A collection of short stories crafted for the
12 Short Stories in 12 Months challenge run by
Men and women stood in a line. It stretched across barren land and ended, quite abruptly, at a white tent. No birds flew overhead. No creatures scuttled for undergrowth. There was no undergrowth. Only the dirt. Only the harsh glare of the sun.
Lucy woke slowly. Sleep clung to her mind like warm toffee. She pulled at her consciousness and watched as it came toward her. It was a reluctant thing, kind of Lucy-shaped, and it was knee deep in a thick, slow moving stream. The Lucy-shaped-thing moved against the flow. It wasn’t making much ground.
The Gypsy Dream
The marketplace bustled with activity. Animals bleated and bells jangled. The smell of too many
creatures in too small a space. Of spiced foods and sweet foods. Foods frying and still more cooking on
open fires. A multitude of colours as the trappings of different races and species merged and writhed
like some giant organism.
A Priestess of Vesta
Sabina watched the fire. It’s eternal glow a warm and solid presence. She selected a few logs
from a nearby wood stack and shoved them into the hearth. Sparks flew to the new kindling. The
flames rose and the wood snapped and crackled. Vesta was a hungry Goddess.
Babalwa pushed her fingers into the pile of clothing that lay on her bed. She grabbed fabric, scrunched tight and then threw the unsuspecting garment into a large canvas bag. Her hand reached out again and repeated the process. Back and forth she went, grabbing at a shirt, or a skirt, or a pair of pants, balling the clothes up and then smashing them into the bag.
Of Shadows and Storm
Eshente stepped through the night. Her footfalls beat a soft cadence against the backdrop of chirruping
bugs and in the distance she could hear the soft grumble of a storm building. Clouds had been gathering
overhead for some time and no moonlight shone through.
Madame Gresham’s Finishing School for Ambitious Young Ladies
It was almost a kiss. Moonlight had dappled against their skin; a kaleidescope of shadow and light
filtering through the oak canopy. The chirrup of night bugs had filled the air and Fiona’s eyes had
Thell arched her wings too late. The slight updraft that should have slowed her fall didn’t come. Her
smacked into the
rough brick and she flung forward. She threw her hands out, pumped her wings furiously, and grappled
for solid purchase.
A New Life
Lucy lived her life on gut feel and a creative budget. She was no stranger to unusual rental
and dirt, but this? This was a new low. She ran a finger against the wall, pushing grime aside to reveal
trace of the faded wallpaper below. It might have been roses once, Lucy wasn’t sure.
Buhle dipped her oar into the Lagoon. Ripples spread out across the surface, distorting the once
city that lay
beneath the water. It had been called Cape Town, but that was before the ocean invaded the land, before
went mad and before humankind changed…
Dust lay thick on the furniture. Spots of sun leaked through the worn curtains. Somewhere, a rodent
away on clawed
feet. Kayla stood in the middle of the living room and sighed. She wasn’t sure why she had come. She had
many years to this place, to the waiting.
The dress was torture. Lace dug into flesh. Satin coiled, a slow compression from waist to throat.
swaths of pallid pink crested atop roiling waves. Raega was drowning. She tried to remain steady, eyes
the mirrored wall before her, but she was drowning and today she could not hide it.
The hive was beautiful. A drop of sunlight twisting in lazy loops. It all but glowed with promise and
licked his lips in anticipation. He squinted up at the hive and his brain began to whorl. The hive was a
six meters from the ground, but that was hardly the problem. The real problem, the thing that gave Harry
was the Gigantus Fungalus.
The cloud was thick and acrid. It coursed into the kitchen intent on assault. Jessica stumbled back. An
mitt (rust brown with bruises from past battles) fell to the floor. Jessica swore and then she hacked,
words getting caught on the soot and the quickly thinning air.
Nyah jostled against the other women. Bodies in various stage of undress pressed in on all sides. The
locker room was silent of talk. Women shed the green overalls of their employ and replaced them with the
dull tones of Labour Caste.