And The Bike Went Nowhere
It was fifteen past six in the morning when Father James knocked at his door. Tyler knew it was him because he was in the habit of looking through the peephole of his door before opening, and Father James was the only priest Tyler knew who would ride a purple bicycle. “Good morning Mr. Chen,” said Father James. He offered a wide smile and pushed his thick-rimmed glasses up his nose.
Reading time: 14 minutes 59 seconds
It was a slip of a gun. I’d have missed it if the kid didn’t look so shifty to begin with, and if he didn’t walk with a limp. But he did, and the barrel glinted silver from his hip as he moved into the room. He favored his left leg. His coat, which seemed a little too large and a little too grey on his scrawny frame, parted a little too much – that’s what gave the blaster away.
Reading time: 13 minutes 19 seconds
Pop Go The Bubbles to the Rhythm of Revenge
The rusalki we are called. Not because we are unclean spirits, but because we are cleansing spirits, and to mankind that is worse. My water is Volga, which is the river nearest my village. Volga runs from east to west, as the sun does, and so too do I during the course of the day. My sisters tell me that in the summer we leave the Volga and go into the forests to taste warmth.
Reading time: 2 minutes 16 seconds
Princess Vasilisa and the Golden Chicken
In a distant kingdom, in a distant land, there lived a princess. Though she was old enough now to try her own luck with the ways of the world, her father, the king, kept her in a tower. She had been there from a young age. “A princess as beautiful as you, Vasilisa, ought to be protected,” he would say to her. She was a good daughter and obeyed. It was no trouble at all because in her youth she preferred the company of books — and the tower was full of books!
Reading time: 12 minutes 2 seconds
The Silver Bullet
Silver were the flashes of light that streaked through the sky the night the beast-slayer came knocking at the inn. The doors creaked as he stepped into the tavern, an eerie sort of creak, as if the walls themselves, fashioned from ancient oak woods — long dead — flickered with life but for a moment. A single protest. A groan in the wind. Rain drizzled still, slivering down the panes of glass that let darkness into the inn.
Reading time: 5 minutes 48 seconds
A/N: This was my first ever short story. I hope you do not cringe at it as badly as I do. It was generally agreed upon, through an indisputable vote of all confidence, that Mondays were a terrible invention. Perhaps not for a billionaire philanthropist, or the CEO of an international corporation, but almost certainly for the incontestably average Mr. Smith. Because of the inherent apathetic nature of the office, his first name was irrelevant.
Reading time: 33 minutes 32 seconds
The recipe is hundreds of years old. He knows it by heart. Not the ingredients, of course, but the aroma. He knows the shimmer on the surface of the soup as light plays at it, the steam that rises from its depths as the winds try their hardest to have a taste, he knows these things as well as he knows the fields and flowers of his village, the crannies and nooks of his home, the depths and shallows of his soul.
Reading time: 5 minutes 33 seconds
The Stone of K-27
A/N: The following story is an experiment in conveying character voice and personality only through dialogue — no tags of any sort. I feel like it was a successful experiment, but in writing it I stumbled upon the upper limitation of the method where writing is concerned: plot progression. There was no to introduce other characters without denoting some sort of action. Still, it was fun! “Have you logged it?”
Reading time: 3 minutes 7 seconds