Dream Wars

The first time I saw X I was seated in one of three rows of folding chairs in a locker room huddle with my sweaty teammates listening to Martha Stewart describe how best to photograph cats along their migration route. Cats swirled around our chair legs, meowing and nudging my teammates shin guards to claim them as territory.

This is what I’ve got to work with?” said a strange voice. A squeaky voice that sounded like a rusty hinge.

I looked down. On the dented metal folding chair beside me sat an olive green imp-thing about the size of a baboon with bat-like ears, pointy teeth, and luminous yellow eyes that looked way too big for its head. The imp had on a vest with no shirt underneath and pants that went to its knees and were a gray color that looked like they’d been dipped in a combination lichen and cement mix.

“Be quiet,” I hissed, “or Martha will have us killed.” (more…)

September Stories at the Confabulator Cafe

Hello, readers. Hope you’re ready for a brand new month of fiction.

Our prompt this month was about dreams. Confabulators were given this line to inspire stories: “Every night you visit me. Sometimes in my dreams. Sometimes in my nightmares.”

Here’s the schedule for September. Hope to see you around!

Friday, September 7: “Dream Wars” by Emily Mosher
Friday, September 14: “Sunday Morning Coffee” by Kara DeLaughter
Friday, September 21: “Motorcycle Jack” by Dianne Williams

 

Tourtime Terms and Conditions, Page 6

will not be held liable for any incidents, physical or otherwise, which arises or results due to one or more of the following temporal anomalies: inserting yourself into earlier or later branches of your family genealogy; transporting, removing or otherwise redistributing such items defined as illegal contraband in Section III.B.2.ii; directly or indirectly acting as, or claiming to be, the past or future savior of one or more indigenous peoples; deliberately affecting one or more forces of nature (including but not limited to: slight gusts of wind, butterflies, or small acts of kindness) with the intent to influence, change, or otherwise alter the future. This list is not intended to be all-inclusive, and is subject to change.

Final determination of qualifying temporal anomaly events is determined by trained temporal anomaly adjudicators. Written appeals may be sent to the Office of Temporal Research. Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received, and may take up to one to three business decades for processing. All verdicts will be delivered no more than five minutes after submission, and are considered absolute.

Section IV. Package Options and Limitations

A. Tourist Destination Packages

With the partnership from Activision, we are proud to announce that certain historical events previously deemed to crowded for additional spectatorship have been reauthorized for personal travel. By utilizing recent developments in incorporeal and invisibility technology, an unlimited number of people are able to coexist inside of the same spacetime coordinates, undetectable to local spacetime natives. The Activision Incorporeal Cloaking Unisuit (ICU) Technology is known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm. Usage of the ICU for purposes other than spectation the intended event will be punished to the full extent of the law. Package pricing and availability may vary on location, and is subject to change. Please see your local Tourtime Agency for a full list of current destination packages.

1. The National Period Act of 2731 enabled Congress to declare periods of time, designated to be tourist destinations, locations of interest, or otherwise determined to be of significant importance, to be Federally protected in order to maintain the integrity of existence. As such, Tourtime is legally required to restrict the number of travelers per year to the following periods, designated as high traffic periods:

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This is not an all-inclusive list of all federally protected national periods, but does represent a comprehensive list of all such national periods which Tourtime is authorized to service. There can be no exceptions made for travel to any unlisted national period, which includes travel for the purpose of familial genealogy tourism, as defined in Section VI.A.3. Any customer found to

The Scavenger’s Jar

It stood taller than Elijah, wrapped in layers and layers of light fabric that wafted around its’ frame as the boom of air settled. His chest heaved from where he stood in the corner, holding tight the broom his mother had thrown in earlier. You need to sweep that hellhole! she’d said with a laugh just before leaving for work, and all Elijah could think was that she was being literal and somehow, his messy room had summoned a demon.

Under a large gauzy hood he could make out a human face, but he was utterly certain that there must have been horns as well. A large hump rose from its shoulder and back. He held the broom out, and in response, the demon whipped a long staff out of a loop of rope on its hip and pointed it at him.

“You must take me to the town water,” it said in a voice that was sharp but entirely too high to belong to a demon.

“The what?”

“Town water.” The demon sized him up so obviously that it seemed an exaggeration, then slid the staff in the scabbard. It reached up with normal human hands and tossed the hood back to reveal an average human head behind the light fabric. Its hair was jagged, dark, and cut short over dusky olive skin.

The demon was just a tall woman, dressed in drab, dusty fabric that covered her from head to toe. Even the hump on her back was just a bag, not some demonic deformity. It rattled and clanked loudly as she shifted her balance. She sighed and gathered the fabric of her cloak up to glance at what looked like an ice cream sandwich with a screen clipped to her belt. She squinted, then smacked it with her palm. Dust drifted to the ground at her feet.

“I need to hurry,” she said. “This passage is not forever.” (more…)

Deep Shaft Run

In the mid-38th century (OT calendar), Trans-temporal Combat Chess reached the peak of its popularity. The rules were simple– using traditional chess moves on a checkered floor, two teams maneuvered for strategic advantage. Each square was assigned a particular temporal-spacial milieu chosen from the known scope of human history. When two players challenged for a square, they would be transported to that location in space and time; possession of the square would be subsequently awarded to whichever player defeated the other in an appropriate temporal-social context, using only the tools and technology available to the natives.

Each player developed a combat specialty. Pawns, usually the least experienced players on the floor, faced simple challenges. Court players specialized as they gained skill. Rooks were engineers and manipulators of the physical world. Knights tended towards “races and chases,” challenges of movement. Bishops engaged in rhetoric or acts of persuasion. Queens, chosen from only the most skilled and experienced players, had to be ready for any type of challenge. Meanwhile, the Kings as the focus of the game floor, determined overall strategy.

Gameplay at the highest levels, which were also the most difficult and physically dangerous, could command audiences of billions….

 

*****

 

At the command, Miranda took her square on the chess floor. They were now in endgame, and many of the other players had already retired. She surveyed those who were left. To her experienced eye, the next move was obvious, and she turned and nodded to Jax, playing the Pearl King.

“Queen to King’s Bishop Five!” Jax called, as expected. Miranda grinned and traversed three diagonal squares to stand face to face with Cheshire, the remaining Jade Knight.

“The Pearl Queen challenges the Jade Knight!” called the referee. “Does Jade accept the challenge?”

Cheshire glanced back at his own King, who had the choice to forfeit the square for some strategic advantage. The Jade King stroked her beard judiciously and nodded. Cheshire flashed a cocky grin and called out, “Jade accepts!”

“The time and place is 1924, Pittsburg, Kansas! What challenge does Jade propose?” the referee asked.

“It’s Prohibition,” Cheshire replied. “The challenge is rum-running. One load of illegal spirits from Pittsburg to Kansas City.”

“Does Pearl accept the challenge?”

Miranda nodded. “Pearl gladly accepts.”

A chase, then, and a battle of wits. This sounded like fun.

(more…)