A flash-fiction piece for a tiny, last-minute contest. Entries were restricted to 777 words exactly, and had to be based on this prompt:

In accordance with the prophecy, everyone knew what to expect from the seventh son. What they failed to take into account was what the seventh daughter was capable of.

Predisposed to some classic genre tropes, which I usually try to resist, but I decided to give into that this time and put together a short scene. The basic premise of the knockout game comes from personal experience, as this was a real thing going around my school when I was younger. Lasted maybe a month at most, with the teachers eventually sitting us down and explaining the real risks involved in choking someone into unconsciousness. I’d like to think this was the dumbest thing we did, but kids will be kids.

Anyway, here it is. Continue reading

Living With It

The howl that woke Jules lingered in the cold stillness and empty shadows of his room like the fading echoes of the horns of the Apocalypse. Blinking, trying to hold the dream of emptiness as it fled through the haze of sleep, Jules sat up in the darkness. His mind remained caught on the source of the sound that woke him, focused now on the barks beating in through his closed window. It was the neighbour’s dog again. Sharp, red digits on his alarm clock told him it was hours after midnight and hours more till the sun rose. Three nights into this, he knew better than to hope the noise would stop anytime soon.

Pushing himself out of the overheated bed, Jules jabbed a clumsy hand toward his bedside lamp. A faint click and light spilled over the nearest corner of the room. Through squinting eyes, he saw the blank screen of his phone, the tiny white particles floating in the half-empty glass of water next to the bed, the broken spine of the book he’d fallen asleep to, and the uneven, moon-cast silhouette of the creature standing outside his window. Continue reading

Memory Box

Dear Emily,

Scott and I are settling in. We have everything unpacked, but it will be a while before they get out here to install a phone line, and longer than that before we get our internet access. I have to walk twenty minutes to get a single bar on my phone, and that’s not a solid single bar, either. Which is why I’m writing this letter. I’m not even sure how long this will take to reach you. I’ll ask when I buy the stamps in town.

Anyway, not much else to say right now. I’m going to start working on the garden. I’ll send pics when there’s something worth looking at. Tell everyone we say hello.

Yours, Vicky

PS. I was digging out the weeds near that old shed–going to plant tomatoes and you can’t have any! (of course you can have some)–and found an old box, almost like a chest. It has a rusty lock on it, and you’d think we’d have a way to open it, but you know Scott is the kind of man who doesn’t even own a hammer. I’m going to take it into town when I mail this letter, see if someone there can help. Continue reading

After Thoughts – Hyper Light Drifter

Hyper Light Drifter is by any measure a very good game. It renders a frequently pretty pastel post-apocalyptic world, animates it well, and follows through with a soundtrack that I never wanted to turn down or mute. And muting the music is something I normally do in a game before I’ve even checked the graphical options or set my controls. The story, for all its repetitive symbolism, isn’t overbearing or intrusive. As you know, I like a game that lets me play. And I enjoyed playing it. I was hankering for something simple and focused on action, and the friend who recommended Hyper Light Drifter did the right thing.

No game is perfect, and I don’t expect them to be. But I also can’t help myself thinking about what I play and cataloguing my thoughts. These are them. Continue reading