Phase shifting is like dynamite — helpful when used properly, deadly if misused.
Misjudgments are frequent among newbies. Passing through an object in front of you without also passing through the ground underneath takes concentration. Even the best-trained shifters make mistakes once they begin practicing in the field.
Like this guy. Late on his courier run, he phased through a concrete barricade with ease. But when he saw the worker in his path he phased again, panicking the worker. The courier phased in too soon, bike tripping over a cable.
The residual energy in the bike hurled it into the building.
“Didn’t know they made motorcycles in 1914,” Henrietta said, hoping to get the gaunt man’s attention in front of the exhibit.
“Oh yes,” he replied. “Owned one myself.”
“You collect antiques?” He was becoming more interesting than Henrietta had hoped.
“No. I was a boy at the time. I remember my first ride, down a dirt trail near my family’s lakeside cabin. I thought if man could build such a wonderful machine, there was no limit to what we could achieve.”
“That’s… impossible.” He looked no older than thirty.
“Not at all,” he replied, turning to Henrietta with red eyes.
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest.
“Lateral stabilizers.” Detective Jenkins squatted in front of the discarded parts. “Definitely from a K-47. I can call in the serial numbers, but if they aren’t from the Altarax droid I’ll eat them for lunch.”
Her rookie partner bit his lip. “But the AI in K-47s is too advanced to be this careless. If the droid knows we’re after it, why leave such a large breadcrumb?”
“Because it wanted us to know it had been here.” Jenkins stood and brushed hair from her face. “It wants us to follow its trail. We’re being led.”
Thirty years ago the field had been a dense forest of poplar, birch, pine, and fir. A wealthy industrialist bought the land and had it clear-cut to build a summer home, yet as the last remaining trees were being uprooted he lost the property in a bitter divorce.
Two stumps were left among the acre of wildgrass. Their tops were smooth from the saw’s blade, the bark on their sides cracking and peeling off like scabs from a wound.
The tallest objects remaining in the abandoned field, the two lifeless remnants served as tombstones to a petrified ambition.
“Don’t worry, Marcy,” Harlan called ahead to his granddaughter as he slalomed the uneven terrain of the forested ravine. “Can’t tell you exactly where it is, but I’ve walked this path enough times that my legs know the way.”
Marcy stopped, turned to him. “So we keep walking until your legs figure out where to go?”
Harlan pointed ahead. “There.”
She looked where he pointed. The moss-covered roof of a small cabin was barely visible. “OK,” she replied. “But that doesn’t mean what you’re looking for is there.”
The old man smiled. “Oh it’ll be there.”
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash-fiction contest. One picture, 100 words.
“Surprised you’re still open,” the customer said after ordering the hamburger combo meal.
“For two months after the Orb appeared we weren’t,” replied the middle-aged woman as she wrote on an order pad. “But when it became evident there wasn’t any life there and was harmless, my husband sued to reopen. We gotta right to live, you know.”
The customer looked to his right. The Orb’s rubbery edge was visible beyond the diner’s wall. “And you’re not worried? Or curious how it got here?”
She ripped the order sheet from the pad. “All I care about is the next order.”
Friday Fictioneers is a weekly flash fiction contest that most weeks is too much damn fun to pass up.
Oleg wanted to remain in his bunk as the ship approached Ellis Island. This wasn’t the first time he’d arrived in the US through this port. Yet he knew not joining the ship’s excited occupants would arouse unwanted suspicion.
He stood on the deck apart from the crowd at the rails, staring towards shore through the dim light of a cloudy dawn.
“Mama!” a pointing child cried. “The statue!”
Oleg smiled. Later today, he’d be processed with forged papers. Once he cleared customs with the other immigrants, he could then deliver the package he’d been paid so well to convey.
Three minutes. Swanson estimated the murderer would lose himself in that time.
The city’s Asian street market was a clot of shoppers and vendors. If the murderer slid down an arterial street, he’d escape.
The sidewalks were less crowded and navigable, but Swanson knew the murderer would likely avoid them. The detective began hustling down the sidewalk, eyes scanning the crowd, but stopped on noticing the fire escapes above him. He could view the entire crowd from there and locate his target. Swanson pushed past a man talking on a mobile phone and raced up a flight of concrete steps.