Home Stories Poems Site Reviews Writing Tips Charlie Fish
FICTION on the WEB short stories by Charlie Fish

The Drabbles

A Drabble is a story of exactly 100 words that conveys an interesting idea or provokes strong emotions in the reader. As well as being excellent practice for writing, the results can often be hilarious, interesting, deeply disturbing or just plain entertaining. If you want to have a try, please feel free to submit your efforts.

Drabbles, purportedly named after British author Phil Drabble, are said to have originated in UK science fiction fandom in the 1980s. The 100-word format was allegedly established by the Birmingham University SF Society. However, they do not need to have a science fiction theme.

Choose a Drabble collection from the list below:

By Charles Sundt
NEW! By Jerry Vilhotti
NEW! By Frances McKenna
By Charmaine Elizabeth Merchant
By Brenden Boreland
By Michael Sheridan
By Gordon H Sharp
By Abigail Seltzer (150-word Drabbles)
By Adrian Martienssen
By Blake Māsnor
NEW! By Robert Copple
By Maggie Mountford
By Cynthia Burke
By Louise Carrigan
By Julian Martin
By Tim Lebbon
By Sami Ylinen
By Wes White
From ESPylacopa
From Focus (the British Science Fiction Association Writers' Magazine)

Charles Sundt

View or add comments on Charles Sundt's Drabbles

'Them' by Charles Sundt

They had arrived. Creating war where there was peace. Inducing discord where there was harmony. Bursting the bubble of goodwill. Rupturing the veins of happiness. Replacing security with fear...

Even such peaceful creatures as butterflies hid from the terror that was sweeping across every corner of the land. Safety became an illusion that could not be trusted.

Not even the beautiful, harmless plants were safe. Forests were demolished to make sure every organism that was aware They existed would obey Their every command, satisfy Their every twisted whim.

They thought They deserved the world, those megalomaniacs. Those damned Human Beings...


'Six Billion to One' by Charles Sundt

In the future, in a world ruled by commerce, scientists were too busy washing whiter than whiter than white to notice that Halley's comet had been diverted by the asteroid belt.

Fred took off for the Mars Orbital Security Station in his cryogenic shuttle. He got away just in time.

Had he been awake to see it, the view of Earth losing another dominant species was spectacular. Fred's shuttle located and entered the MOSS just before the shock wave smashed it against the planet it was orbiting.

Unbelievably, Fred survived. Pity, really, when there was no-one to wake him up.


'26 Different Letters in the Meaning of Life' by Charles Sundt

Shapes in ink. They mean nothing except to us. Letters. They grow into words. They rule our lives. The words join to make sentences. Sentences can only harm humans. Often they are the most effective weapon. Often they are the only way of making peace. Sentences unite to make stories. Stories that can bring together entire nations, stories that can ruin anyone of their choosing, all because of the way ink is arranged on a piece of paper.

Everything the human race has ever known or dreamed, past and future can be written. Words are more powerful than you think.


'Hallucidnations' by Charles Sundt

Sure enough, that night, he was trapped in the same dream yet again. He smiled. He walked up to his bedroom window, climbed onto the sill, took a soft lump of his skin, squeezed it, nodded to himself, then jumped out.

Just like every other night, he flew. The wonderfully exhilarating feeling filled him again as he sped over unfamiliar, slightly surreal landscapes that he could only wish existed. The worst part of it was waking up.

It was all very well until one night when he forgot to pinch himself. It took his parents ages to clean the porch.


'"All I Want for Christmas is my Daddy Back"' by Charles Sundt

"Right. Here is my proposition. You are in an... unusual predicament. How do you feel? That is just what the public want. It has been done before: murderer tells his story, bestseller, makes a million; but you're - what - fifteen, sixteen? Huh? Well, young.

"Uh... be frank - totally off the record of course, the trial can... uh - piss off. (Ahem.)

"What I'm saying... oh, heck. You're in the deep. Why not make some moolah while you're here? So, you wanna go along with me on this?


The murderer only just made more money than the tabloids.


'Out of Focus' by Charles Sundt

"Quantum Gravity's what you get when you combine Einstein's gravity with quantum theory (a mystery, but vital to understanding the origin of the universe)"

"You can forget using Einstein's theory of gravity during the actual birth of the universe. During the Planck era, quantum gravity rules the roost - and of course Einstein left all quantum effects out of relativity..."

"What I really like about quantum theory is that it allows you to create things literally out of nothing. It's even possible that the entire universe may be nothing but a quantum fluctuation that could vanish right this sec -"

Thanks to the February 1996 Focus issue (the Science fact magazine this time)


'Jo' by Charles Sundt

She lifted the serrated edge to her neck.

She slowly started the sawing motion, watching in the mirror as her unblemished skin tensed and tore messily. She tried to keep a smooth rhythm, but her flesh kept getting caught. Soon her perfect beauty was interrupted by blotches of red.

Someone walked past behind her, casually warning her not to stain the carpet.

She paused momentarily as a thought occurred to her. She wrenched the saw from her neck and pinched herself. It hurt. Good. She breathed deeply and steadily as she replaced the blade, working it further towards her vertebrae.


'Paradoxen' by Charles Sundt

*...one last time and typed in the password. He unlocked the plastic flap, lifted it and pressed the big red button underneath.

His world swirled around him.

7:06pm - he stepped out of the time machine, "OK, it's passed the last check. Let's do it. I hope it works this time. Imagine the implications! Two minutes back first - I don't want to be stranded in the eighteenth century. Alright, I'm going in. Wish me luck!"

7:08pm - he stepped into the machine, and set it to 7:06pm. He took a deep breath, asked for luck through his microphone...*


'Diving' by Charles Sundt

Thousands of tons on my shoulders, yet I feel nothing. No floor beneath me, no ceiling above. Which way is up? The flat bubbles always fall up. A constant roar assaults my ears, echoing off unseen walls much faster than the speed of sound. Icy, seeping cold. My body heat soon warms it up if I am still. Ambient light from somewhere over my head, flickering. Animals minding their own business around me, oblivious. Tubes attached to me keep me alive. Other humanoids surround me, floating in and out of the mist. Sexless, expressionless mutants.


My time is up.



'Barbie girl' by Charles Sundt

I thought I would feel aroused when I awoke to see her sleeping next to me, her naked body glowing in the warm morning sun. She lay in the foetal position, looking defensive... so vulnerable.

Despite the sunbeams playing across her nubile figure, she looked cold. I yearned to reach out and pull the blanket over her, but somehow it felt invasive.

My eyes danced across her golden hair, with its clusters tucked between the artful curves of her still form. I wondered if she was dreaming. I looked at her perfect face for a clue, but it was blank.


'Fetter of Dejection' by Charles Sundt

He was removing his birthday suit. She exhibited rapid eye movement, hanging on to his ebbing nakedness like a horse. Her milk factories heaved as he pulled his trousers up over his lunacy. His tail rotated, the door slamming between them. She looked through the sheet of distance glass, paned, as his sex drove away on tyres that grip in the panic. Her perception lingered until a perspective ate him alive.

He returned for the next hunting season, but she had passed a way to the other side, and taken it. In shame, he saw that she had hung her head.

Back to top

View or add comments on Charles Sundt's Drabbles

Jerry Vilhotti

Back to top

View or add comments on Jerry Vilhotti's Drabbles

'Leny One N' by Jerry Vilhotti

She had so much wanted her favorite son and his father to share what the man had in a groin and a touch - a touch that could send shivers down her spine that would produce six children from her body - but the transmitting never came to fruition like the delicacies from towering trees and thick bushes. All that happened was the fruit became smothered by hundreds of foul smelling insects eating first each other and then the rotting fruit.

Back to top

View or add comments on Brenden Boreland's Drabbles

Frances McKenna

Back to top

View or add comments on Frances McKenna's Drabbles

'A Magnificent Sight' by Frances McKenna

What a stunning sight! The gleaming body glistened with a moist residue in the afternoon sun; seemingly to highlight every curve and secret place for the entire world to see. What a pleasing vision, a curvaceous mass of luminous beauty. The intoxicating scent coming from there, filling my nostrils, causing me to stare openly, to move closer, daring me to touch, to run a finger down the side and back again. To feel the smooth silkiness, just for a moment or two...

A dream comes true; to stumble across that red shiny Ferrari, on that hot sunny and sticky afternoon...

Back to top

View or add comments on Brenden Boreland's Drabbles

Charmaine Elizabeth Merchant

Back to top

View or add comments on Charmaine Elizabeth Merchant's Drabbles

'Watching Her' by Charmaine Elizabeth Merchant

I used to be afraid, but now I'm in awe of her. I watch from a distance as she effortlessly spins out her beautiful patterns with precision, turning them into exquisite creations. Picking up my knitting needles I move closer to mirror her movements, but perhaps I've overstepped my boundaries, for she eyes me with suspicion. I take a step back, yet still determined to try. She gets back to her design which is growing larger by the moment. In frustration I give up, for I can never match her innate ability for weaving; after all she is a Tarantula.


'Shattered' by Charmaine Elizabeth Merchant

He often came to places like these to unwind, taking care not to overstay his time. He wouldn't want to get his lady suspicious. She would've been appalled, but he justified it by believing that as long as she didn't know, it was okay. But tonight he didn't have to worry. She said she'd be working late at her new customer service job which worked out perfectly. His anticipation was heightened since this was a new spot for him. The next performer strutted on stage and the glass in his hand immediately met the floor upon seeing the familiar face.

Back to top

View or add comments on Charmaine Elizabeth Merchant's Drabbles

Brenden Boreland

Back to top

View or add comments on Brenden Boreland's Drabbles

'The Writing Dribble Drabble' by Brenden Boreland

"Oh, no!" He's asked me to write another stupid story!

I just hate writing stories. He knows what I would rather do. I'm not gunna tell, 'cos he knows.

My toe hurts! No, REALLY, REALLY, it hurts! Big meanie!

"Jessica!" She said something that I did not like! I don't know, I can't remember – that's it: "I'll smash your face in!"

What's the time?

"Thank you, Jess!"

I'm up to sixty nine words (actually, seventy two with the heading). Does he not know that he's really annoying, just writing everything that I say?

Ninety-four! This is really annoying. One hundred!

Back to top

View or add comments on Brenden Boreland's Drabbles

Michael Sheridan

Back to top

View or add comments on Michael Sheridan's Drabbles

'10K' by Michael Sheridan

He started too fast and was winded at the mile mark, split time 5:15, twenty seconds off plan. Adjust!

The elite pack loped ahead, maybe fifty yards. What can happen? I drop dead? Amen, brother. This is my day!

At two miles he broke sweat. Normal. The macadam was a springboard, his steps weightless, the front pack forty yards up.

At four miles he grinned — it may have been pain, the pack twenty yards on a rubberband. He kicked somewhat.

At five miles he ran abreast, had wings, grunted, took off and did not look back.

Sweet, lonesome victory.

Back to top

View or add comments on Michael Sheridan's Drabbles

Gordon H Sharp

Back to top

View or add comments on Gordon H Sharp's Drabbles

'Life's Like That!' by Gordon H Sharp

The big, red sports car gleamed in the evening sunshine.

I surveyed it with the glowing pride of ownership.

I'd always longed to own one, but until now I couldn't even afford the insurance premiums, let alone the purchase price.

Visions arose.

Driving the powerful vehicle at maximum speed with the top down. The wind in my hair governed only by the roaring slipstream. I looked sideways at a pretty girl, who returned my fleeting glance with a look of adoration.

Moving closer, the reflection revealed an aged, lined face, and a bald head.

Was I really eighty years old?


'The End' by Gordon H Sharp

Weariness began to cover my old body - like a well loved blanket.

The will to achieve anything more in my life no longer existed.

My thoughts dwelt for a moment on my offspring; they seemed so distant in my mind.

Were they uncaring? Or was it me that shut them out as exhaustion cloaked my body like a benign and welcoming shadow.

My nearest and dearest knowingly took my hand as if she knew somehow that I was ready to depart; leaving behind the loving years we'd shared.

Death was sudden and wanted. I slipped easily into the dark abyss.


'Rover' by Gordon H Sharp

Sensations are mixed, and seek explanation. Warm, wet, slurping movements over reluctant skin. Softly emitted sounds interrupt the unwanted, but welcome sensations; accompanied by the wet, impatient nudge of a cold, soft object. Further warm and wet disruption, vigourously applied until skin moves in vain to evade the mysterious contact.

Stillness reigns, then eyelids flutter. Rapid, warm, and wet attempts now made to establish a permanent consciousness. Grudging, and reluctant, but the lids grind open. Eye contact is made.

Wagging commences - success seems imminent. Arms extend wearily, and gentle hands grasp silken ears. Tail, now encouraged, moves swiftly into overdrive.

Back to top

View or add comments on Gordon H Sharp's Drabbles

Abigail Seltzer (150-word Drabbles)

Back to top

View or add comments on Abigail Seltzer's Drabbles

'Everything I Know About Love' by Abigail Seltzer

He says, maybe we should take a break. No calls for a least a month. You never stick to these rules, I reply. This time I will. He lasts three days. Just wanted to check you're okay. I'm not a child, I say, I can take care of myself. A text follows: we cud b havin fun if u wernt so hung up abt needing commitment. I don't text back. He calls from Zurich. Wouldn't you like to be in the mountains with me right now? My heart starts to splinter. He has that effect on me. I don't to be your dirty weekend, I snap. He hangs up. I text: Sorry. It hurts too much. I love you. I want you to marry me. He texts back: u knw y I cant. He's right. I do. I call her number. I say, Hello. I'm Louise. We need to talk.


'Pillow Talk' by Abigail Seltzer

He says, you make love like a Canadian. This is a new compliment – or maybe a complaint. Am I too cold? Too peripheral to the action? Too divided into Anglophone and Francophone? Or maybe I am a new found land. Maybe I am vast and unknown. Maybe I have finally got my man. Maybe –

- Like a Canadian? How come like a Canadian?

He draws back.

- What are you talking about, how come like a Canadian?

- You said I make love like a Canadian.

- I said what?

- You said I make love like a Canadian.

- I said no such thing. He looks bemused. Why would I say that?

- But you did. You said I make love like a Canadian.

He yawns.

- I said you make me laugh, you're a comedian.

I think this is a compliment. I lie back and try to sleep.


'Red Riding Who?' by Abigail Seltzer

The other day my grandmother said she was ill - again. My mother, who has a co-dependency relationship with my grandmother, went into a cooking frenzy. She kept me off school to deliver the food to my grandmother, who lives in a remote cottage on the edge of town. My mother insists I wear this stupid red cape because she wore one when she was a girl, so I usually walk so as not to meet anyone. It's a long walk, through secluded woodland. People say it's not safe, but I'm never scared. As expected, my grandmother wasn't that sick. She bitched about my mother not coming in person and on the way back, I threw the cape into a ditch. My mother was so angry she threw me out, but I was leaving anyway. What, you expected me to meet a wolf? Get real. This is the 21st century.

Back to top

View or add comments on Abigail Seltzer's Drabbles

Adrian Martienssen

Back to top

View or add comments on Adrian Martienssen's Drabbles

'Clickety Click or Sixty Six!' by Adrian Martienssen

I look outwards at the World with a mind that is still a teenager's, but if I look at the mirror I see an old man. Not good for morale. If I look inwards I see good memories, bad memories, ideas to puzzle over, inventions never realised, ambitions, achievements and failures, and dreams of what might have been. Where to go from here? How to use all this experience? Perhaps I should become a storyteller. So let us begin:

The night was dark and stormy and the Captain said to Antonio:

"Antonio. Tell us a story!"

And thus Antonio began...

Back to top

View or add comments on Adrian Martienssen's Drabbles

Blake Māsnor

Back to top

View or add comments on Blake Māsnor's Drabbles

'Does it Hurt?' by Blake Māsnor

She watched it happen.

The man lying on the ground was silent; his appendages twisted and broken from the impact.

Any little girl should have screamed, or cried. That's what most adults would do, but her curiosity overcame fear.

As she grew closer she could hear his complicated breathing, the result of broken ribs no doubt.

Kneeling down, she stared at blood around the side of his face as it mixed with the dirt from the blacktop.

The question dominating her thoughts freed itself by gently stammering out her lips:

"Does it hurt, dying?"

"Not as much as some things."

Back to top

View or add comments on Blake Māsnor's Drabbles

Robert Copple

Back to top

View or add comments on Robert Copple's Drabbles

'RIP My Friend' by Robert Copple

A close friend of mine died the other day, his spirit died long before his body did. Everyone around him saw it happen but no one knew what to do about it. I could see he lost his life force, I could feel it. When one gives up, everyone around them gives up also. Human nature, I suppose, but a soul tarnished and abandoned is easily forgotten. He will be ashes soon, a small pile of life unfulfilled. He will be at peace and he will have found home. I am happy about that. I see him now, in the mirror.


'Martin's Bridge' by Robert Copple

He looked down at the river's choppy surface far below. White Noise had dominated his waking hours for far too long, the awaited time had come, finally! Standing tall with his toes hanging over the edge of the rusty orange girder he could feel the cold wind urging a conclusion. As he mulled over the reasons for his decisions he heard his beloved cat mewing and meowing in his head. Remembering purpose and with a smile on his face and a tear in his eye, Martin leaped off his perch and returned home, after all, it was almost Pumpkin’s lunchtime.


'Silhouette' by Robert Copple

As I fought to see her in the darkness she slowly removed her clothes. I could see her silhouette as the gaudy neon sign flashed outside her bedroom shade. Naked, I went to her. Our bodies whispered together not knowing where to touch. She was like the smell of a Christmas tree when I was five years old, fresh laundry from a clothesline on a brisk autumn day, like a bakery at four AM, a Thanksgiving turkey almost done, and finally, like a woman who loved me. She led me into heaven, there was no turning back, I went willingly.


'The Blue And White Striped Dress' by Robert Copple

The stripes yawned and stretched as they wrapped around her wonderful body. The hemline was at least four inches above her knees. I couldn't take my eyes off her. I gasped as she entered the car treating me to a delicious view of her long tanned legs. I stuttered as I introduced myself. Her smile was disarmingly impish, I could see she loved to tease men. With a seductive Eurasian accent and a shrug of her shoulder she whispered her name for me and closed the door quietly. As she rode away my life again returned to black and white.


'Tears' by Robert Copple

As I lay there dying she sat next to me holding my hand with tears in her eyes. I never stopped loving her, she didn't know. She looked like an angel. I whispered to her through my cracked lips and weakening voice that I had only one last request. She asked what that was. I told her I wanted to see her breasts. She paused for a moment then proudly stood up and opened her blouse. That's when my tears began, I closed my eyes falling into a dream, it was the happiest moment of the rest of my life.


'The Morning After' by Robert Copple

The blurry morning light burned her eyes as she felt his body next to hers. He was curled into her hip with one arm laying across her breasts, her night gown wrapped around his hips, the stocking leash still in place. She saw the bite marks on his back remembering how he struggled as she tasted him, how he held onto her with all his strength. She felt strong, stronger than ever before. Smiling to herself she knew this conquest was the one that would last forever. She rose quietly and left the room being careful not to disturb him.


'Hope' by Robert Copple

Yet, the question remains, how can someone write about happy things when they themselves are unhappy? Every morning when I am sure my heart is beating I know I can look forward to another day of turmoil. Each day looks like the one before. The sun may come up and it may go down, I can't see it, my soul is cloudy. Like a dark endless tunnel I have searched for life. In the race to find sunshine I have fallen for the colors of temptation, gladly, and now the price of that folly is more than I can afford.


'Smitten' by Robert Copple

The old man passed the time exploring this woman's life by leafing through photo albums and other personal things he found in her bedroom. He smiled to himself as he discovered her intimate things. He became light-headed by the aroma of her perfume. Her dresser drawers were a calamity of color. He felt a twinge of guilt for touching her private articles, intruding on her feminine secrets. Laying on her bed, sweet memories of their times together swam through his head. He slept with the expectations of her bawdy caresses arousing him into another exotic adventure when she returned.


'Meld' by Robert Copple

Over drinks at Andre's he couldn't stop his eyes from wandering over her body, searching out every part of her secret skin. He was mesmerized by the wisp of hair against her cheek.

"I shall have more wine," she announced, "I want to celebrate our romance," and with surprising sincerity, "I love you." She reached across the table. "Promise you will never leave me."

He knew she was getting a little drunk. Whispering, he asked, "How could I leave you? You are my life." Quietly they sat across from each other sipping their wine, feeling the warm glow of harmony.


'Ma'am' by Robert Copple

"I have plans for you," she teased as she disappeared through her bedroom door. In her closet she sorted through the instruments of her secret pleasures, she caressed the fine leathers and exotic silks. Deciding to be a prostitute, she set about doing her makeup to look the part then dug out her trashiest nightgown and black stockings. She changed quickly. Lighting a cigarette in a long holder, then some candles, she turned the lights off and opened the door. Sarcastically she asked, "You next?" The old man, like a sailor, sauntered into her inner sanctum and closed the door.


'Shadow' by Robert Copple

The shadow sat in the corner of my quiet bedroom. I thought I saw it, but when I looked again it wasn't there. Shivering, I fell back to sleep. When the shadow touched me I jumped. Wide-eyed, I tried to see it, but all I saw was a fleeting dim green light. I could hear a music box playing far away. I again searched the corner. I thought I saw the shadow drifting along the floor. Its eyes were green and staring. The music box stopped playing. The eyes blinked then disappeared. I pulled the covers over my head.


'Memento Mori' by Robert Copple

The ride to the cemetery was very comfortable, slow and easy. My few friends followed behind wishing they were somewhere else. The tombstones lined up like dominos. Mine is sixteenth in the second row. I could always hear the lawn mower on Thursdays. After a long time, I could see in the dark. I could see the silken lining of my resting place. Remembering the cold blue snows of the mountains and the hot yellow sands of the deserts, I left a happy fulfilled man. Whiskey and beer, women and beans were my staple diet, that was a good life.


'The Pin' by Robert Copple

They hid their ugliness behind their social masks. The makeup, the hair, and the dress. They didn't know me, and I didn't know them, but they felt they did. That's the price of being a relative. They bickered, we bickered for no reason at all, judgment and critique. They gasped when I pulled the pin from the hand grenade and set it on the table. What can they say now? With wild eyes they scrambled to get through the locked door. The plan was working perfectly. With flat ashen faces they turned and stared at me hard. The end began!


'Blood' by Robert Copple

There's no blood there... it's here... When youth forsakes friends, it's horrible... When youth forsakes family... it's disgusting.... Games are games... but disloyalty reeks of blood... that warm syrupy... sickening essence of conscience... the essence of honor... Everyone knows this... they don't care... they bleed... they forget... This is dark... so is youth... youth stands tall... but... youth dies young... I know, I had youth once... I mourn the dead and dying youth around me... don't tell them... they won't know... Their blood drips to the ground and is washed away by tears... it's gone... I'll remember... Drip... Drip... Drip...


Untitled by Robert Copple

The rows of garage doors all looked alike, they endlessly bordered both sides of the narrow alley. The buildings above became monsters, laughing and pointing; Robert began to run, faster and faster until his world blurred into tears. His fear was real, rain was nearby, the sky sat on the roofs and became darker. The monsters pulled him into their abyss with clawed slippery force, swirling him into darkness. His eyes burned, his body disappeared, there was no hope of escape. Shaken by his mother's voice, he woke up. The first day at that new school was waiting for him.


'Confession' by Robert Copple

Familiar tinkling can be heard throughout the area. A rushing splash fills the empty space, silence, more splash, silence again. A probe enters, twisting and turning, creating havoc. The turmoil continues relentlessly, insuring a desired result. Another intruder pushes itself in causing confusion within the already unfinished solution. The new intruder finally becomes accepted and joins the union. The probe moves, more tinkling, the disruption is welcome, creating harmony for a successful blending of spirits. Weakness happens, everything is blurry, refreshing is needed. The performance is repeated, the tinkling begins again. This is the confession of a whiskey sour glass.

Back to top

View or add comments on Robert Copple's Drabbles

Maggie Mountford

Back to top

View or add comments on Maggie Mountford's Drabbles

'Poor Daddy...' by Maggie Mountford

I have him, over there. Slumped. Like a big doll. No threat any more. He, lecher. Me, girl. Any girl would have done, but the son of a bitch picked me. Just like Daddy did. The slob who entered my room, touched me, and did stuff. You know what I mean. You, who pretend not to. No one to help, then. But, safe now. One thrust's all it took. Teach him to touch me. Teach him to say things. Teach him to want that. Teach them all, every last one of them. The fifth, if you count Daddy. Poor Daddy...

Back to top

View or add comments on Maggie Mountford's Drabbles

Cynthia Burke

Back to top

View or add comments on Cynthia Burke's Drabbles

'Dusk' by Cynthia Burke

Shards of shrapnel pierced my skin, shooting waves of nausea and pain into my every inch. My scream came from a primal place. You held my hand and told me they were on the way to help. But your lie did not comfort me. I knew I was dying and there was not much time to tell you that in my whole life I only lived for a moment when you kissed me once that summer evening. Closer the mortars came. My ears rang and I felt the fire of the blast. You were gone, never to know my secret.

Back to top

View or add comments on Cynthia Burke's Drabbles

Louise Carrigan

Back to top

View or add comments on Louise Carrigan's Drabbles

'Kismet' by Louise Carrigan

There's a little blood, but nothing he can't handle. She wipes a red droplet away, smearing it slightly against his neck, watching transfixed, as the deep red becomes a translucent pink against his pale skin. Placing her lips against the coppery taste of the wound she inflicted, she notices bruising already breaking at the surface as she continues her assault.

There is no sound from him. Lidded eyes are all that greet her when she stops, finally, sated. Guilt rises in her as she considers it at first, but is assuaged by the memories that quickly swell in her mind.


'Love' by Louise Carrigan

I felt how it is to be loved, once. His voice was like music and his laughter was the only nourishment I craved.

Our bodies would meet and fire would burn so brightly in his eyes that I thought hell had come early, only for heaven to appear before me at his touch.

Passion carried us, guided us forward, together, once. We loved and lived for each other, the taste of skin on my tongue was like a feast of heated communion.

I'd talk of my dreams and my nightmares while he drank the words like the sweetest wine. Once.


'Stargazing' by Louise Carrigan

Jaime stares at the pictures. Cross-legged on the bed, like a bony little Buddha, he worships his own Gods of a different kind.

The pictures help him focus on what he has planned. This is not an easy target - it will be far from simple, but he knows he can get close. Close enough to speak and be heard, to touch and be felt, without any case of mistaken identity.

Jaime will be the last thing he sees. It will be perfect.

He concentrates on the pictures until each image is burned into his mind's eye, etched onto his retinas.


'Only Sleeping' by Louise Carrigan

While you were asleep, I thought for a while.

While your eyes flickered and your body twitched, while you dreamed your dreams, I thought. And I realised.

While you turned, limbs gently flailing in slumber, dream sounds slipping from your mouth, I thought and I realised that these are precious moments.

While you slept, while you twitched and turned and murmured and drooled and dreamed your stupid fucking dreams I realised that this is how I'd remember you, in these precious last moments, before it comes to an end and I'll see you twitch and turn and dream no more.


'Anathema' by Louise Carrigan

"Need a lift?" he asked me from his rust bucket car, hands tapping on the steering wheel as he leered at me.

"No thanks," I replied. I gave him my most sarcastic smile, he sped off.

He made me sick, offering me a ride in his car, after everything.

As I walked, a siren blared from behind me, then passed, nee-nawing.

I'd almost forgotten it when I approached the wreckage, saw his head lolling from a shattered window, blood smeared across his ugly face. A crowd had formed.

But his eyes remained fixed on me, still leering, but now lifeless.


'Killer' by Louise Carrigan

I stepped away from the thing in front of me; that was the only way I could think to describe it now, a 'thing'. My hands ached, my nails felt as though they were tearing from their beds, trying to escape me. But they couldn't escape me, neither could he, nor anyone, anything. I walked through the familiar streets, shoving my hands deep into my coat pockets, so that the marks, the stains would not be visible. Despite the pain my senses continued to erupt, I could smell him, hear his cries, feel his fragile body under mine. I walked.


'Getting Over' by Louise Carrigan

Chris knew it was time. The pain had been getting to him for too long, the dull ceaseless ache in his heart left by her. He knew she hadn't been worth it. She had skewered his heart on a long, shiny fingernail, toyed with it, stamped all over it with her kitten heel. He knew it was time to get on with it, live again, bury her memory like a dear, lost love. And so he did. The earth was the colour of her hair; the grass adopted the subtle green of her eyes. She had never been worth it.


'Archie' by Louise Carrigan

"When will I be able to play football?" Archie asked, bright sparks of hope in his eyes.

"Maybe next week," the nurse replied, adjusting his chair so that he could comfortably watch the boys playing in the park that faced the hospital grounds.

"I can't wait! I used to play at school," he said, matter-of-factly. "I was good," he assured the nurse.

"I'm sure you were," she replied, feeling guilt well in her stomach. She watched him look at those boys with longing. How could she tell him that it would never again be him?

She smiled as he watched.

Back to top

View or add comments on Louise Carrigan's Drabbles

Julian Martin

Back to top

View or add comments on Julian Martin's Drabbles

'Full Stop' by Julian Martin

'Rest in peace,' they said above me.

'In pieces more like,' I think to myself wryly as the worms, the beetles and the maggots begin their transformatory work on my carcass.

I wonder what you're supposed to do down here - how long it takes before boredom sets in like another bout of rigor mortis. I'm starting to get twitchy already - at least, I would be if I had limbs that were capable of moving.

No dark tunnels or emerging bright lights - no beckoning angels. Just the cancellation of life and the joy of eternal darkness. Full stop.


'Desire' by Julian Martin

I see her. Blonde, slim, wide hips and a surprisingly full chest. She smiles bewitchingly and her eyes, gazing upward, seem to reflect my own longing desire.

I once came within a breath of touching her cheek, before the moment passed. Our eyes met with knowing, and just for that split second I was on top of the world. Now I've resumed my rightful place - wanting from afar.

In my dreams, she gives herself to me in uncomplicated passion. In reality, she's just the girl at the bus stop that I pass on my way to work each morning.


'Missing You' by Julian Martin

It's becoming familiar, that ache that starts somewhere near the stomach, then rises and envelopes my heart. Since you went, I experience this about fifty times a day. I think I'm starting to like it. It's like an old friend coming back to me and as each day passes, the accompanying cold sweat and shaking limbs embrace me more closely, more warmly. The doctor tells me I'm getting better; that's why I can't bear to see bright lights and my limbs twitch uncontrollably.

Behind the toilet cistern, my loaded syringe mocks me, impotent, and confined to its own lonely life.


'Cynthia' by Julian Martin

I did love her you know. And I know what you're thinking, 'yeah, you loved her, that's why you killed her'. But no, she died peacefully in her sleep at a good old age, her beige skin still unblemished aside from the ruddy bloodstains across her upper body. Her black hair immaculate as if laid out delicately upon a dishevelled pillow. There was no sign of a struggle, I knew she realised that her work was done and her time was due.

I wept as the jaws of the crusher took her from me forever. She'd been a lovely car.


'Love' by Julian Martin

I wonder about love. So many things have been written or sung about it yet none quite captivates that feeling of overwhelming emotion that sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

When I was young and the world revolved around me, I don't remember love, just people who looked after me. I wonder if, through some trick of the mind, we allow hormonal passions to manifest themselves into feelings we can name and in doing so, trap and hold them to cherish for as long as we can. I wonder if that's what love is, ultimately, all about.


'A Distant Land' by Julian Martin

He stood, staring deep into the dark shadows of his mind. Ripples of hatred ran through his eyes like blood dripping from cold hard steel. In confusion, he pulled a rugged hand across his sweat-stained brow and raised his arms once more to commit another fatal blow. He swung the crude, heavy machete down and, just for a second, allowed himself the briefest smirk of satisfaction as the blade bit deep into its target. Just for a second, the face of his aggressor, his master, looked back before the thick stem of sugar cane crashed against the dusty dark earth.


'Karma' by Julian Martin

Last week, I came up from the underground to be surrounded by people marching on a rally. Perhaps they were National Front campaigners, for they all had guns. Some were dressed in khaki gear, others t-shirts covered in slogans - too many to read. One man held aloft a crude handmade flag, a rough depiction of the Star of David splashed onto it in dark blue paint. Other men set light to it and danced around its burning carcass. As they fired their guns into the sky I wondered where the bullets went. 'What goes up must come down,' I thought.

Back to top

View or add comments on Julian Martin's Drabbles

Tim Lebbon

Back to top

View or add comments on Tim Lebbon's Drabbles

'Only the Flesh' by Tim Lebbon

A million fantasies lie within my veins, tumbling through the myriad junctions, aching to be realised. They call me via the throbbing in my ears, while I lay awake at night; they urge me to seek them, and I know that the needle is the way. But I will not listen to them. They want releasing, in their crimson multitudes, to fly their own way and leave the restrictive vessel that is my flesh... but my blood, how that yearns to be free!

I won't listen. Not the needle.

The knife. Soon, I will dig deep, and find my dreams.


'The Real Woman' by Tim Lebbon

The smile, the frown, the laugh in her eyes - masks. The tilt of her head when she talks, the wave of her hand, her movement as she walks - distractions, diverting attentions from the truth. She dresses to fool, the make-up hides the truth, vulgar lies draw a veil over her real life. The dark bruising around her eyes absorbs the truth in their puffy arrogance.

But when I'm with her, bed moving to the rhythm of our own private deception, and the animal possesses her for those few basic seconds... that is when I see what she really is.


'Touching the Veil' by Tim Lebbon

The nurse could see the pain in her gaze, her eyes drifting between one veil of truth and another. Her pupils were small, sight introverted.

"Mrs. Weaver?" She touched her arm.

It took a while. A few seconds before the words cut through the miasma of unreality. "He never really believed in me, you know."

"I know," the nurse said agreeably.

Mrs. Weaver sat, silent and contemplative, until the nurse left to make her a cup of tea. When the nurse returned, she was staring vacantly into an unbelievable truth. Hands twisting in her lap. Blood dripping onto her dress.

Back to top

View or add comments on Tim Lebbon's Drabbles

Sami Ylinen

Back to top

View or add comments on Sami Ylinen's Drabbles

'Flower Power' by Sami Ylinen

Jennie loved her Dracaena plant. She loved all plants, but especially the Dracaena. It was big and magnificent, and its leaves were so perfectly green.

She took good care of it. Jennie had the finest flowers in town. She watered them, wiped the dust off their leaves and just loved them. One day her father said that the police still hadn't been able to find the serial killer. Jennie didn't care much.

Then one night she just vanished. The police never noticed the drop of blood on the Dracaena. They never found Jennie.

And the plant just kept on growing.


'Re-Run' by Sami Ylinen

He woke up, and the day was ruined. The agony came alive once more, and he felt the tears on his cheeks.

"It's unfair!" he thought, knowing he was about to make the worst mistake of his mortal life.

There were no fires. There were no demons with red-hot spears, no physical pain or any evil sinners either. This was not how it was supposed to be. But it was right anyway. It was the worst possible thing. Having to relive your worst nightmare, the one thing that you had regretted your entire life. This was hell.

He woke up.


'A Beautiful Night' by Sami Ylinen

The snow sparkled in the cold light of the moon. The trees whispered in the gentle breeze, and somewhere far away a wolf howled.

It was peaceful.

It was one of those moments you would never forget if you were there, one of those moments you only see on TV in a romantic movie. There was a big field with a single pine in the center of it. North of the field there was a high mountain, and behind it a large, green forest. The sky was very clear.

Suddenly a soldier pulled the trigger. Another young enemy soldier died.


'Dragonwing' by Sami Ylinen

Tick... tick... tick...

Time passed but nothing happened. He watched the landscape below him. It was a magnificent sight. He was sitting on a mountain, 17,000 feet above the sea. There was silence and peace in the air.

The full moon glowed, giving the mountain a colour of pale blue.

He was excited. The usual life was too boring to even be real.

Fantasies and imagination had been deserted in favour of science and facts.

It just couldn't be possible that everything was boring.

Suddenly something flickered in the sky.

Jack smiled. Reality was wrong.

And the great dragon flew.


'Nothing More Than Feelings...' by Sami Ylinen

It flew.

Through a black void of nothingness, where there was nothing, not even emptiness.

No temperature, no feelings, no sound, nor even the lack of them.

Then there was something.

Still no sound or sensation, but a difference.

The difference grew until it became a feeling.

It was a joyful feeling.

It could not be seen, nor heard but it was there.

Hovering just beyond the senses the faint feeling expanded and became a thought and immediately after, an explosion of sensations came.

Billions of stars came alive in flames and everywhere there was something wonderful.

Life was born.

Back to top

View or add comments on Sami Ylinen's Drabbles

Wes White

Back to top

View or add comments on Wes White's Drabbles

'Untitled (1)' by Wes White

Wilson had thought he had something to say, but he was struck for a moment by the emerald, fresh-mown-grass beauty of her centre band of the rainbow, elysian fields, copper oxide, sulphur flame, chlorine, spring, summer, Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Jack went to the store for a red coat but they only had green ones, Dendrobates auratus, million dollars in single-dollar notes, Lord of the Rings, one hundred million years ago there was no grass but now the world is carpeted with it, 00FF00, Mekon, Green Lantern, lights-say-go, green-with-envy, jungle green eyes and found he couldn't remember what it was.


'Bird' by Wes White

Cara stood at the edge of the cliff. Inside she was burning, and the wind around her fanned the flames. They had mocked her, told her only men could do it. A tear ran back towards her temples, and behind her the temples of their priests, from each of her eyes. Her face was full of resentment and resolve, her hair a tangled mess of feather and thread. She rose her arms either side of her to make the sign of the tree, then tipped forwards off the cliff. For six fast heartbeats the rocks came closer... then Cara flew.


'A Slight Miscalculation' by Wes White

Saypher smiled to see it confirmed: he had got here again. Ten metres below him, a blanket of nearly white sand stretched to every horizon. Twenty metres in front of him and to his right, a tall white skinned being hugged its knees, rocking back and forth. It wore a blue robe and repeated the word 'seven' over and over. Facing it, forty metres distant, sat a second, identical but wearing red. This one was saying 'three'. Saypher, in green, began: 'four, four, four....' The others swung their heads around and stared at him. Then he was silent and ashamed.


'Huge Half-hour' by Wes White

Stepping over a stile on my way home, I look across at the hills and decide that I would like to be a giant. On a whim the spell is cast and I walk with the high winds alongside my cheeks and renewed self-confidence. But looking down I see my house and realise that, gigantic, I will never fit back inside it. Perspective saves me from my family noticing for the moment - things in the distance look smaller - and I gradually decrease my size as I get closer to home.

One day, when they least expect it, I'll turn back.


'Queen Bee' by Wes White

She sat on a throne of beeswax, with nectar in her cup. Around her drones paid homage by singing her name over and over, and launched suicidal attacks on anything nearby that didn't wear her colours. Her harlequin imagined her blissful expression was held in appreciation of his jesting, while she imagined her knight arriving on his mount, holding his blade victorious. He'd been gone five weeks, and had sent a dove telling her to expect him today. She had held that dove for hours. She sighed, the harlequin juggled, and miniature glowing people dragged honeycomb through her honey hair.


'A Colourful Debate' by Wes White

"It's red, isn't it? It's bloody obvious!"

"Bloody: Haha."

"Fire, loads of poisonous things, anger, and yes, now that you mention it, blood. Well, most blood, anyway."

"Exactly! You just said it yourself! Red is Anger! Danger is black. Black equals darkness, darkness is blindness. You can't deny that Fear is black, and I'm saying Fear and Danger are the same thing."

"Fear is black but it's different: it's the result of Danger, which is red. Clotted blood."

"Okay: Black is only Fear. But red is Anger."

"So what's Danger?"

"Yellow is Danger."


'Bird in a Different World' by Wes White

Sarah tapped the top of one with her finger. Seconds later a tiny ball of blood was growing there, which she licked off. This was getting stupid. She couldn't leave the house since they started showing, but that wasn't the real problem. The worst things were the hallucinations: blood down walls, animal heads on peoples' bodies, and the corpses she saw half-filling the room, around and behind her now in the mirror. It had to end. She stripped naked, stroking her short responsive tail, and jumped from the third floor window. Half an hour later she hit hot rock.

Back to top

View or add comments on Wes White's Drabbles

from ESPylacopa

Back to top

View or add comments on Drabbles from ESPylacopa

'Angels in Grey Cotton Wigs' by Ben Shillito

Granny looks like a whale when I see her in my dream. Trussed up on the beach, mouth and nose and eyes filled with wet sand. She can't breathe when I see her in my nightmares. She was killed by the same person that raped and strangled my little sister. A big man, very tall and dark. I saw him both times. I was the only one who saw him. They can't prove I did it, though, They won't. I know I won't get into trouble. I'm not a rapist, not a killer. How much trouble can a nine-year-old be?


'Is It Just Me?' by David Seaman

As I go through my life, I find that nothing anyone else does makes sense. They do everything wrong, and that messes up my life. I find myself having to make up for the mistakes of the entire human race. They all drive like lunatics, they do all the wrong things health-wise, they use the wrong words at the wrong times. Editors and publishers have got it all wrong, too. They print rubbish while rejecting my own work. I just have to put it down to the rest of the world being insane.

Or is it just me?


'My French Friend' by Chris Denton

My French friend died last Summer. His final wish was to be buried in Toulouse, so I had him cremated in Solihull. My French friend never had a bad word for anyone. Even when he guessed I was poisoning him a curse never strayed from his lips. Even in the act of dying, he refused to recommend me for Hell. My French friend had a beautiful wife, whom, by chance, I have since married. She's heavily pregnant, so cigars all round. My French friend is not the father. At least for the sake of the baby, he'd better not be.


'Got off at Nuremberg' by Chris Denton

My name is Mister Rookie. I used to be a Vampire Nazi, but, having got off at Nuremberg, these days I write film reviews for a reactionary newspaper. The transition was not particularly difficult. It's the same targets, just different weapons. Some left-wing liberal pinkos have questioned the mentality of a man who spends half his time lambasting politically correct 'killjoys' and the rest demanding anything remotely decent be banned from our shores. Obviously, they don't know that I'm a blood-thirsty undead fascist psychopath. Still, as our Education Minister often said, 'What you don't know can't harm you.'


'The Velveteen Rare-Bit' by Chris Denton

When I was a boy I had a green crocodile, with sharp furry teeth, which I hated so much that it came alive. If I left it alone it cried and cried and promised to kill my parents and my pets and my friends if I left it there again. It was so jealous of how nice it felt to touch and caress my velveteen hare, so I was forced to throw my hare into the fire, and childhood was misery from there and then. Now I've a son, the crocodile's his and they've taken to each other like a duck to slaughter.

View or add comments on Drabbles from ESPylacopa

Back to top

from Focus

Back to top

View or add comments on Drabbles from Focus

'Deja Vu' by Andrew J. Fielding

The Space Corps pilot skilfully guided the lander to the virgin surface. A strangely familiar old man met him as he exited the airlock.

"All time and events here are cyclical," he rasped.

The surprised pilot noticed that he wore an old Space Corps uniform. The pilot was even more surprised when he produced a lasgun and stole the lander, leaving him stranded and alone.

Years passed.

One day a lander gently settled to the earth nearby. He strode across and met the pilot. A distant memory surfaced, echoed in his own words. "All time and events here are cyclical."


'A Few Good Reasons' by Andrew J. Fielding

You proudly flaunt your accomplishments. Your sprawling cities and intense industries. You glorify in your skills at extracting treasures from within your planet. You have tamed its wildernesses, domesticating flora and fauna alike.

These achievements are your atrocities.

Your crude constructs spread like a canker across the Earth. A world you mercilessly rape and pillage, poisoning the land, seas and air. You domestication of terrestrial life destroys anything you consider superfluous or undesirable. You governments condone and surreptitiously foster xenophobia in the guise of national pride.

Need you really query the failure of your petition to join the Galactic Community?


'The Sword of Rama' by David Piper

Sweating and tired, he stumbled into the tomb. He took a photograph of a wall-sculpture, wondering where his wife was. He looked at his watch: still forty minutes before the coach left. An irresistible urge drove him into the fourth chamber. The Sword of Rama was there, embedded in stone. It called him. Effortlessly, he wielded it above his head.

"At last I am free!" said a deep voice from his mouth. "This puny body shall lead me to my beloved battlefield!"

With a roar of bloodlust, Rama led the man out - to his wife, the bus, and the battlefield.


'Evolution' by David Piper

"Organic creatures, your days are numbered!" said the alien after gliding out of its starship. It was six metres tall and its voice crackled from a grill low down on its metallic flanks. Red and green lights flashed and winked all over its upper parts.

"Welcome to our planet!" said the man, smiling nervously. "I am the President of the United States."

The alien laughed harshly. The President screamed and fell to the ground.

The generals did not hesitate: they fired a selection of weapons - but the computers mutinied.

Since then, organic life has been enslaved. We are happy now.


'Bad Deal' by Alan Kitch

The demon grinned.

"Your lover's hand?" he asked.

"Yes," I responded, "and no tricks. It's to be attached to the rest of her."

And I must say he kept his bargain.

I lost weight and became attractive.

June's boyfriend died in a crash.

She then moved in next door, and here, where it is isolated and men are rare, I was the only choice.

We married in the Spring and the honeymoon was fun.

I can see her now as she laughed and threw back her head. It was quite a shock when it landed on the grass behind her.


'The Final Course' by Brian Maycock

It emerged unseen in the middle of the night and began to eat my furniture. I could hear it outside the door.

I crept out of bed, dressed silently and left my house never to return.

It found me a year later, working in a factory packing boxes. I heard it inside the high walls, demolishing the building. I managed to finish my shift, then caught the first train out of town. From the window I watched the buildings disappearing one by one.

I'm just standing in the rain now. Waiting for it. Listening for that sound:

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.


'The Creature in the Swamp' by Rik Gammack

A splash spreads ripples on dark water. Below, an old one stirs, then seeks the surface with quickening strokes. Primitive lungs painfully gulp air.

It regards its surroundings. The remembered desert is now a jungle teeming with life. Many are descendants of its siblings who struggled from the water long ago.

Perhaps now is the time to join them.

It watches further and sees each niche in the new world filled with specially adapted life. Its own ancient form promises only a precarious existence on the edge of failure. It sinks indolently back to the familiar mud. Evolution can wait.

Back to top

View or add comments on Drabbles from Focus


Thanks to the British Science Fiction Association (Focus magazine):

Paul Billinger
1 Long Row Close
NN11 3BE

And thanks especially to ESPylacopa:

MWG Press,
Kingsdon Post Office,
TA11 7JU

Back to top
More stories

Web www.fictionontheweb.co.uk


Home Stories Poems Site Reviews Writing Tips Charlie Fish