The Cursed Word

The man lay in his path, screaming. Raymond had been hearing him for the last quarter of a klick or so. There were no words in the scream. Just the sounds of a man’s agony.

Raymond walked down a narrow path. There were no breaks here, no narrow alleyways where he could move to a different stack. Shelves stretched on as far as he could see, boxing him into a confrontation with the screaming man that he didn’t want.

The books in this part of the Library were old. Older than any Raymond had come across before. They were crumbling tomes on crumbling wooden shelves, each volume chained into position. The florescent lights overhead cast stark shadows across his path.

Now that he could see him, the man was about Raymond’s age with the same pasty skin of everyone who was trapped in the Library. He clutched one of the Medieval tomes to his chest as tiny pale worms inched across his clothing. Raymond hadn’t seen anything like them in all of his years of overseas deployments and rotten food.

He leaned over the man, keeping himself at arm’s length. People were scarce in the Library. Supplies scarcer. And intel. He was surrounded by information but never knew what was happening. He’d come into the Library with no idea of what to expect, but it wasn’t this. (more…)

The Touch of Her Hand

The air conditioning slapped Alyssa across the face as she darted into the store. She managed to step out of view of the glass door before her pursuers rounded the corner. Through the thin walls she could hear their calls of confusion.

Typically she avoided hiding in stores. It was too easy to become trapped as most often the second exit was guarded by a menacing “employees only” sign. But she was tired of running and she’d gained enough of a lead on them to risk it. She kept her gaze downcast and her hands stuffed in her pockets as she shuffled over to the display of floppy brimmed hats.

She dropped a hat and the largest pair of sunglasses she could find on the counter. She grunted softly in acknowledgment to the clerk but didn’t make eye contact and was careful not to brush against him when she passed over her debit card. Unfortunately the weather was too hot for her to get away with wearing gloves. It was so much easier to avoid activating her curse in the winter.

Her phone buzzed, a notification from her bank about the recent transaction. Her fifth purchase of the sort that month. If anyone was paying attention to her purchase history, they’d think had a problem. She waved off the offer of a bag and pulled out a tiny pair of scissors from her purse, cutting away the tags. (more…)

Only You

The crystals hanging from the shop door jingled and Alexandra looked up from counting inventory to find a confused girl looking around.

Of all the curio shops, why did she have to come to mine? Alexandra wanted to crawl behind the shelves and duck away into the back room. Too bad those beaded curtains would give me away.

“Hi Gianna, how can I help you?” Alexandra put on her best customer service smile she could muster.

“There’s sunshine in chairs!” Gianna’s face was contorted in frustration.

“What?”

“There’s sunshine in chairs and the tub can’t sing!” Tears were forming around the girl’s infamous pretty brown eyes.

Alexandra exhaled a soft laugh. “Who did you piss off?”

“A giraffe and a desk. Will there be pillows?” Gianna’s puppy dog eyes turned hopeful.

“I can’t understand a word you’re saying, Gianna. Try writing it down.” Alexandra flipped the page on her inventory tally and handed the clipboard to her. (more…)

April Stories at the Confabulator Cafe

As a cruel April Fool’s joke, I was going to tell you that we had no stories for April.

That’s untrue. We do have stories! Several of them! Please visit us every Friday in April for brand new fiction. Our prompt this month was: a friend has a curse placed on them; what is the curse, and does the protagonist help?

We hope you enjoy these tales as well as the impending spring weather.

No fooling.

Here’s the schedule.

Friday, April 7: “Only You” by Anita C. Young
Friday, April 14: “The Touch of Her Hand” by Eliza Jaquays
Friday, April 21: “The Cursed Word” by Dianne Williams
Friday, April 28: “The Thirteenth Cat” by Isabel Nee

 

The Trouble with Rumors

It had been a tranquil summer day until my sister stepped on the snake. She hadn’t seen the long black creature in the grass until it reared up and struck at her. I couldn’t really blame it. After all, my sister had stomped her foot down on the thing’s back. I probably would have struck at her if she stepped on me like that.

The scream my sister let out could have woken the dead. Mom heard her from all the way up at the house and came running. Sophie was still screaming and dancing around when mom finally got there. She’d been smart enough to jump away from the snake, but instead of turning and fleeing like a normal person she started running around in circles. The snake, who didn’t want anything except to not be stepped on, had subsided into the grass and slithered away under some spiny bushes. At least there it wasn’t likely to get stepped on again.

(more…)