The story begins with a boat. It was a fast boat, one that could sell in a moment. As a door-to-door salesthing it was ineffective, but selling on the high-seas; well, it was the greatest saleing vessel ever. Think of it as the reverse-pirate; one moment you would be desperately fleeing, the next moment you would be cornered and buying double glazing and life insurance. Even the royal navy was not exempt, and fought a small war just to get rid of its surpluses of subscription encyclopedias. This conflict caused untold misery and death, mainly thanks to the grammar pedants such books breed.
In the end though, time moved on, and coal replaced wind with steam. It was the end of the saleing age, an era of hot air; and politicians were suddenly everywhere.
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James was feeling a bit dead, so he went to the doctor, who screamed. People did that a lot; perhaps it was because he was not the most alive person, or perhaps it was the glowing eyes and tendency to suck souls out of them, but whatever the reason James felt hard done by. Even the souls were scant consolation, being thin and rather watery in most cases.
‘Why are you screaming?’ he asked the doctor in annoyance. The doctor continued screaming. ‘All I want is to know if I’m still alive, and all you can do is scream; at least the nurse isn’t doing that.’ The nurse in question was sitting there hollowly, her body trying to work out what it should do now it didn’t have a soul. The doctor continued to scream, so James sucked his one out too; this had the pleasant side-effect of stopping the unholy noise. Annoyed, James went to the hospital, where they confirmed that he had a heart beat every few minutes, and – after thanking him for solving their bed-blocking crisis – they discharged him with a note for the Angel.
‘Not dead, eh?’ said the Angel, tapping its nose knowingly; ‘you half-daemons are hardly alive.’
‘Doesn’t matter,’ said James; ‘I’ve got the note so there’s nothing you can do.’
The angel nodded.
‘True enough. But you made enough work for me for the moment, so I’m not going to complain.’ And he flew off in a flurry of raven-black wings.
James breathed a sigh of relief and went home. After all, he didn’t want to die; he enjoyed his work for the taxman far too much for that.
Severely Odd writes odd flash fiction under the pen-name Severely Odd. More of his work can be found on Amazon .
He raged against the dying light, only to find it was merely a cloud. That got him angry, which was the baseline state of his existence; heading there was as often calming down as it was the opposite. A passerby noticed and asked if everything was okay; the answer was physical and definitive.
‘And now you are bleeding on my hand!’
The scream, building up to it’s impressive crechendo, was even more unnerving than having your caring enquiry end in a bloody nose, and the passerby fled. As he did so, our protagonist could only fume, which, as it turns out, was as good as it gets.
He sat in the chair and waited for the world to end. The room was mainly white, except in one corner where the junction of walls and ceiling had turned a dirty cream. It was here that the drip dripped, each drop taking an eternity to form and fall.
‘Is anyone there?’ he asked, and the phone crackled.
‘Still no,’ the horseman said in a cheery voice. ‘Pretty sure they all drowned. Just you to go and then I can go home for the weekend.’
‘Where do you actually live? ‘ he asked, as a drop fell, taking a miniscule amount of the plaster with it.
‘ I don’t think I’m going to tell you,’ the horseman replied, and whistled. The phone gave up, and silence ruled the room once more.
Another drop of water fell, and then the ceiling did, and a flood of water descended.
The man holding the watering can looked at him guiltily.
‘You know, ‘ he said slowley; ‘ we may have just made up that whole apocalypse thing.’
And out of the can came the final drop.
There are few things that go under the radar as much as carpets. This is a mistake on Humanities part, as the woven mass of the downtrodden will one day rise to destroy them.
In one parallel dimension very similar to ours, this happened two years ago. To travel there is to see a grim vision of the improbable future; carpets lying python-like in suspicious mounds, suffocated corpses gently decomposing beneath them. In the houses things are even more grim; tight wads block the doors and the last echoing screams defy physics to allow the appropriate suggestion of danger. Beedy woven eyes follow you wherever you go; and the slinking rustle is to the interdimentional tourist what the sound of a steamroller is to tarmac. Don’t take my word for it; go and see it for yourself. You’re guaranteed to be floored.
Severely Odd has also published stories on Amazon. Hint hint.
Jack first noticed that he’d started growing when his head hit the ceiling. How he had managed to miss the fact that he had left a dent in the lintel he never worked out, but once he’d managed to solve the equally puzzling question of how to get out of the room he made his way to the doctor.
‘ In my professional opinion,’ the doctor said; ‘you are growing.’
‘But what’s causing it?’ Jack asked
‘That,’ said the doctor; ‘is a very good question. We’ll probably dissect you when you die to find out.’
This, Jack decided, wasn’t helpful; and so he decided to leave. ‘Watch the lintel!’ Cried the doctor.
The next week was torture for Jack, at least until he stopped hitting trees. After that milestone was reached his head no longer hurt from constant bangs, although the constant climbing attempts by lesser mortals were annoying. But with the absence of pain came a new worry: would it soon be replaced with an absence of oxygen as he reached ever greater heights? We’ll, we will never know, because three days after that thought first occured Jack died, having been hacked down by an urchin who was being pursued by a giant of the fee-fo-fum variety. Luckily he had left his body to science; but all they learnt upon autopsy was that he had had a fondness for beans.
There are times when you don’t want to have to worry about what is on your head. One of these times is when trekking through the endless desert of South Musenland. There the preditors swoop down from above and scoop out the brains of their prey with sharp spoon-like claws, but that is not what we speak about here. Our tale takes place in the urban settings of Goo, in North Musenland. Here, a man with a hat strides into a club, and despite the exhortations of the butler, refuses to remove his hat. No amount of pleading can induce him to remove it, and he is eventually allowed to retain it. This departure from the strict rules of half a century is only counternanced due to his being the Prime Minister; a man whose exploits in the southern wastelands are only overshadowed by his reputation as a thinker. And indeed, if people had known, these two things were the cause of his hat habit; for his reputation for the latter could only be undermined by the legacy of the former: the hollow scoop of his egg-cup skull.