This last one is particularly galling because they think they’re being fair minded by calling kids who object to being lectured on privilege and adults who say that whites are actively discriminated against in jobs and education (they are, it’s the law) “white supremacists.” As though not wanting to be abused or berated for a group you nominally belong to by virtue of birth is some sort of affirmation that you’re superior. (This correlates with my idea that all SJWs are white supremacists. They believe white males are so naturally superior, that unless continually berated they will become “superior.” )

    And then there is this unique piece of idiocy which makes me want to sit them down and explain statistics, population distribution, and oh, yeah, correlation is not causation.

    [END EXCERPT]

  22. Mike and Tom had been on the road for a long day. As they approached the next small town, a billboard loomed out of the darkness.

    “Tom, we’ve found our lodgings for the night.”

    “Whaddaya mean, Mike?”

    “Who wouldn’t want to stay at a place named ‘The Fix is Inn”?”

  23. Fix! Something else to fix, groused Mst Sgt McAlister as he crawled out of his rack. He was reminded of the old 20th century saying: There’s always time to do over what there wasn’t time to do right the first time.

  24. Good books there, I’ve already read some, but I need new material, so will be getting the rest, thanks!

  25. Old RPM Daddy

    “Here she is! She’s all better now, isn’t she?” The young woman presented the mended doll to the little girl.

    The child gazed up with grateful eyes. A little string and scrap wood were all it took, but the young woman’s reputation spread quickly among the children in the village.

  26. Professor Badness

    Fixed in place, her eyes tracked the shadow. No obstruction stood between the light and the wall, yet the shadow stood nonetheless.
    Slight movements betrayed its living nature, the outline of the head moving, as though searching about.
    None else in the room had noticed, and she durst not call attention to herself.
    Maybe it would go away?

  27. ‘Today we learned fix. It can be actions or things. How can such a small word hold so many meanings? How do the humans communicate? Their languages are so confusing.’

    The Martian commander sadly shook his head, ‘Just wait until you get to what the meaning of is is.’