It Was All a Dream, Right?

photo of empty dimly lit hallway
Photo by Deepain Jindal on Pexels.com

Richard’s eyes snapped open, he found himself on his bed sweating and breathing hard.

“It was all a dream?”

He looked at his hands and saw words written on them…

“It was not a dream.”

Richard screamed and leapt backwards away from his hand. Continue reading “It Was All a Dream, Right?”

The Magician

magic-2034144_640
Image from Pixabay by Annca

Richard took a deep breath as he stood on the stage. The spotlights were blinding, and he could barely see the audience. Today was the day he had been preparing for days.

“Hello Richard. That’s a nice costume.” A male judge spoke. “what will you be doing for us?”

Richard stuttered. But managed to speak.

“Magic, sir. I will be doing magic.”

“Magic! I love magic tricks. Alright, everyone, let’s all give Richard a round of applause.”

Despite the noise, Richard could only hear the loud beating of his heart.

Continue reading “The Magician”

9 Tips for Writing Better Short Stories — A Writer’s Path

I stumbled upon these helpful tips for writing better short stories. I have been trying to write more short stories, so these tips have been very helpful. I will try my best to incorporate them in my works.

I hope that they would be helpful for you, too.

Have a nice day.

 

 

by Allison Maruska In April, I was a judge for two writing contests – Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver contest and Ryan Lanz’s short story contest. I was honored to be asked to fill the role once, let alone twice. And while I enjoyed judging great stories, I also learned a few things about […]

via 9 Tips for Writing Better Short Stories — A Writer’s Path

Revisiting my last NANOWRIMO attempt

I don’t write a lot of short stories. In fact, my attempts at writing short stories often is more of a recent thing.

While looking back on some of my works, I stumbled upon my last NANOWRIMO attempt, a paranormal mystery set in a very rural place entitled “The Mystery of Barangay Wiska.”

Barangay is a Filipino word which means small settlement. It’s like the component of a city or municipality.

I thought of injecting in some Filipino folklore into the story which was set in a modern era.

Re-reading the first few chapters renewed my interest for the story. I don’t even remember the direction my story went, but I vaguely remember I ran out of ideas, and I also ran out of time with the NANOWRIMO attempt. However, I got myself up to 30 chapters…

Which got me thinking… can I complete this story? While it may not be finished as a full-fledged novel, perhaps I could at least finish the story. With fresh perspective, perhaps I can, finally, save this story from Work-in-Progress purgatory… hahaha…

As of now, I don’t know what direction I will take the story. Will it be a happy ending, or a tragic one? What lessons will my main protagonist learn? How will he grow from this encounter?

I still have a lot of unanswered questions. I guess that’s why it still is a work in progress, eh?

Let me share to you a bit of the story, please let me know what you think.

Here is a brief excerpt of the two chapters I got:

Continue reading “Revisiting my last NANOWRIMO attempt”

That time I was writing…

person using keyboard beside phone and coffee cup
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“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

I heard a voice which rumbled like a rolling boulder. I looked to my left, I looked to my right, and I even looked above my shoulder, behind me. No one was there. The room where I have been sitting in front of the computer was as empty as a poor man’s wallet.

I poised my hands to begin typing. I cracked my knuckles and aimed my index finger to hit the first key.

“I said, what the hell are you doing?”

The voice rumbled once more.

“Hello?” I tried to speak to the disembodied voice. “I’m trying to work? Writing?”

“That blank screen does not look like work in progress to me…” It replied.

“I-I don’t know where to start.”

“Do you even have a story?”

“Yes, yes I do. It’s about this group of adventurers who – ”

“YAWN.”

The nerve. The disembodied voice in my room yawned loudly.

“Just hearing you talk about your plot is making me sleepy. My grandma can tell a more compelling story about her laundry.”

Despite being insulted, I was mildly intrigued. What could this compelling story about laundry be?

“I’d like to hear about this laundry story, if you don’t mind.”

“I do mind,” it said. “It’s a really good story, but I don’t feel like talking to you. And you have the balls to call yourself a writer…”

“Why, yes, I am a writer.”

“Then write, damn it. Show me some good stuff. Stop making excuses and just write. If you don’t know where to begin, then start at the very beginning.”

“B-but that would be a boring way of telling the story.”

“Do you even have a complete story? From top-to-bottom complete?”

I could not reply. Of course my story was not completed. I did not even know how the story will end.

“Your silence is enough. Work on the story first. If it is as interesting as you say it is, then perhaps a few editing tricks could be enough to make your work much more entertaining and interesting than a straight telling of the events.”

“Now, I’m going to go pester other authors. By the time I get back, you better have a complete story. Alright?”

I nodded, and instantly found myself testing if my keyboards were drool-proof.

 

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Well Suited

cars stopped in front of pedestrian lane
Photo by Edwin José Vega Ramos on Pexels.com

I looked out the window while I took a break from my typing work. I peeked through the blinds, expecting to see the usual view I have of the busy streets from four floors above the ground.

People moved about, cars stopped and started to go again… The usual view.

I was about to go back to my work, when something caught my eye.

I saw a man standing in the street, dressed smartly in a black suit. He was standing there still as a statue, while everyone else seemed to be busy and moving.

I have not thought of it as odd, quite frankly. Perhaps he was waiting for someone?

He moved his head, and looked up.

For a brief moment, I could have sworn he was looking straight up at me.

Impossible, I thought. I was four floors up in an even taller building. There were also a lot of windows here. It would be very difficult for an individual standing on the ground to be able to spot another person inside a window in this height… Wouldn’t it?

The man’s actions made me question my logic.

I looked at him again, and found him still staring blankly and intensely at my general direction.

Perhaps there was something at the top of the building? A passing helicopter maybe? Or how about one of those advertisement billboards? Maybe there is one around here that he was reading? I tried to find reason to his act. I mean, there has to be reason, right? Why in the world would a person be looking up at my general direction for no apparent reason?

Oh, I know… It must be one of those social experiments where you look up and others would start wondering and follow suit.

I looked at the people walking around him… Do they even see him?

My eyes almost jumped off their sockets when I saw a man walk through the man in the suit!

I backed away from the window in complete shock and surprise.

“I- I must be tired…” I looked around the office as I tried to catch my bearings.

Some of my co-workers saw me, yet returned to their  monotonous typing.

I gathered my courage and went back to the window. I was prepared to see the man in the black suit still staring at whatever in my general direction. Surely, it must not be me. I parted the blinds with my fingertips and looked down.

He was gone!

I was relieved.

I guess it was just my tired mind playing tricks on me.

I turned around and found myself face-to-face with the man in the suit. His face was expressionless, his eyes cold and blank, yet he was looking straight at me.

“Found you.” The man said. He snapped his fingers and everything went black.

The Follower

man standing on brown pathway
Photo by Isaac Weatherly on Pexels.com

I once found myself in a dark alley in the busy streets of the city one night.

I must have been lost in thought, or had my heads in the cloud that night, but it was incredibly stupid of me to be up and about in a city full of people, and not have my head on my shoulders. I could have been mugged, or my pockets could have been picked.

A loud crashing metallic sound made me spun around. I could not see what it was, but from the corner of my eye, a small, dark shadow scurried into the darkness.

“Rats…” I grumbled. Or it could have been cats, I reasoned to myself as I continued my walk, every so often glancing around at the street signs and lighted business signs that plastered the area.

I had this strange feeling in my gut that I was lost. How could I be lost? I have been a resident of this city for more than twenty years. I have been to almost every inch of the place… well, almost, but there was barely an area that I was not familiar with.

I started to slowly walk and tried my best to trace my steps.

Just how in the world did this happen, and where am I?

The feeling of dread crawled up from my stomach and seemed to choke me.

Breathing became difficult.

I kept walking and walking, and stopped when I realized something.

I was back in the dark alley again.

My forehead crinkled and a scratched my head.

A loud metallic clang made me turn around quickly, and then I saw a rat scurrying in the corner away from a garbage can that it turned over.

My mouth felt dry. I gulped down what little saliva that was gathering in my mouth.

I turned around and ran.

The lights and signs and people on the street were all a blur. I did not care where my legs would take me, I just want to get the hell out of whatever place I am.

I ran and ran and ran, until I could no longer run, and had to catch my breath.

I stood there breathing and sweating.

A few moments and I could somehow no longer hear my heart thumping like a loud drum set in my ears.

I looked around and almost lost the strength in my legs.

I was in the middle of a dark alley. I knew what would happen next and spun around quickly. I saw a large, black rat feasting on the contents of a garbage can. It saw me, and quickly jumped down, knocking the can over, spilling all its contents on the floor.

“What is going on here?”

Then I heard footsteps. It was faint, at first, then grew louder.

It was coming my way.

Who, or what could it be.

The sound grew heavy and loud. It was getting closer and closer.

Friend or foe? I quickly made assumptions, calculations and simulations in my head.

There was no time, I made the best decision I thought I could make at the time… I ran away.

I tried to run into the busy streets that was at the end of the alley, however when my sides began to hurt, I started to wonder how far the exit really was.

I ran and ran, yet saw no end. The alleyway kept going and going. I slowed my pace as I held on to my sides that were starting to be unbearably painful. My speed slowed down to a slow walk.

I probably would have stopped and rested there, however my eyes caught something in the distance, far ahead.

I saw a man running away.

I did not have time to think. I immediately chased after him.

I lost sight of him, but after a brief jog, I saw a figure standing in the distance. I heard  a metallic clang as I saw ahead a trash can fall over when a small dark spot of a figure jumped out from the can.

I picked up my pace.

However, when I came closer, the figure up ahead must have been alarmed by my presence, or my heavy steps, that he decided to turn around and run away from me.

I found myself standing where the man that I was pursuing earlier must have been standing. I lost sight of him. He probably was just up ahead. My mind kept wandering as to how he got away from me, when the entire alley was just  a straight path.

Clang! I heard a familiar scampering sound as the garbage can fell over.

Then I heard it again. My pursuer caught up to me! I ran again…

 


I hope  you liked this story.

Did you figure who the follower was?

I hope I somehow managed to make it mysterious, and yet somehow enable you to be able to deduce what was probably going on.

 

If you found my content useful or interesting, please subscribe to my blog, or even share my works to others. It would be a great help in growing my blog, and I would really appreciate it. If you wish to support me in anyway, please consider checking out my Ko-Fi page, or my Patreon Page..

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Reborn

This post is in participation to Myth of the Mirror’s May Speculative Fiction. I hope you like this.


 

steampunk-1809590_960_720

 

The last thing I remember was bright lights rushing toward me.

Then everything went blank.

There was no pain, no suffering. It must have been instantaneous. I did not even knew what hit me.

I was declared dead three hours after I was rushed to the hospital. They say I was a mess. I seemed more ground meat than human.

What saved me was a decision I made on a whim years ago. It was an act I barely put any thought into. I saw the choice, thought it was cool, and simply ticked the box with a check mark. I donated my body to science.

As soon as I was declared clinically dead, I was rushed to a laboratory who has been in the field of medical research connected with advanced prosthetics and robotics.

There, they did their work – replacing human flesh with artificial parts. I would love to say that they turned flesh to steel – but from what I can recall regarding the parts they placed, those were not really steel, but more of some kind of alloy.

In life, I was an ordinary college student in the field of engineering. Though I did not take my studies that seriously and was part party guy, and part student. When my consciousness was re-awoken… I did not know what I was anymore.

Everything was still black, but I could hear murmurs… voices…

“Connect that to the…” a man’s voice seemed to be instructing someone. A soft whirring sound started and a strong surge of electric current started buzzing.

“Normal on this side….” someone else said.

“Initiate the optic module.” I heard someone said.

The black was replaced by a blinding white light. I could not see that well, but I could see figures moving about around me.

Beep… Beep… beep… beeeeeep!

“Doctor, something’s wrong!” Someone yelled.

“Pull the plug, hurry!”

They told me that my brain almost fried that day. Fortunate for me, the fail-safe worked.

***

The creature I saw in the mirror when I opened my eyes was clearly not human, however it retained my facial structure.

“We tried our best to reconstruct your face…” The man in the white medical robes said.  “We do want you to live as human as possible.”

“Human, huh?”

I looked at my reflection. My eyes glowed red, my arms had tubes, wires, steel plates, nuts and bolts… clearly, this was no human.

It looked like me, but it was not me.

It was scary to think that the hands I saw in front of my face was not the same hands I was used to seeing for the twenty or so years that I can recall. It felt strange to have so many eyes look at me with wonder, amazement, and even fear.

“Can everyone please stop staring at me like I’m naked.”

“Actually, you are. Please put these on.” The doctor handed me a pair of shorts.

I looked down at my legs, and felt a bit embarrassed.

“So these are not metal shorts I’m wearing?” I said as I tried to smile. My body seemed to be capable of that, at the very least.

The doctor shook his head.

“Well that was embarrassing…” I guess cyborgs still need clothing.

“Welcome to your new life, Mr. John. You’re our property now. I hope we get along well.”

The doctor and his colleagues left me alone in the room, as they congratulated themselves.

I was left in the room staring at the mirror as I contemplated on the new life that I was given.

***

Three days have passed since I was reborn as a cyborg. My ability to tell the time has been more accurate than before, so I was certain that it indeed has been three days since my boot-up. One of the scientists working on me came in my room. He was bringing something large and heavy with him. I could see the strain on his face, though he did try his best to conceal it.

“What is this, Doctor Spark?” I asked him as he placed the equipment on my desk. It was large, black and sleek, with various vents, wires, tubes and cylinders.

“A new upgrade for you, my boy.” He beamed. Despite being one of the younger scientists in the Cybernetics project, he treated my like a young child. Perhaps in their eyes, I am their little baby. I shuddered mentally at the thought.

He attached the new equipment on my right arm. My internal systems recognized the equipment.

“Ion Canon Detected. Configuring…” my new mental voice, which sounded nothing like my own spoke. It was like an auto-tuned man’s voice.

“A canon? You built a canon for my arm?” I spoke in shock as I realized what the thing on my arm was.

” Yes, indeed. This new prototype would be able to demolish an entire block to cinders in an instant. Please be careful you don’t accidentally activate it.”

“Activate it?”

“Ion canon activating…” The mental voice said. The arm canon extended its barrels. A loud whirring sound could be heard as its mechanism began charging energy. Orbs within the canon, and my arm started to glow bright. Energy began gathering in my right arm.

“Whoa, whoa.. stop… stop…” I panicked.

“Deactivate it, John!” Doctor Sparks yelled amidst the loud noise and flashing lights.

“Deactivate, how??”

“Ion canon deactivating…” the mental voice in my head said as the arm canon’s mechanisms started to die down.

Doctor Sparks started laughing aloud saying how that was a close call. “Voice activation can be tricky,” he said wiping the sweat off his brow.

“What are you guys working on?” I asked.

However, Doctor Sparks did not answer me. He quietly removed the canon from my arm as he gleefully declared the test as a success.

***

At first, I saw myself as a miracle. While I may have left my humanity behind, my mind was still definitely human.

However, I felt that I was being turned more and more into a machine. I felt like a tool. With my recent encounter to my new upgrades, I felt that I was becoming a destructive tool. A weapon for mass destruction.

In my previous life, I was generally a peaceful, fun-loving person. I liked adventure, and hanging out with my friends. Taking another person’s life has been far from my lists of things to do. While I do have experience in video games — those were fantasy, a world of make-believe. I felt a strange constricting feeling in my chest area, where my heart should have been.

I figured that my developers would not want to have a weapon with a conscience, so I kept most of my thoughts to myself.

 

***

The lead scientist in charge of me entered my room one day.

“Hello John.” He said with a soft voice.

“Hello Doctor Kusanagi.” The lead scientist was old, and wrinkled, yet his face calm and serene. He reminded me of a lake in a summer’s day. He was old, yet stood straight and proud. His stride seemed to hold some strength in them despite his age.

“What do you think of knives?”

Confused and taken by surprise by the question, I was not able to answer.

“What do you mean, doctor?”

“Knives. What do you think of them as?”

“It depends on the knife, I guess. There are knives that can be used to fight, and then there are the knives we use in the kitchen…”

“Indeed!” He exclaimed as he brandished a knife that he was holding with his right hand.

“This knife, can be as destructive to humans, as it can be as useful. Use it against another human, and it is a weapon. Use it for a different purpose, such as for cutting ingredients, then we have a useful tool.”

He handed me the knife.

“I have never seen you as a weapon, my boy… Be at ease.” With a smile, he left.

 

-End –

I was not able to participate in a few writing prompts, and I am happy that I immediately got an idea as soon as I saw the image. I also saw that there was no April prompt, so I guess I was not that far behind! Hahaha….

I haven’t read any of the other submitted works, and I will probably start reading them after I submit this one.

Science fiction has been one of my favorite genre of fiction, yet I don’t really write sci-fi that much.

I haven’t written anything in the past few months. This writing exercise has been very helpful, and hopefully would get the momentum going for me to get back into writing more fiction (whatever the story may be).

I hope that the story was interesting, and that you liked it.

Once again, thank you for reading, and have a nice day.

 

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Fixed

man in green and gray camouflage shirt
Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Geoff stood in front of the brown gate at the side of the building.

His palms were sweaty and his heart was pumping like crazy. He looked around and despite the street being busy and people walking about, all he could hear was the loud thumping of his beating heart.

Geoff took a deep breath.

He did not want to be here. In fact, he would rather be back in his old city, with his old friends, goofing off.

This place was new, the faces, the people, the classmates, the teachers… everything was new.

“Be careful you don’t get bullied, Geoff.” John Carlo’s voice echoed in his head as he remembered the instant message he received from his friend last night.

The three-storied, yellow building did not look that inviting, and his feet were rooted at the pavement where he stood.

He watched as children bid farewell to their mother or father, or both – with wide and happy grins plastered on their stupid-looking faces as they step foot through that brown gate.

That brown gate… even the security guard looked menacing.

Geoff gulped and swallowed the saliva in his mouth. His throat felt parch-dry.

This was not the school he wanted to go to. He wanted to go to a university in the provinces, along with most of his small circle of friends. Back in elementary school, they were inseparable – like brothers, they were. Brothers from different mothers.

Yet fate, destiny or God above must have had other plans for him. Money became tight, and they had to move away. At least that’s what his parents told him. Geoff did not really understood.

A boy, almost his size bumped into him from behind, which broke Geoff’s brooding and pulled him back to reality.

He wished he had someone to be with him at that moment – someone to at least give him a bit of support. Yet, he was alone.

It was his fault, really.  He wanted to be treated like a big boy, and insisted that he would go on his school’s first day by himself. Besides, he did not want his new classmates to see him as a mamma’s boy that still lived under his mother’s skirts. That would just serve as more bullying fodder.

He hung his head low and clenched his fist.

“Stupid parents…” he grumbled.  They should have insisted more. They should have not given in to his demands that easily. They could have seen that he was merely acting tough…

He looked at the brown gate again. He has been standing there for more than fifteen minutes already, and there was almost no one left outside anymore.

His courage ran out.

His feet became uprooted.

He felt he could move again, and so he did.

However, it was not in the direction he was expected to go…

Geoff turned around, and walked away from the terrifying gate. He walked away from a fate he did not want. He walked away from the bullies, the new faces and the new classmates… He walked away from what could have been the worst time of his life.

 

He also walked away from what could have been a great time of his life, yet he was too blinded by fear to even try.

-End –

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Nothing

brown cabin in the woods on daytime
Photo by Eneida Nieves on Pexels.com

The afternoon was quiet except for the faint chirping of cicadas hidden within the nearby trees.

Jack has been sitting on his porch for half an hour already, staring out into nothing in particular.

He could hear nothing but the chirping of the cicadas.

A group of children passed, laughing loudly. To Jack, however, they were just a blur passing by.

Time seemed to have halted to a slow, peaceful grind.

Jack’s life has been a struggle lately, and the peace and quiet of the afternoon was a big welcome.

“Jack, where the hell are you, you lazy bum!” The voice of his wife pierced the peace and returned Jack to earth.

“Here.” He answered back, without budging from his seat.

“What are you doing here?” She asked.

“Nothing.” Jack replied. Indeed, he had been doing absolutely nothing, just sitting and relaxing. That was all over now, for he was certainly doing something.

“Nothing, eh?” Jack’s wife looked around the porch, to Jack’s left and to his right.

“Get your lazy ass back in here, I need you to do something for me…” She kept talking and talking, most of which just flew over Jack’s head. He hoped that most of those were useless information that were not that important anyway.

His moment of peace was gone, and all of the stress and problems of his world were back. Jack craved for a nice bottle of cold beer, but it would seem his throat would have to be parched for a while longer.

Jack sighed and stood up. He tapped the chair that has been with him for the past half hour, bidding his comrade farewell for now, as he marched inside, and the world and everything around him started to move again.

 

If you found my content useful or interesting, please subscribe to my blog, or even share my works to others. It would be a great help in growing my blog, and I would really appreciate it. If you wish to support me in anyway, please consider checking out my Ko-Fi page, or my Patreon Page..

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