Blog explanation and Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

Blog Theme explanation:

Yesterday I tried a new theme on the blog.  It probably won’t stay, simply because it hides a ton of things, including the other pages and stuff like the donate button and the zazzle store.  So, yeah, no.
I’ll reinstall the former one today while the search continues.
I’d like something that makes it easier to display my books, etc, but this is not it.  Sorry.  OTOH in case you missed it, for about an hour, yesterday, I had carrots as a header.

Sunday 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: aftermath

86 responses to “Blog explanation and Sunday Vignettes by Luke, Mary Catelli and ‘Nother Mike

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Jill: “Aftermath”?

    Jim: “I have science”.

    [Yes, I had to go there. :evil:]

  2. The day after her seventh birthday, Solange stayed up in her tower, where it was quiet. She could not do it on her birthday itself, not when her mother had invited dozens of girls to lavish food, garlands of flowers, entertainment by musicians, and plentiful games, all making a racket.

  3. It would be easier if the dragon had descended, breathing flame and burning all before it. More deaths, no doubt. She still felt surprised that only a score of deaths from the panicked flights. Still, they could be rebuilding the city now.
    She looked ahead. A poster advertised a play in garish red and flame orange on black. Except it was now a dull, drab red and orange, a dingy gray, all three colors hard to tell apart. Her hand went to her hair, wondering if it really would protect it. Then she called herself a fool and hurried on.

  4. “Better if he had been knighted earlier,” said King Jehan. “Then a knight, not a squire, would have fought the ogres.”
    He smiled. Michel thought that, considering he was only a few years older than the king, that Jehan seemed absurdly boyish.
    Then, he had not had to fight ogres.

  5. Well, darn. As a subscriber I get your blog posts in my inbox and didn’t see the theme changes. I rushed here to look, but got only the aftermath.

  6. I’m college prep-heavy this semester. I start out with College composition. Then I have Pre-Calculus. After Math, Physics, which is of course mostly math. Then I head for AP Chemistry; a lot of math yet again. After lunch, American History, then I finish with Electronics. Lots of math there too.

    • OK, the Dragon beat me to it. Two great minds . . . (well, in my case, perhaps, mediocre)

    • Gambatte! I remember my kids going through that wringer a few years ago. But I don’t remember it being so hard in my day, back in the early 1980s.

      • That was pretty typical of my high school course load in the late ’70s, but then I was fairly atypical. 🙂 Plus the after-school geekiness of hanging out in the Library (whether or not on detention) and or computer or photo lab.

        • I don’t think our high school even offered AP stuff…

          • I graduated high school in 1979. My [very good public] high school could not have been the only high school at that time in the Buffalo, NY area to offer AP courses, but I couldn’t name another that did. Now every school with ambition, public or private, offers a variety of AP courses in the basic sciences, calculus, English, history, and foreign languages.

  7. The aftermath of after math is algebra, then calculus, then physics, with vectors and all that. Then the janitor comes in and sweeps up and finishes with mopping the floor.

  8. “So the fire started at a drug lab and burned all this?”
    “Yeah. Those losers were too stupid to prepare for a runaway exothermal reaction, when even the local high school science classes use just that case as their example of exothermic reactions.”
    “How many homes burned?”
    “Twenty three. Including the Mayor’s. And the chairman of the chamber of commerce’s house. And that of the suspected local crime boss.”
    “And this was the meth lab loser’s car?”
    “Well, I’d say that these four bodies trussed up in the backseat of this car and parked here in the path of the burn are definitely an unfortunate and grisly aftermeth.”

  9. Smoke and dust hung over the rubble, drifting in an eerie stillness. The bones of buildings lay exposed, fractured and rent by forces far beyond their design limits. In the streets, the only constant was chaos, vehicles and bodies alike strewn carelessly from a giant hand. “This is the aftermath of war. Sometimes, it cannot be avoided.”

  10. Christopher M. Chupik

    It was only in the aftermath, while contemplating the glass crater where his neighborhood used to be, that Bob realized that an antimatter-powered BBQ might have been a mistake.

  11. Doc bounded up to Wyatt, his whiskers twitching and looked at the mess the marshal’s 4mm Vaquero rail gun made.

    “Another Squid?” the otter-esque alien asked his human friend. Wyatt merely nodded.

    “The Lovecraftheads certainly have it in for you.” Doc observed with the other nickname for the Squids, which they didn’t like any better.

    “Yep,” Wyatt replied as he pulled back the lapel on his long coat displaying his badge. It displayed a large hologram of his marshal’s credentials in multiple wavelengths for the benefit of the crowd. It sure made the aftermath of these gunfights easier. Except for the poor sophonts on the clean up crew.

  12. The aftermath of a successful fight against the Darkness is, from personal experience, only slightly more bearable than the aftermath of a failed fight against the Darkness. Sayuri is going around and using her magic to help the survivors, as I’m combing the battlefield looking for the enemy wounded.

    Every time I find an intact corpse of something the Darkness had drawn in, I use Whisper to break their cores, shattering the core and releasing the prana they used to manifest their forms. As the bodies dissolve into ask-flaking goo, I continue my search, moving as swiftly as careful thoroughness allows. We have minutes at most before the Special Operating Group:Manticore come with gunships and machine guns ready, and they regard us the same way as the Darkness-as targets to be destroyed.

    Considering the history of the last ten thousand years after the Empire’s fall, I can’t blame them for this attitude in the slightest. And if I wasn’t inside this war, I would be in full agreement with them-shoot first and vivisect the corpses.

    The necromancer that had been controlling them had managed to drag himself a few feet away and has himself propped up against a wall, trying to staunch his bleeding with dark prana. I can see that he had been using dark prana to control his age, his skin looking too perfect and too plastic now that he has to use his magic to keep himself from bleeding to death. He looks up from his efforts and hisses at me, blood mixed with the spittle, “You bitch, you know that we’ll defeat you one day.”

    I tilt my head curiously, knowing he can’t see my expression behind my mask. At some point, I know I should be angry-but, really, all I am is a combination of disgusted and bored. The reason is the same-monsters like him that seem to think that they can do whatever they want and never have to pay the consequences. And leave disasters for other people to clean up, like Sayuri and I.

    “Maybe,” I reply. “But, you won’t be there when it happens.”

    And I drive Whisper right through his throat. The blade punches through the skin and bone and the brick wall behind him neatly, nearly decapitating him. A firm twist to break the suction, and I pull Whisper out, blood spewing from his neck. I wait for a moment to see if there is some surprise about to happen, and I flick Whisper into cleaning mode, the blade heating up so fast and so sharply that the blood falls off without a single muss or fuss.

  13. Goooooood one!

  14. it hides a ton of things, including the other pages and stuff like the donate button and the zazzle store.

    The Do-effing-nate button is hidden??!!!!! Change it back, Change It Back, Change it back!

  15. “Father?” said the youth.

    “Yeth, my thon?” replied Father McGhoulie.

    “I have a question, a question which I absolutely must have answered!”

    “What thort of quethtion?” asked the priest.

    “A question about Life, the Universe and Everything, Father! Also, about True Love.”

    “Not now, my thon. Thpeak to me after math.”

    • Father McGhoulie opened the conversation, “About your quethtion?”
      “Yes, Father?”
      “The anthwer to Life, the Univerthe and Everything, ith XXXXII!
      “Huh? That makes no sense.”
      “And True Love.” The priest continued, as he poured a double from a Highland Park bottle proudly displaying the name with Roman numerals under it.

      [You can find 40 year old Scotch. It would have to be a very special run to find one specifically aged 42 years.]

  16. OY!!!!!!

  17. Changes had been instituted.  Reactions then poured in, and many of them were quite vociferous in their expressions of distress.  Things would never be the same.  Someone even suggested that it might be Armageddon.  Time moved on and in the aftermath the markets continued to rise.  The nay-sayers continued to complain. 

  18. Though I don’t write vignettes, I do enjoy the concept because I like to try and guess what vignette of the day is with out looking at word. Today I did not guess what word was, Mary, I am looking at you for today’s failure.

  19. Narcissa hovered just beyond Christine’s nose. “What did you think would happen? Princes are betrothed. Your marriage broke a treaty. It’s war – unless he dies. As will you.”

    “I didn’t wish that.”

    “You wished for the prince. What did you think would happen?” Cackling, the fairy vanished into the woods.

  20. The aftermath of reading these is that I feel creatively inadequate. 🙂

  21. Mother asks college-bound OCD daughter, “What classes did you sign up for, dear?”

    “In alphabetical order, I signed up for Art, Biology, Chemistry, Drawing, English, French, Geology, History, Interior Design, Jewelry Techniques, Kumihimo, Latin, and Math.”

    “Is that all?”

    “Not quite, Mother, but I can’t remember what comes after Math.”

    (50 words – yay!)

  22. Carpenter Joe pointed at the not-yet-complete roof, “Use Pythagorean’s theory to calculate the rafter length based on a particular rise and run, using two right angle triangles.”

    “What about the pitch?” asked Haysoos.

    “I would leave rafter math out of the pitch. Just tell ’em what it’ll cost in leptons.”

    • Yes, Pythagoras (which I had to look up to spell his name right) lived 500 years earlier.

      Fun fact: A lepton (really should be lepta, not leptons, oops!), AKA the Widow’s Mite coin, or the smallest denomination coin at any given time, at one point had the Messianic Star as part of it’s design.

      Merry Christmas. 🙂

  23. Doris screamed at her husband. “That daughter of yours is telling lies again. She needs a good belting. Take her to the basement.”

    Jacob lifted their sweet daughter into his arms and whispered, “I’ll never hurt you – not today, not ever.”

    That night, he disappeared.

    His wife blamed their daughter.

  24. Never get between a collaboration of a chemist and a wizard. You wouldn’t like the aftermath. Or maybe you would…

  25. “Ain’t no fair bringing a Companion to a bar fight,” mumbled the hooligan.

    Nigel Slim-Howland smiled at his cell mate. “I didn’t bring him to a bar fight,” he said, eyeing his butler Jenkins, who was in sleep mode next to the guard desk. “I brought him to a bar.”

    • “Don’t you ‘Agnes darling’ me!” hissed Nigel Slim-Howland’s sister. “Jenkins is designed to protect you, but now I have to post your bail!”

      “And we’re eternally grateful,” said her brother. “Now be a dear and bail my friend out as well. We’ve had a wonderful evening together!”

      The hooligan grinned.

  26. Not even trying to compress to 50 this time around. You’ll see:

    She was sure things would never get so bad that she would use The Last Resort. It was named that for secrecy – nobody on the mission knew what it really was, only that use was best to be avoided, unless… and now was very unless. Everyone on the mission figured it would be suicide to use it. It was ti-

    There was a FLASH, brighter than the sun. For an instant she wondered if gamma rays, neutrons, or IR would kill her – and then wondered that she could still even have that thought. After a seeming splitsecond eternity the world snapped back into place, almost. She was on her back, staring at the sky and… the air cover was now… dragons? Hoofbeats. She turned.. “Richard?” “Ann, you ok?” “Yes… but you’re..” “A centaur, it seems. Whatever The Last Resort was, it worked, but the effects… dragons in the sky, centaur cavalry. Other transformations. I think the only human around here, now, is you.”

    “The enemy?” she asked. “Just plain gone.” came the reply. Assorted impossible creatures assembled around her. “Mission isn’t over. We have to finish the job that they were trying to keep us from. Even if things are going to be.. not what we were used to. Wait.. I was closest to It… how was I not transformed to.. something.. as well?”

    “Not sure. Maybe the operator is left unaffected? Nice of Command to tell us these things.”

    “Everyone seems oddly calm considering…”

    “What would panic accomplish? It was jarring. Still is. Not sure how I know how to move with all these limbs, but it works as long as I don’t think about it. Oh, yeah, Braggart Bill is Not Happy.”

    “Why not? What did he-”

    An man-sized chicken appeared, muttering and clucking with indignation.

    “Bill, everyone here volunteered, including you. They don’t ask for volunteers for milk runs.”

    “What the *CLUCK*!?”

    Ann couldn’t help herself, he was now a giant chicken after all, “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it!”

    • “You knew the job was dangerous when you took it!” I’ll bet nearly every missile crew says that every time they enter the launch control center. I know they think it to themselves when they get a performance evaluation.

    • It just struck me (Ow!) that should The Last Resort (whatever it is/was) effects be temporary, upon reverting to human, the parties involved would be dealing with their aftermyth[1]. And, no, I did not set out to do that or have that in mind when I started. Either things Just Happen To Work Out, or Dear Subconscious has been at things.

      [1] If there is no aftermyth in this sense, some folks are going to have a rough time of either “disappearing” or explaining things to family, friends, neighbors, and such.

      • Where on earth does a 6 foot tall chicken disappear to?

        • That might be the easy one. Centaurs, dragons, and who knows what all else would need to go somewhere too. And being this seems to be some sort of military operation, “hiding in plain sight” in Hollywood is unworkable.

        • First, you appear to the local homeless nutcase and encourage him to babble about a 6 foot tall chicken. Then, anywhere you like. No one’s going to admit to seeing tyou.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            Then there was the ten-foot tall dragon who walked down the street in this town as if he belonged there.

            If anybody asked if he was a dragon, he’d just looked at the human and politely suggested the human get his eyes checked. 😉

            • A Book Dragon by Donn Kushner

              All right, the dragon was smaller. And no one would speak to him because of the senile old monk who noticed him first. But that was the principle.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Looks like an interesting story.

                However, I’ll have to wait until next year before trying to find a copy. 😉

    • He’s a chicken, I tell you! A giant chicken!

  27. “We could go home, now, you know.” Red was curled up tight around her, his body and tail providing a warm, dry nest of scales even as he canted a wing overhead to provide shelter from the gentle rain.

    “We could.” Katerina agreed, and smiled as he rolled his head to guide her gentle scratching to the perfect spot. “Do you want to, though? Be greeted by your mother and all your sisters, and face the censure of your father?”

    His snort was enough to rustle the heaviest battle leather, much less her rather ragged work clothes. “I can’t think of anything I’d want to do less.” They sat a while, watching the misty grey patter down on burnt ground and green growth alike. “They’re likely to come looking for us, you know.”

    “Yes, we’re both curious species. Else we’d not have found this or any other world.” She was silent a moment, then took a deep breath. “But there are other worlds.”

    He smiled, revealing rows of fangs that had never seemed less threatening to her. “We could go exploring. Find a world all our own.”

    “They’re likely to be inhospitable. Deserts too sere for even your scaly hide, endless oceans to drown in…” She frowned, but her heart wasn’t in it.

    “Beauty unforetold, wonders uninamingable…” His grin was getting bigger. “Let’s go have some fun!”

    She couldn’t help but smile. “You’ll be the death of me, yet, love.”

    “No, no. you’re saying it wrong. It’s ’til death do us part!’ But until then, we’re going to live happily ever after!”

    She gave up trying to correct him, and succumbed to laughter. “As you wish.”

  28. Awwwwww, so SWEET.

  29. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Re: Websites. baen dot com seems to be down. Who is Magneto?

    • Magento, not Magneto. Thought the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants was attacking. Turns out it’s just a reddish-purple web hosting service on the fritz.

  30. I looked around the room. Body parts were strewn everywhere, making it impossible to tell how many people there’d been, or which parts belonged to whom. Fortunately there was very little blood; the burnt flesh and hair smell, mixed with melted plastics, was the characteristic aftermath of a burner fight.

  31. I love the vignettes. 🙂
    Thank you, all.

  32. I looked at my new clients, wafting around the desk outline. They had that frayed look that some tended to get when they couldn’t handle a bunch of solids. I sighed deeply.
    “Are you two sure that you can handle the aftermath of my work?” They moaned mournfully in agreement. “Fine, you know the fee. Half up front, and half when they are gone.”

  33. > new theme

    Please, no. Nonononono.

  34. I’ve the aftermath begun, but yet no time to finish it! Drats and bebother. Perhaps the weekend, time will tell. *Two* aftermaths, two action scenes, two different genres, both in the in-between stage that isn’t nothing nor is it something yet. Grr.

  35. Donald looked at the scaly remnants of the huge venomous snake, scattered around his workshop, the result of a summoning gone wrong.
    “Alberic, what did you invoke?”
    “Thir, the Mafther Athp of Ceti Fife ith quite formidable.”
    “I had not finished my question. I asked ‘What would be the aftermath of-’”
    Another huge snake appeared, and this time Donald subdued it with a charm.
    “Damn cut rate demon,” he growled. A lisping demon that mixed up it’s words was not the bargain he’d initially thought.
    The demon read his master’s mind, and grinned. Plan “Home_By_Solstice was working perfectly. If he survived.

  36. He shook his head.

    This is what they pay for?

    The story’s plot, theme, and characters were grey goo. The violet plastic nemesis was its most beautiful feature. The protagonist was a passive cypher.

    He knew he would submit stories. Publication is great marketing, but he couldn’t ape the style.

  37. Coming in late, thanks to a very busy convention and exhausting drive back home, but I’ve had this in my mind ever since I saw the prompt and I want it out:

    “Your assignment is to discuss the chain of events immediately following Gorlath’s seizure of power.” The instructor gave the class a sharp look. “And I do mean discuss, not merely regurgitate pages 422 through 430 of your textbook. I will expect your completed papers on my desk Monday morning.”

    Suniko’s stomach knotted as she considered where to even begin her essay. Uni High was so different from what she had been used to, and sometimes it left her feeling lost and afraid.

    She looked down at her hands, at the delicate claws digging into the fabric of her pencil case, and realized the obvious tack to take. Her own grandparents had fallen afoul of Gorlath’s wrath in those first uneasy days, and her own generation was still working out the consequences. Before those dark-magic transformations, humanity had been a united species. But many of the Changed were no longer fertile with baseline humans, or with other types of Changed.

    Now she just had the problem of handling it without becoming too personal. Even among the Changed, the position of the kappa could be a political hot button.