Crawlspace worlds

©2019-2022 michael raven

Morgan stared through the cubby door opening after Mark stood aside.

“Tell me, mate… Why is it that everyone but me seems to have a real kif bedroom, while I seem to be doomed for as mundane of one as the universe can muster on my behalf?”

Beyond the threshold, there were pine trees and underbrush, the will-o-wisp of flurries dancing between forest branches. Morgan could see a lamppost casting a circle of light in a clearing a bit down a narrow path leading away from the door, a beacon against the night within. Cold air washed into Mark’s room, giving relief from the hot, humid Minnesota summer.

“Dunno. Your luck must be real horsepoo,” Mark said, shrugging. “But we’re friends now, ain’t we?”

Morgan nodded.

“Well, then, almost as good as having a door like this of your own. Say — why don’t we go see if Queen Jadis has any good treats on hand, yeah? She’s a little stern, but her treats are to die for.”

Without waiting for a reply, Mark stepped into the forest inside the cubby and Morgan followed close behind.


More flash fiction from 2019, modified a bit more than usual. “Kif” was the prompt via OED. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that every time I opened the crawlspace cubby door in my room if I didn’t hope, beyond hope, that I’d see a street lamp in the middle of a forest beyond. My parents didn’t think I needed a wardrobe.

Troubles with stronk

©2019-2022 michael raven

“This day is so full of stronk!”

Lee kicked the cage full of tribbles threatening to explode in the cargo bay.

“Full of what?!?!?” Ted asked

“Stronk.”

Ted was skeptical. “Is stronk even a word?”

Lee forgot about his troubles with tribbles for a moment, for he reveled in those moment in which he could show off his superior grasp of vocabulary whenever an opportunity presented itself.

“Of course. I get daily words waved to my cabin every morning. Y’know, those waves where you increase your language skills… That was the word of the day yesterday.”

Ted remained unconvinced.

“I don’t think you’re using it right, if it’s even a real word.”

“Dude, while you are tossing off to girly mags in your bunk, I am bettering myself. If you doubt me, go ask Lucas. Otherwise shut the hell up and help me deal w–“

Lee never finished his sentence. The crate exploded and filled the room with love and pink fur.


Another in the series of flash fictions I wrote on a different site in 2019, some modifications, all minor. For the record, “stronk” is a real word; at least OED thinks it is. It doesn’t mean anything close to how Lee uses it, but he’s too busy to talk about it at the moment. Also, file under “warped drive”.

Formulation

© 2019-2022 michael raven

“Why is is medicine men always seem to live so far away from the villages they serve?”

Harlow was tired of the jungle trying to eat him while he hiked through it, whether it was the bugs, the large cats, snakes or the tiny fish in the river’s waters with teeth far to large to be sensible for any fish to possess.

“Not medicine man,” Alejo replied in his halting pidgin. “Is brujo.”

The translator and guide that the University had recommended was adequate, but hardly fluent in English, much to Harlow’s chagrin. Harlow craved a return to civilization, where he could have real conversations with someone less… subhuman.

“Whatever. Medicine man or whatever you called him — he’s the man who has the formulation I require.”

Alejo nodded briskly. “He has. They all say.”

“Well, let’s hope he’ll trade for it. I’ve waited long enough to explore the realms Alhazred mentions in his damnable book. I’m weary of these false leads.”

“This brujo has, they all say. You dreamwalk when you get back to Santarem, you want.”

Harlow pushed another vine out of his path. “I’ll dreamwalk tonight, back in the village, dammit.”

Alejo stopped and shook his head slowly.

“You dreamwalk in village, they kill you when you leave your body. They no want the dogs to follow you back from dreams. Santarem is better, They not know dreamwalking. Or about dogs.”


Another New Weird flashfiction from 2019 posted elsewhere, with some modifications. Prompt was “brujo” from the OED word of the day. While I admit it has some cringe with respect to pidgin and sterotypes, the usage was intentional, as I was trying to emulate more of a 1920s feel than a 2020s feel. And I tried to moderate it a bit away from the even more cringy elements in stories popular at the time. No offense is intended.

Lacuna

©2019-2022 michael raven

He had barely turned the key when chimeric visions fell in layered veils fell over his sight — a hint, perhaps of what lay beyond that liminal threshold he was about to cross.

A gut wretch, a fellifluous and acid burning of the lower chakras, as the tumbler turned and the scribed door swung away from Llew.

There were second thoughts, but they came far too late to entertain for more than milliseconds. The time had long passed to entertain such thoughts. He crammed those fears into a place deep inside of himself where they could shriek in the void of silence.

The gateway yawned before him, multicoloured and writing, the many angles turning on themselves. Llew did not believe in Heaven but her feared his next step might confirm his suspicions about Hell.

Again, it was too late for such considerations. The door lay open and to walk away now would result in it staying open and something from the other side would eventually notice and come forth. The price for closing the door was passage, so Llew stepped forth, letting the door slam shut behind him as he fell. And fell. And fell.


Another bit of flash fiction from social media back in 2019. I made a few modifications in this edit, but they were minor. Prompt was the OED word of the day: fellifluous. File under New Weird.

Ensuring silence

©2019-2022 michael raven

“The rope’r too tight, they be cuttin’ off me circulatin’.”

The man in the Guy Fawkes mask ignored Gareth and, indeed, tugged a but harder to ensure the knots were well and tight. There would be no Houdini tricks under Guy’s watch.

“I tell ye, lad, ’twastn’t I who done got ye discover’d. Was tha’ wytch, Rose who gone done ye.”

Guy stopped tying the ropes connect to the cinderblock resting on the edge of the cliff overlooking crashing midnight blue waves on an angry ocean below and stood there, reflecting.

A gloved hand raise the chin of the mask and pushed it over long, black hair.

“You nasty liar,” said Rose, the Guy Fawkes mask resting crooked on the top of her head. “Any reluctance I might have had with what I’m about to do evaporated with that last part, Gareth. You never knew when to just shut the fuck up, you bastard.”

“Don’ do it, Rosy, Imma sorry for that. Canna blame a guy fer wantin’ to save hi’ hide, right?”

She smiled.

“To hell wit’ you, Gareth Butterfield. I hope they don’t spare you no flames on account of your lyin’ ways.”

She shoved the cinderblock closer to the edge with the flat of her black boots.

“Well, I sithee down in ol’ Lucifer’s house then, y’bitch.”

She gave the block another shove and it tumbled over the edge. Gareth followed not a full moment behind. To his credit, he kept his mouth shut for once and didn’t scream as he tumbled into the waters below. Rose was almost impressed.

Rose looked over the edge and watched as icy waves erased the splash Gareth had left behind. She lowered her mask. More important tasks were at hand than dealing with a stool and a fraud.


Another bit of flash fiction from 2019, posted on social media. Some minor edits for the purposes of clarity. Prompt was the word of the day from OED, “sithee”. Meant to be a bit of grimdark with a bit of steam taking place in some nonexistent era.

A hotel outside of Miami

©2019-2022 michael raven

“Where is that bastard? I know he’s here!”

Karla ignored her husband’s question and instead continued to dress herself at the bedside as if she hadn’t heard. To get her attention, he made a grab for her wrist. She broke his grip easily with an oft-practiced twist and responded with a slap.

“I told you before and I will not repeat myself after this final time. You will not touch me that way again. I am not your chattel, and I will not be treated as such.”

Henry talked spoke to her slowly, as if English wasn’t he first language.

“Where. Is. He? Imma gonna kill him.”

Karla laughed with her oh-you-silly-little-man laugh that infuriated him as she stood.

“For chrissake, Henry. Do you want to go out to dinner like we had planned, or would you rather chase a ghost? I have no idea who you are looking for or why.”

She didn’t wait for his response, but walked to the door of their hotel room as if she had all the time in the world.

Henry scanned the room again and had to admit the the man he suspected Karla kept as a lover was nowhere to be seen.

“Fine, let’s eat. But I’m on to you, Karla and I will find that little fucker if he’s around,” Henry said as he followed her out of their room

Lucas, lying doggo under the bed, breathed a sigh of relief as the door clicked into place behind them.

It had been a close one this time.


Another one of my social media flash fictions from 7 July, 2019 that I migrated here. The prompt was OED’s Word of the Day, “doggo”. More significant changes than most of my short fictions that get moved over, but the gist of the vignette is the same and mostly intact. Just a bit of cleanup in aisle six.

heautoscopy.

On many winding streets I walked, the buildings towering above me, looming like watchmen waiting for that transgression, that crime, that murder so they could fall upon me, trapping me for all time. I ignored these threats and moved onward through the labyrinth of twisting cobblestone roads that seemed to turn around upon themselves as the night wore on.

Pitchforks and arsenic awaited behind, flames too. There was no turning back, not in this plague city dancing on the gloaming sky. Ahead was dying, and behind death and only the touch of her hand would save and only I could open the gate that awaited me.

But I grew weary and old with each step. The rose-garden scamper, thorns and all, had drained me like mara thirsting for life, pricking me at every turn. I lumbered on, dragging my night soul behind, digging within the poison of my heart to find strength to languish further.

Then —

Stonebridge and torchlit, her beckoning from the door terminus, hand outstretched. My chest filled with light and laughter only to have it shatter like glass hearts on the cobblestone path. For there was I, across that bridge, already nearly fingertouched, already heaven bound.

But how could I be there and yet here? I screamed stop! but they did not here, the hoards of winter wraith coming closer from behind, their chill upon my spine. I fell, no strength in my knees remained and cried as she opened the door and let the other me inside.

Incident on the pale.

“Ugh. Guard duty is such a drag.” Jessie hocked up some spit and aimed it at the aluminum can someone had tossed over the ramparts since she was last on duty. The result was an impressive twunk of wet on metal. Max was impressed, though he knew she’d learned from one of the best. He father was legendary for his llama-like skill at hitting a target with his spit.

The things you perfected in confinement…

“I don’t mind. I just wish we could go out and, y’know…

Jessie snorted. She knew. Confinement had put a definitely damper on their budding romance. They could find ways — teenagers always did — but the thrill of the possibility of getting caught only went so far before it became more a drag than a thrill. Besides, Jessie was getting bored with it all.

Continue reading “Incident on the pale.”