The bodyguard

Mai stood still besides Zlhna’s chair as the woman wove her magic. The audience watched in awe and that was who Mai watched – the watchers. Those hovering close all had the same look of wonder on their faces. Mai wasn’t as worried about them. She recognized the complete banality that they represented.

Zlhna smoothed out the magic as though it were fabric and began to cut out the shapes she desired. Mai had seen this so many times, she could narrate it without looking. Which was what was necessary, because it meant she knew when, if anyone, would strike.

There were not many standing at the peripherals and they all appeared to be there because they had been late or shoved out from the main crowd. Zlhna’s eyes aimed up under her upper eyelid, showing the whites of her eyes. All she had awareness of was her fingers.

Mai caught sight of the assassin when Zlhna’s eyes narrowed further. This was the moment.

Mai shifted her stance barely and bit the side of her tongue until she tasted the blood begin to flow. She felt it flow through her veins. Staring directly at the attempted assassin, she shifted her arms as though she were about to move, just to get his attention. It worked. He met her eyes and she had him.

She stopped his blood. He crumpled to the ground.

Satisfied, Mai swallowed her blood and waited for Zlhna to finish her magic.

Why does this happen all the time?

This, in the age of information.

“Can you hang on a moment? I’ll call you right back.”

“All right,” she said.

They said their goodbyes and she hung up, waiting for the callback. Two hours later, he hadn’t called back. She groaned, hitting her head on the desk. Making her decision, she called back again.

“Right, sorry. I’ll be with you, I just haven’t found the information yet.”

Will you before the day’s over? she wondered, biting back irritation. “Of course.”

They said their goodbyes and she waited for another four hours.

For science

He brought up his face mask, making sure it was secure before wading into the remains. The outside crumbled as he shuffled through it. He reached in to grab the organs, still warm from the creature’s recently faded life. Absolutely dry, the heart took up the space of both his arms. He turned around and placed it in the metal crate, sealing it within the alcohol filled container. That part protected, he turned back around and continued to rifle through the crumbling scales.

The next most important part was the liver. The positioning of the corpse meant that the remains left within the stomach and the intestines dripped out, disintegrating everything around them. He removed the liver as quickly as he could be careful, lowering it into the second container. One to go.

Finally, he walked around the appearing skeleton to end up at the brain. He reached up and noted the holes already eating out from the inside. He made a sound of disgust. This was wasted. Taking a few steps back, he removed himself from the body, which no longer was a body, but had gradually turned into a pearl white skeleton.

Working late

“Robin, catch.”

Robin nearly did, but his hands were not quick enough. Plus, Jay’s aim had been a little too high, so even if he had been quicker, there was still more distance for his arms to cover. All of these things culminated in Robin being beaned by the orange. He let out an undignified squawk and rubbed at his nose. The orange hit the floor.

Jay brought his head out from all of the papers he was in. “Did you just miss that? Really?”

“Of course I did! You didn’t give me a chance before you lobbed it at my head?”

Jay frowned. “Weren’t you complaining just now about being hungry?”

“I mentioned we had been at this for hours!” Robin corrected. “That we completely missed lunch and it was nearing dinnertime!” That said, he picked up the orange and looked it over. “What’s this for?”

“To keep you from being hungry.”

“Jay, an orange isn’t going to tide me over in place of lunch and dinner!” In a huff, Robin cast an eye over all of the documents they still had to go through. “We’ll be at this for hours more! It’ll be here when we get back! Or we could order in. Anything you’d like, I’ll get on the phone! Where is my phone?”

“If we stop now, we’ll get the piles confused,” Jay said, moving one file from one stack to another. Robin had no idea what either of them were at this point. “You don’t want the orange?”

“No! Yes! Not in place of real food! Jay!” Throwing his words into pleas, Robin tried to clasp his hands in front of himself, only to be clasping the orange with two hands. “Lunch. Dinner. Now. Please?”

“I don’t want to start from scratch by forgetting where we have put once.”

“But I’ve already forgotten!” That explained, Robin finally caught sight of his phone under some papers. He snatched it up immediately. Murphy’s law enacted at is would and the stack of paper he had found his phone near simply decided to fall off the table despite the fact Robin hadn’t touched it at all. Robin felt the glare land on him. He looked over at Jay with a big smile. “I’ll order something. What do you want? Bento? Burritos? Borscht? Burgers?”

With a sigh of disgust, Jay ignored him. Robin decided that meant he could choose and happily called out for their dinner.

If only all misunderstandings were so easily resolved

On the day of her wedding, she was abducted by aliens.

“Is this the time?” she asked shrilly.

The aliens looked at each other. “Is there a better time?” one asked. “We wanted you to fill out a questionnaire.”

“I walk down the aisle in ten minutes!” the bride exclaimed. “I don’t have time for a questionnaire!”

“Oh.” The alien made a motion that was indescribable in human language. “Are you certain? Isn’t this the end of your life?”

“This is marriage, not death!”

“This human quote said that “marriage is the death”,” another alien said, bringing up the text for her to see.

The bride scoffed. “That’s not supposed to be taken literally.”

“That makes more sense,” yet another alien said.

“We apologize for the inconvenience.” The first alien made a motion and sent her back to earth.

And annoyed though she was, she never mentioned the experience to anyone ever.


The pattern looked like a flower, printed out on their shin. The center was dark and the petals faded out into their skin. There was another one on their shoulder, but its shape and coloring reminded him of nothing in particular. Then there was the most obvious one at the side of their face. All of these signs caused a burning anger inside of him that he could barely keep out of his voice. “Who did this?”

They didn’t answer, folding their arms across their chest. They refused to meet his eyes and that angered him more.

“Please. Who did this?”

Without a response, he reached out to the side of their face, turning it toward himself. They allowed it, though their eyes continued to focus at his shoulder instead of his face. He sighed, resting his forehead against theirs. Letting go of their face, he brought his hands up in front of their eyes. “Are you okay?” he signed.

They nodded. He did not believe it, but believed in how they needed him to believe that. He sighed, pulling them into an embrace. “Let me stand by you,” he plead.

Maybe they nodded, maybe they did not. All he knew was that he would do so, whether they wanted him to or not.

What an average vacation

On their day off, they went to the beach. James wore swim trunks and Mercedes a t-shirt and shorts. “I’m going to learn how to surf!” James announced.

“Since when?” Mercedes asked, bringing up a parasol to block the sun and the drool of the long necked dinosaur that stood nearby and stared out over the ocean.

“Since today!”

That said, he ran off to find a surfboard at one of the many vendors that were set up right above where the tide came in, getting their wares wet. James bought a surfboard from the guy who also sold tennis rackets and light bulbs. Mercedes set her towel out far away from the family of gnomes that were discussing how to make a better profit here than the leprechauns down the way. Putting on her sunglasses and propping up her parasol, she made herself comfortable. A bear settled nearby, but he was the quiet sort, so Mercedes didn’t begrudge him as a neighbor.


She looked up at where James was standing in the water, on a wave and still perfectly balanced. She tilted her sunglasses down her nose a little and noted the vacationing penguins holding him up. “Nice, James!” she responded, settling her shades back over her eyes.

Then the whale sent all playing in the water flying. Mercedes repositioned her parasol and opened a book.

Five second memory

He stood there, staring at the shelves. Choices: vanilla, chocolate, caramel, coconut, sweet cream, mint, toasted marshmallow… He wasn’t even sure what he was here for. He didn’t put creamer into his coffee and no one had told him anything other than “pick up some creamer”, leaving him with the terrible choice of picking one of these that all of his roommates would agree upon. Regular vanilla seemed like the safest bet. On the other hand, if he picked something like mint and some people hated it, then maybe no one would ask him to do this again. At least, not without further clarification.

Opening the case, he reached for one of the creamers for something to collide into the back of his legs. He pitched forward into the selection, catching himself with his palm pressed against the window of the case door. Irritated, he wheeled about to complain to face the shopping cart that had hit him. No one was there. At least, not that he noticed at first. Narrowing his eyes on the little hands gripping onto the handlebar. Peering around, he looked at the little girl hanging off the cart, feet up on the bottom basket. “Where’re your parents?” he asked her.

“Buying the store,” the girl responded. “Now I’m buying macaroni and cheese.”

“Buying a lot of groceries? And you’re running your cart into people?”

“No!” she protested. “Just you.”

“And?” Prompting children into apologies wasn’t his forte, but without a parent around to take responsibility he felt like he should try.

“And no one else! You were just suddenly there!”

He chuckled. “Not that. If you run into someone, what do you say?”

She looked up at him, sticking her lower lip out slightly. Then she smiled. “Hello!”

He couldn’t help but laugh again. “Not that kind of run into. When you hit someone, accident or on purpose, what do you say?”

That made her pout, but she answered more promptly this time. “Sorry.”

“That’s okay. Thank you.” The girl gave him an odd look, but then she broke out into another toothy grin and rolled her cart away. He watched her go before turning back to pick out a creamer.

In a related development, the girl continued to run her cart into more people, apologizing after each.

Maybe magic missile

The paladin had been separated from his team for an hour now. Knowing that he likely wandered now in an entirely different string of catacombs than the ones the group had began in didn’t instill him with much confidence. Finally though, he was allowed to see what would happen next.

“Without the rogue, it’s up to me to make certain I don’t walk into a trap,” he said to himself and his God. He studied the left way and the right and decided to go right. Nothing terrible happened, so he assumed he had guessed right. Which made sense, since he went right. And who knew? Maybe left was just as clear. He would find out if he walked into a dead end.

The room at the end of the hall was not filled with dust as everything else had been. The smell of damp permeated the room, the smell of rotted flesh.

“But the bodies here have been dead for too long. The undead! I search for signs of them!”

“Too late,” said the DM. “Roll for initiative.”

Always the interruptions

“Okay, I seem to have a problem.”

Channary looked up from her book, startled. Maly was nowhere to be seen, but she swore she had heard her voice. Deciding she had to have imagined it, or Maly had said that to someone else while passing by the library door, Channary went back to her book.

“As in an important problem.”

She had not imagined it. Maly’s voice came from right in front of her. Channary looked up again, but didn’t see anyone at all, let alone Maly. “What?”

“I appear to have made myself invisible.”

Channary fixed her gaze on the empty space in front of her that Maly’s voice was spawning from. “Are you here?”

“Yes. As I said, I appear to be invisible right now.”

Channary stared for a few moments before finally speaking. “You didn’t go into father’s study again, did you?”

“I… might have stopped in for something. I didn’t touch anything!”

Biting her lower lip, Channary shook her head. “You’ll have to wait for father to come home.”

“I’ll be in so much trouble!”

“You’re in trouble right now,” she agreed with her sister. “Father will fix everything.” Mystery solved, she returned once more to her reading.