Cylinder

She hated the round not-sky, the curve of the horizon following her eyes all the way up to where the stars were supposed to be. The stars were sideways, in the round blackness of the axis windows.
Born into this not-world and still all her instincts screamed wrong at her whenever she looked up from her books, her work, her path.
One day, she’d stow herself away on a ship and try to make her way planetside, Earth or whatever solid sphere came first.

Hairy Magic

The price of magic was to be payed in hair. For each spell, each incantation, sorcerers lost a hair or even a whole strand. Sometimes, they resorted to using their eyebrows or, if they had one, their beard as well once all the locks were used up. A shining bald head was the medal signifying a magical life well lived.
One day, a new sorceress arrived in town. People started whispering, pointing at her full head of thick, healthy curls, bouncing against her back as she strode.

“So, you’re too vain to do any spellwork, then?” an elder sorcerer sneered, “Or are you just really bad at magic?”
The sorceress smiled sweetly but deadly at him. “Oh, I believe I’m pretty good. They never said anything about having to use the hair on your head, did they?” She winked at the flock of younger sorcerers behind the elder. “I was gifted with a healthy amount of leg hair, my friends, and I’ve never been afraid of making good use of that.”

Science Fair Project

“What’s in this bucket?”
“Last year’s science fair proj- NO MUM, DON’T TAKE OFF THE LID!”
Too late. Black chaos exploded inward, dead leaves whirling across the ground, joining the vortex of dust and void. Bracing ourselves against the current of whipping air, we managed to retrieve and replace the lid in concerted effort.
“Why the bloody mess do you keep a black hole in a bucket?”
“I wanted the prize money real bad.”

Contactless (Microfiction)

“What? No ancient riddle locks, no magical stones, no incantations?” The human stared at me, at the wall, back at me again; incredulous.
I laughed while whipping out my chip card. “Nah, mate. I upgraded to contactless years ago.”
The stone walls opened, revealing the garage where I had parked my backup vessel. Always good to be prepared in case of crash landings.

Microfiction, February 2019

“Where is my new book?”
“I think I saw it under the bed.”
She sighed. “I shouldn’t have taught the cat to read. It always leaves claw-marks on the pages.”
(2019-02-01)

The ghost cow stood in the hallway.
“Excuse me, Sir”, it mooed, “why did you pour concrete over my favourite patch of grass in the yard?”
I looked up from my coffee. The cow was early today for its daily visit. Obviously ghosts didn’t know clock change.
(2019-02-02)

The faun’s floating farm fidgeted in flittering, floral forms following fine forest filaments.
(2019-02-02, experiment in alliteration and magic realism)

Idly, she fiddled with the soggy piece of soap, until it had the shape of a goldfish. Somehow, she wasn’t the least bit surprised when it opened beady, fishy eyes and wriggled free from her hands, slipping away into the bathwater, never to be seen again. She smiled — her imagination had always been particularly vivid. But then again, she just couldn’t find the bar of soap.
(2019-02-06)

Coming home from a long night of work, she found many outlines of hearts in front of her house. They were made from the husks of sunflower seeds, peanuts, and walnuts — the things she used to feed to the local birds, many years ago, when there still had been birds.
(2019-02-10)

The ghost in the tower was quite happy. No more endless hair washing and brushing after people tried to climb the braids. Smiling, the ghost floated in lazy somersaults, enjoying the silvery flow of ghostly tresses, swirling unbound and unbraided now.
(2019-02-11)

The ghosts of a crashed alien, an illuminatus, and a roasted pig walked into a bar. They ordered a round of strong spirits.
That’s it. No further punch line, sorry.
(2019-02-11)

A pirate ship came to the coast. Everybody ran away, except for an old, old man. He stood there, smiling, as a crew of ghosts appeared on deck. The ghost of a beautiful and very young woman passed through the railing and flew into his arms.
“Welcome home, mother.”
(2019-02-12)

Suddenly, her jumping rope turned into a snake and strangled her. Then it let itself fall to the floor again and lay down in the shape of a heart around her dead body.
(2019-02-14)

A history essay about the Roman wars appeared on the chalkboard in neat, cursive lines. The headmaster shook his head in admiration. That old ghost of a teacher was still improving on his handwriting, even decades after losing access to corporeal hands.
(2019-02-20)

I was looking for my broom. After a while I found it under the sofa, next to a pile of dust bunnies made into a nest. A ghost was using the bristles to give itself a nice back scratch, humming contently with eyes closed. I decided to go out and buy a vacuum cleaner.
(2019-02-23)

They’d just moved into their new house. Night after night, they heard a noise; sometimes like a stampede, sometimes like a hundred feet marching. They called ghost control.
“Oh, in the place of your house used to stand a school gym. It’s the ghosts of all the forgotten PE shoes.”
(2019-02-28)

Microfiction, January 2019

A collection of the pieces of microfiction I wrote on twitter in January. (Minus the typos.)

“Where did the house go?”, I asked the lady sitting in front of the house next to the now empty lot. “Which house?” “The green one I saw here when passing by just a week ago.“ She shook her head, laughing at me. “There hasn’t been a house in 200 years over there.”
(2019-01-11)

“Hey girl, can I talk to you for a second?” “No.” “Okay. Sorry.” The ghost vanished back into the sidewalk.
(2019-01-11)

“Shhhh” whispered the ancient oaken wardrobe in the corner, softly, to the poet sitting at a desk by the window, “would you mind opening the curtain a little more so I could enjoy the moonlight as well? It’s been a while.”
(2019-01-11)

The water was boiling in the pot and he was about to turn around to pick up the bag of pasta from the table behind him, but the bag was already being handed to him. “Thanks” he muttered, while dumping the pasta into the pot. Then he remembered he was home alone.
(2019-01-12)

There were shards and pieces of broken glass and pottery everywhere. On tables, on shelves, all over the floor. The oddest private art collection I had ever seen. “What exactly do you collect?” “Broken dreams.”
(2019-01-13)

“I hate being able to pass through walls and bookshelves. Backs of chairs, too. I miss leaning against objects. Not being able to rest against anything solid gives me phantom backaches,” complained the ghost of the gnarly old lady haunting the library.
(2019-01-15)

The wool blanket didn’t like colour of the new bed-sheets. It started floating and hovered over to the window. Rain was pouring down outside. Maybe the bed-sheets weren’t so bad after all. It settled back down on them, softly, deciding to give the colours a chance.
(2019-01-15)

Something was stirring in the coffee mug in front of her. She took a closer look.
“Uaaah!” The head of a tiny and very drowsy looking ghost emerged from the dark liquid. “Sorry, I was just so tired and must have fallen asleep in the coffee tin again.”
(2019-01-18)

“Wanted: cat ghost, to haunt my room. I’m very allergic to living pets but really could use some company.” The teenage girl set down her pen, smiling at the note. Now, how to send it? She decided on burning it in a bowl. Nine minutes later, she heard a gentle meow.
(2019-01-19)

I opened the book. The book opened a portal and sucked me in. I woke up yesterday again, deciding on not buying the book. This was my downfall. The book now has me trapped in a closed system of paradox time, devouring my soul and feasting on my fear.
(2019-01-20)

“Don’t ever pick leaves from the hydra-plant. It will grow twenty more leaves in that place and soon take over the world.” The hydra-plant author chuckled after finishing typing that paragraph in their newest herbology manuscript.
(2019-01-20)

They were about to leave the apartment for an evening out, when a small, shy voice whispered from within a kitchen drawer, “Could you maybe turn on the radio for me? I always feel lonely when you go; and I can’t leave these walls.”
(2019-01-21)

I opened the freezer. Inside a frozen soap bubble, oddly out of place, was resting on the vegetable bags. When I poked it, a small wisp of fog rose inside, stretching into a tiny, ghostly yawn. It opened dark eyes, stared back at me, then settled back down to sleep.
(2019-01-24)

The ghost of a squirrel sat on its favourite old tree, staring longingly at the stash of walnuts it had buried between the roots last year.
It missed the movement of winter winds ruffling its fur coat. Being a ghost was cold inside.
(2019-01-25)

The young artist didn’t have money to keep pets, but he didn’t mind. A whole lot of small spirits frequented his apartment: the ghost of a goldfish had claimed the kettle, a snake spirit the microwave; an invisible parrot chattered away from its spot on the lamp.
(2019-01-26)

10.000 ghosts floated in front of the parliament, stretching and twisting into signs.
“We’ve come from the future to haunt you”
“You killed us by ignoring climate change”
“You sank our isles, burnt our forests”
“Listen to your children!”
(2019-01-26, dedicated to Greta Thunberg)

It’s raining on the cemetery; and all the ghosts are carrying umbrellas. If you ask them why, they’ll tell you it’s so they won’t feel too sad they can’t really feel the rain drops anymore. Also, they love the bright colours.
(2019-01-27)

They pointed at the old brass telescope in the corner of the thrift store. “How much do you want for this?”
“I’m afraid it wouldn’t be of much use for you”, the merchant pointed out.
“Is it broken?”
“Well … not exactly. You see, there’s the ghost of an astronomer occupying it; and she refuses to let people look through her unless they make her comfortable.”
“I’ve a cozy attic with a nice skylight.”
The merchant smiled. “She might like that.”
(2019-01-29)

Bonus:
The Tragic Tale of the Reptiloid Werewolf
(A five-part story for @Koffeinfusion.)

As everybody knows, a civilization of reptilians is living beneath the earth, secretly watching humans from there. But rarely anyone knows the reason why they went underground.
One moonlit night, many eras ago, a young reptiloid was bitten by a werewolf. The result was horrifying, much more so than in an affected human.
The reptiloid’s smooth, scaly skin split open with a disgustingly cracking sound as its body began to bulge and twist, while the whole inner anatomy painfully changed from cold-blooded lizard to viviparous endotherm.
The lycanthropic reptilian screamed and screamed in a hissing voice as it felt its blood boiling and its guts liquefying, and all the other reptilians screamed as well in horror as they had to watch an abomination grow and swell to terrible size.
The creature was banished, living out a long, nightmarish life as a walking night-terror itself, while the remaining reptilians hid away, vowing never to see moonlight again until humans had disposed of all werewolves.
(2019-01-18)

Alchemist and Alien (Twitter Microfiction)

I just started a small series of story snippets on twitter. Just look for #AlchemistAndAlien if you’re interested to hear about a random encounter between … well, an alchemist and an alien, obviously.

When I started reading chapter 4 (“Aliens”) of “The Demon-Haunted World” by Carl Sagan today, my head decided on randomly combining it with some other project ideas and I thought it might be fun to explore this concept a bit.

It might not be microfiction in the truest sense as I don’t know how long the story will be, but I’ll try to make most snippets work as stand-alones.