Microfiction is any story told in 300 words or less, and could even be as short as a few words.
Time slips, a soul jumps, startled by the appearance of father time. He’s not alone; another stands nearby cloaked in a black hood.
“Why are you afraid, child?”
“The man on TV said I should be.”
“Do you see anything around you to be afraid of?”
“Do you see anybody dropping dead in the streets?”
“No, but the mask protects us.”
“Do you see people who don’t wear masks dropping dead in the streets?”
“Child, there are people who get sick every day and die of one thing or the other, but life goes on. If you want to be afraid, be afraid of the man on TV.”
“Because he makes money off of people’s fear. He’s what you call a bogeyman. Use to only frighten children into good behavior. But these days, it works on adults too.”
“Are you afraid of the virus?”
“No, Child, I’m not afraid. We got a roof over our heads, food growing in the garden, and a well for water. Now, you let those things go away. And I’ll be afraid.”
“I quit,” said the last good officer, and all hell broke loose the very next day.
Good was evil, evil was good; everyone suffered.
“Who let them in the house?”
“Stupid, I guess.”
“Can we do anything about it?”
“Stop being stupid.”
“Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I mi—.”
“Cynthia! This is your third warning. There is no I in Build Back Better World.”
“Sir, new research proves there was life on Mars. And I’m not talking microbial.”
“Are you saying Martians lived on the Red Planet?”
“Yes, but it was not always red.”
“How do you know?”
“Antarctica, Sir—we found a Martian spacecraft underneath the ice. And according to their logs, Mars was blue just like earth.”
“Amazing, what turned it red?”
“Some of their researchers wanted to keep their cush jobs, so they spewed out a bunch of “End Of The World As We Know It” crap to all the college kids. And well, those suckers believed it. Before long, they were getting one grant after another, so they kept it going, and why not? The money was good. But years later, things got a little out of hand.”
“Out of hand?”
“Well, all those kids graduated being scared of every little piss-ass thing their leaders told them to be scared of, and a few of the rich ones became scientists. And wouldn’t you know it, they figured out a way to save themselves with a weather modification machine. You know, to cool the planet and all.”
“But they’re all dead.”
“Like I said, dead of stupidity. And Sir, some of our best scientists are rich college-educated kids.”
“I see where you’re going with this, and that could be a problem. But hey, the money is good, right?”
“That is is, Sir, that it is.”
“Gentlemen, we need to get people of color to be racist against whites. It’s their turn, after all, right? And tell white people their whiteness caused all the world’s problems, that will piss a lot of them off.”
“Why do we need to do this?” asked a young man from the back row.
“Because we never want them to fully unite; if they do, our power will cease to exist, as will we.”
“Mr. Big, we may have taken this weather modification thing a little too far.”
“What do you mean?”
“We were trying to cool the planet, you know, to stop Global Warming, and well—Texas is freezing its ass off right now.”
“What went wrong?”
“I was typing away on my oil-based cell phone while sucking my milkshake through a big plastic straw and accidentally spilled it all over the “I don’t know what the F$%K I’m talking about button.”
Control is lost, skin tears, the body screams as a faceless man crawls out. “Help me.”
“Let’s go, Carl. They should have been here by now.”
“I know, but I promised TJ we’d look after ’em.”
“Jim and Mike are old enough to take care of themselves, now let’s go, the rest of the boys are getting restless and could give two shits about them. Truthfully, we were all tired of hearing their bullshit. You sending them over Beech Mountain to hunt was a blessing to our ears.”
“Maybe so, but TJ is going to be none too happy if I show up without his brothers.”
“Listen, I know your families go way back, but times are different. And we’ve been helping them out for a while now with little in return. That bunker of theirs is the only reason they’ve made it this long. And their dad built that. They’re all a bunch of freeloaders, if you ask me—drained their poor dad down to nothing before he died. We should have killed them all and took their food right after Yellowstone blew.”
“Family is Family up here, you know that. We”d all be dead if we hadn’t been watching out for one another. Look at the Hedrick brothers over there; they saved your ass last summer. Earl, Larry, hell, all of us have stepped up when needed, and the Jones boys will too.”
Mick and Lucy drove across the country on a great road trip; food, water, and fuel gifted to them by the people in each town they entered. They were superstars of a silent planet. Everyone else was dead.
The man stared, a face in the tree stared back.
The man sat, head against its trunk.
The man died, and the tree absorbed his flesh.
A woman stared, two faces in the tree stared back.
“Son, you just about blew it with your damn laptop. Luckily The Party has cleaners to mob up after dumbasses like you.”
The son frowned at the statement.
“Now, now. Turn that frown back into a smile for the people— were an All-American Family, remember.”
Sadly his statement was becoming an all too true reality.
“Sir, do you want harm to come to your grandmother or someone’s child? The vaccine is safe, and the vaccination passport will allow you to travel. I see here you’ve been on many cruises. Your digital card will store all your information: test results, proof of vaccinations, etcetera. It’s for your safety.”
“Of course—now roll up your sleeve so I can give you a shot— nurse Hazel, can you bring me another vial of 666.”
“SJW, why did you let the fox in the henhouse?” said Henny nervously.
“Fox said he would get rid of OM and give us free feed for life. And he doesn’t want any eggs in return.”
“SJW, it’s not the eggs he’s after.”
“Free feed for life,” SJW said again.
The Fox chuckled as he ate them all. “I did not lie.”
The sides clashed; they could not agree.
“Silence those peasants,” yelled the Queen.
“Which ones?” asked the henchman.
“The conservatives. The others have already been silenced; their voice is ours. Pawns waiting for the next move.”
We were on the front porch when it happened. And how fortunate we were to be living on the edge of a death zone. It was like being shot at and having the bullet drop at your feet because you were out of range. The eruption was massive, and I was born the very next week.
“Luck, you come on in the house now; it’s time to eat.”
Well, I have to go, Momma’s calling.
“Where are you going?” asked a reporter via radio as a huge crowd gathered to watch.
“To search for land where I can be free. Earth is F#@ked.”
“Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Freeeedom!”
Vultures circled; the eagle was dead. Dropping down, they consumed the last bits of freedom from a soulless land. Fear ruled the day. And the people got what they deserved, not what they voted for.
“It’s sure to save the planet.”
“Yes, follow me.”
“Where are we going?”
“Stay close. It’s sure to save the planet.”
“But I can’t see.”
“I can stay close.”
“Don’t worry; I know what I’m doing,” Greta said one last time as they went over the cliff.
A huckster yelled out, “Get your mask now; the number of infections could be ten times higher in the coming months. Get your mask now. I have them in pretty colors.”
“What about the deaths—-what’s that number,” a young man yelled back from the ground.
Infections, my boy, did you not hear me? They are rising.”
“So what, the number dying is similar to the flu. Why didn’t you sell your mask then?”
The huckster grew frustrated because the crowd was starting to walk away.
“Now listen, my friends, this young man is putting you in danger. The infections, remember the infections they are rising.”
The crowd continued on its way, so the huckster, now worried, yelled out as loud as he could one last time, “This just in, a new strain of Covid is infecting people it may be more deadly than the last. Get your mask now before it’s too late. I have them in pretty colors.”
The crowd came running back, and the boy shook his head in disbelief.
“Lisa! Get our bug-out-bags; we have to leave. I’m going to run the livestock into the woods; meet me there.”
It’s been a year and a half since the eruptions, and the volcanic winter that ensued has turned the world gray leaving survivors to fend for themselves.
At the gate, Lisa found her husband shooing the last of their chickens into the woods, hoping the thieves would not get them all. “Let’s go,” she said, “I don’t want to reach Maidie’s after dark.”
And with that, Jeff and Lisa Wilson left everything behind to seek shelter on the other side of the mountain. Would anything be left upon their return?
“Too many to fight.”
“I know, replied Jeff as he watched looters kick in their front door. Five years earlier, he had carried her across the threshold, and it was all he could do to keep from killing the man in his crosshairs.
Roy Snyder had a decision to make; resign and focus on family or remain Sheriff of the highest town this side of the Mississippi. What’s left of it anyway. Beech Mountain’s survivors were few, and he only saw them occasionally.
“There’s nothing left to protect,” he raged, turning over a file cabinet in the process. “There’s nothing left to protect.”
His world was dying under the cold red skies of a volcanic winter. The awards hanging on the wall meant nothing to him now; he went home.
I awake, a cold breath filling my lungs. Slipping out of my sleeping bag, I search for the radiant heat of a small ember to stoke the fire. Daddy is still sleeping, and the sun will bring us no warmth on this day.
“Wicked me this, and stave off the pot—give up your friend, and death find you not.”
“Eat me at will; my flesh is with rot—poisonous to witches cold or hot.”
“A winter stew it will be, rot or not—the pot is for rats, and they’ll like you hot.”
“This rhyming must end, for I must go—his name is Matt, and I never liked him anyway.”
With one last breath, the body exhaled, deflating into death, its soul rising or falling with it, depending on a life lived. “A voyage we will all take one day,” said the priest.
The body released her soul, and I looked up, my one-year-old niece in my arms. We waved goodbye as my father wailed uncontrollably; he would not see his wife again for another five years.
BB sat in a smoky backroom laughing, “Oh My God, it was so fucking easy. And the lies were outlandish, but here we are. Those dumb sons-of-bitches fell for it hook, line, and sinker.”
Lying in bed, Tyler tries to sleep, but the woman refuses to let him. Standing in the doorway, naked, her skin white from the acid thrown on her. She tries to talk, but painful sounds are all he hears—a haunting memory. The alarm rings again, “Engine 15, infant choking, 225 Kilborne Drive.”
“You can hate me if you like, but I’m doing it anyway.” Drew turned the key and pushed the button. His comment was to God, and the hell he unleashed from beneath the ground was nuclear. World War III had begun.
Fiery mushrooms were exploding in every country, including Drew’s, and they were all poisonous. City after city, life after life perished from the earth in an instance. Was it worth it? he thought.
Climbing to the surface, he let the radiation take him. It was the 8th day, and God said, “Let there be darkness.”
Game day, the players are running out onto the field for Super Bowl LIII. The fans are screaming for their favorite team, and the excitement is intensifying.
Outside 200 mini-drones have been released from multiple vehicles staged around the city. As they close in on Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, they merge together to form 20 attack squadrons.
The first squadrons hit the front glass of the stadium with one mini explosion after another, clearing the way for the rest to fly through. Inside they release their deadly cargo over the fans. Panicked, they rush the exits killing more people as they flee. A sports center reporter describing the event is spotted by one last drone. It heads straight for him and detonates.
Game day is over. The remaining drones fly out of the stadium and into the city streets, causing more chaos until their batteries die.
Sheeple, you have a problem, the grid has gone down, and your modern world has just disappeared into the dark. The car you let run down to almost empty will not get refueled. The gas pumps no longer work, and the tanks will be siphoned out by looters within days.
As you walk home, you look up and notice something you haven’t seen in a while. A night sky full of bright stars that were once hidden by our electric light pollution.
Moving along, you sense the fear growing in the others around you who want the same thing; power, your entire lives have revolved around it. It did everything for you.
As the last bit of light fades from their screens, people call out, “Mom! mom, are you still there,” cries one. “Honey, I’ll be home soon,” says another. You look at your phone, but it’s already dead. No reflection shines off your face.
The cyberattack that took down the power grid was well planned, and the entire nation is in the dark. You listen to the news coming from an emergency radio carried by the girl next to you. The others listen too, and panic sets in as a nearby stores get looted.
When you get home, you look in the freezer for something to eat and take out a frozen dinner. Instinctively, you swing around to open the microwave door. Pausing, the gravity of the situation sets in, and you sink to the floor in tears, not knowing what to do. Tonight you are safe, but what about tomorrow?
A bee flew to a flower for its nectar. Landing, he asked, “Where are the others
“They have all died. I am the only one left. Where are the bees?”
“They have died also. I am the only one left.”
“The snake said the flowers were using us, so we stayed away.”
“The snake told us the bees were stealing our nectar, so we hid from them.”
“We should have never listened; we needed each other to survive.”
“As the flower wilted, the bee fell to the ground beside her. And the snake slithered by.
“You don’t become a hero with the pinning of a badge,” said the Captain to the rookie.
“If not then, when?” he asked.
“You’re about to find out,” he replied as they arrived at a fully involved high rise fire. “People trapped on the third floor. Are you ready, kid?”
The next day two mothers cried as the bagpipes played.
“Mom, who made us?”
“God, I guess.”
“Who made God?”
“I don’t know.”
“My friend Billy said we came from two atoms smashing together. If that’s so, who made atoms?”
“I don’t know.”
“Drew said, aliens. could he be right?”
“I don’t know.”
“Lisa said we came from nothing. Does that mean we don’t exist?”
“I don’t know, but it seems like your friends think they do — I can tell you this.”
“You came from me, and I love you very much.”
“I love you too, Mom.”
The short night, the long day.
“It’s too hot, Pappy.”
The long night, the long day.
“I hate raking leaves, Pappy.”
The long night, the short day.
“It’s too cold, Pappy.”
The long night, the long day.
“My allergies are killing me, Pappy.”
The short night, the long day.
“It’s too humid, Pappy. Pappy, are you listening to me?”
“Hush, I’m thinking.”
“The night I should have kept my pants on.”
His debut instant wealth book was six hundred and sixty-six pages long. It promised riches, and all Jim had to do was place his right hand on the last page, which he did. In an instant, he was rich. But life is short, and eternity was a different story.
Every atom in the universe stilled as the toxic energy from one spread to them all. Expansion stopped—an apple with two bites out of it, lay on the ground beneath the Tree of Life; fruit it no longer bears.
Millions of years have passed, and all evidence of a technological society has melted away in the earth’s core. Two people have survived in an unknown green zone; a man and a woman. Others live in the wastelands, but they have been too busy to seek them out. A child is on the way, and the woman must stay healthy. Eating an apple, she offers a bite to her husband.
They rose up through white clouds; Mary was so excited. she was on her way to heaven. “Look, we’re almost there, baby!” Reaching back for her husband’s hand, it slipped away as he fell to an earthly hell. Mary cried in her mother’s arms.
Lilly was wet and needed to warm herself. Breaking off a dead pine tree limb, she ran to an overhang and used her fire striker to light the wood’s resin. “Thank you, Daddy, for teaching me how to survive,” she whispered as she fell asleep by the fire.