Drawn by the sound of the propellers, the lunchtime crowd looked to the sky. An airship passed over the skyscrapers, plumes of black, virus-laden smoke spewing behind it. Traffic below stopped. People paused on the sidewalks and watched the cloud sink slowly towards them.
Archive for 10 and Up
“Foul temptress?” I said, stepping back, clanking in my armor. A suit of plate mail often appears when I’m startled. I wished the armor away and replaced it with soft green leggings and a deerskin shirt. “Wily seductress?”
“Damsel in distress.” She leaned against a tree, hands clasped before her.
I clutched my stick and looked around. “Immediate distress, or general distress?” I worried about ogres, or killbots. They often menace damsels, and when the wind’s wrong, you can’t smell them coming, neither rotten meat nor engine oil. It’s hard to hurt an ogre or a killbot with a staff, but I’m useless with a sword. I used a blade on my first few outings, but after chopping off my feet six times, I switched to a stick.
Rated PG. Contains slight profanity, drug use, and violence against were-ape ninjas.
A razor-sharp blade shot out of the wall and whipped in front of the teen’s face. Xnab hauled him back and spun him around.
“First thing you have to learn in this business: never kick anything. Got that?”
“Yes sir. Sorry sir.”
“What’s the second thing?”
Rated PG. Contains no sexual content or strong language. Does contain whirling blades of death.
On the morning after his death, a clear fluid began to leak from the Jenny‘s mainmast: slow, glistening droplets that curled out and ran downward from where the knives were stuck in the wood. “It’s water,” said the ship’s cook. “But not fresh. Salt. Like blood.”
“Not like blood,” said Big Tom, who had also tasted it. His cheeks were sunken, and his eyes were hollow and dark. “Not like blood — like tears.”
Rated PG. Contains violence, supernatural themes, and sailors who do not swear.
By Scott Janssens.
Read by Stephen Eley.
“Would you notice if I was replaced by an alien?” your girlfriend Heather asks over her Greek salad.
You’ve been dating for eight months. Surprises in the relationship are rare now, but this catches you completely off guard. “What?” you say.
By Greg van Eekhout.
Read by Stephen Eley.
You turn a lever that pops open the cover of the control pad. There’s a big red button labeled OPEN AIRLOCK. You jab it. Then you jab the CONFIRM button. Then you push the handle thing, and it’s all over.
Note: This piece marks the debut of Escape Pod’s flash fiction — very short stories that will be released between our weekly issues on an irregular basis. We chose “Oasis” as our first because, well, it’s about an escape pod. One can even imagine our logo image as the illustration for this story.
The dinner was not what you could call an unqualified success. The best that could be said for it was that we survived. And Uncle Dennis couldn’t even say that much.
That was my fault, too, I guess. I pissed God off, and all of your major religions will tell you that that’s something you want to try and
avoid. But I still think of Him as ‘Dad,” and when was the last time you just meekly did what your father told you to do? Okay, sure, your father isn’t God, but mine wasn’t always God, either.
Rated PG. Contains sexual innuendo and lighthearted heresy.
The man opens his hand, the one that’s been in his pocket all this time. A shiny brass bottle lies there, small in his large palm. A band of flowery, unreadable lettering is etched just beneath the narrow neck. Otherwise the surface is flawless: no dents, no scratches, no dirt.
My hands tremble; my heart pounds so loud I have trouble thinking. That’s the real thing he’s holding, no doubt about it. He might still be a cop. But I flip into park, and roll the window down.
Rated PG. Contains some profanity, vehicular violence, and poor judgment.
The Chinese are particular about their designs, and for good reason. A design with good feng shui — one that satisfies the universe’s sense of metaphor — attracts chi, the energy that raises mountains and pushes rivers and draws good fortune near and keeps tax collectors far away. Whether by accident or design, no one can say, but the Burger Pods have potent feng shui. Where normal men would see nothing but gleaming stainless-steel cabinets and a charbroiling grill, a feng shui practitioner would see arms and hands, cradling the Burger Pod’s occupant and bathing her in chi.
Rated PG. Contains sexual innuendo, mild profanity, and food service employees slacking off.