Posts Tagged ‘flash fiction’

Sunday Book Review: After Ours

This week I read and reviewed Cheryce Clayton’s After Ours, a collection of flash fiction stories that create an over-arcing stories. It’s a fun take on zombies and the Folk with a dark sense of humor. Tagline: Things are looking grim for the shop hobs.

I gave it a 4 star review for zombies, shop hobs, and a dark sense of humor. I received an ARC for this book free from the author, but that in no way changed my feeling about the book.


A regular feature to my blog, Sunday Book Review, is simply a review of the book (or books) I read during the previous week on Sunday. Since I started adding videos, I started doing stars. I do say what I liked and didn’t like. You will notice that some will be independent titles, some will be mass market books, others will be classics. I write a review on whatever I read that week. I get most of my books from conventions from the author or bookstores, but as per FCC regs, I do mention if I received a book for free.


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Free Flash Fiction: Winter Solstice in the Black

WSitBI wrote this piece of Flash Fiction set in the Other Systems Universe for Sallie Lundy Frommer’s Blog during the 12 Authors of December Event last year which is where it was originally published. Please don’t be a jerk. It’s just a small piece but I did work hard on it.

In the theory of relativity, time dilation is an actual difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers that occurs if one or both of them are traveling at high velocities.

 

 

Winter Solstice in the Black

By Elizabeth Guizzetti

 

Bene’s boots stuck to the beer-stained floor, but he slid onto a barstool and signaled the waiter. “Pilsner.”

Maybe 150 ducats was too much to carry on an outpost, that was little more than a ship-stop on the transport run, but on his timeline, it was Winter Solstice. Bene needed to have a good time this year. Nina always decorated the ship, made pine-nut cookies and bought presents—whether he remembered Winter Solstice or not. Now Nina was gone and he never told her how much he appreciated it.

It wasn’t the holidays for all the people who swarmed around the bar. Though they had all ended up on the station at this moment, they lived upon their own timelines. Their own clocks and calendars. Damn time dilation.

He lifted his glass. His hands weren’t strong anymore and they lost their once impeccable pilot’s timing. So he worked in the laundry and took care of small repairs around his ship for Captain Wilkes—who he liked well enough.  “Happy Winter Solstice, my dear Nina.”

He took a long swig, tasting the mild sweetness, followed by the bite of the hops. When he set his glass down, he saw a girl with grease-stained coveralls staring at him.

“Sir, I’m sorry to bother you…” As she apologetically blathered, Bene took another sip and wished she’d just tell him what she wanted. “My name’s Rachel. We were in grav-pods for Winter Solstice…”

The arrogance of the kid to think she could possibly understand what it was to be covered in liver spots and sitting in a bar alone on Winter Solstice. Bene interrupted, “Get to the arcade where you belong. Plenty of kids there.”

“I don’t have any friends there,” she said.

The melancholy in the girl’s voice resonated in his chest. Bene thought: maybe Nina sent an angel to keep him company. Nina never missed a trick. Bene gestured to the chair next to him. He ordered another beer; she ordered a lemon soda.

He found himself smiling as Rachel spoke. The ward of Captain Laura Jamus, aboard ship, she cooked meals, helped in the engine room, or studied. Yes, she had snuck in the bar. No, Jamus wouldn’t like her being here, but she was busy unloading a delivery.

Their conversation became light. They spoke on their favorite traditions–Rachel liked making holiday cookies too. Her favorite were pepparkakor. They toasted Nina and Rachel’s late mother. And Captains Wilkes and Jamus.

“Know what we need?”

The girl turned away from him and hunched over. She pulled something out of her pocket, but he couldn’t see what. Then she turned back and pushed over a small makeshift package wrapped up in a red handkerchief. “Happy Winter Solstice!”

He said, “I wish I had something for you.”

A middle-aged woman stormed up to the table, her eyes focused on present. Rachel barely got a “Cap!, before Jamus grabbed her arm and snatched the gift from Bene’s hand.

Figuring Rachel would be better off without his interference, Bene ordered another pilsner. She took the risk doing something her guardian wouldn’t like. She admitted as much.

He was at the bottom of his next drink when Jamus showed up again. Crap what does she want? “Hello, Captain Jamus.”

She set down the makeshift package, “When I saw her give you that…I don’t know what I thought…but it wasn’t a Winter Solstice gift of a few store-bought toffees.” Then three ducats on the table. “For her soda.”

Bene expected Jamus to leave, but she did not.

Instead in halting sentences, she said,  “Rachel told me you toasted a ghost. The holidays can be hard….on her.” Her eyes dropped shyly. The woman was out of practice, but she was trying to be friendly. Her voice suggested at the pain of her own loss and how much she both resented and loved the teenager who had been thrust upon her. How often did it happen?

Bene asked her to join him. She glided into Rachel’s vacated seat.

“Rachel’s in her billet thinking about why she shouldn’t sneak into bars, but I told her I’d invite you for supper.”

Bene considered that Rachel was obviously no angel, but maybe Nina sent an impish girl in order to get her captain’s attention. Bene and Jamus both lost loved ones to the Black. Both needed something to celebrate, but didn’t know how.

Yep, Nina never missed a trick.

Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Guizzetti All Rights Reserved.

New Story on WattPad : First Contact…

Want to read a free short story? Head over to WattPad and check out http://www.wattpad.com/67860933-first-contact

Not convinced? Need a teaser?

The soft glow of the television lit the darkened living room. Mark lifted his furry head towards the window and growled. Then he jumped from the couch, spun around, and made a higher yap.

Cover Illustration for First Contact

Cover Illustration for First Contact.

“Quiet,” Erin said, readjusting the blanket to cover her feet. Trying to decide whether to finish the movie or go to bed, she wasn’t paying attention to Invasion of the Body Snatchers though its familiar dialogue soothed her and dulled the sound of traffic outside.

Mark’s barking continued. Erin gently put her fingers upon her dog’s head. Though he quieted, a low growl continued to sound in his throat. She glanced at her phone. 11:47.

It’s Tuesday night, people.

Expecting to see her neighbors smoking pot and drinking on the back patio, she pushed back her blinds and readied herself for the coming conflict. Instead of her neighbors, a bald whitish face with large black eyes peered back at her. A three-fingered hand waved. His/her/hir/its’ lips curled upward showing pointed teeth…. 

Want to read more? Please go to  http://www.wattpad.com/67860933-first-contact

And if you like it, give it some love. 🙂

Flash Fiction: Wiped

Wanting to try something a little different, I would like to share some of my shorter works on the blog

So here goes the first one. I wrote this story after I realized that Dennis had emdued himself into my soul and I will never be rid of him.

Wiped

Written by Elizabeth Guizzetti (aka me!)

 

“I want you to get rid of my fiancé.” I tell the man behind the faux granite counter as I pull out my medical card. “You take insurance?”

The man glances up from his computer. “No ma’am, an extraction is considered elective surgery…”

“Elective? Are you kidding? I got to get him out of my head,” I say.

The man glances nervously at someone behind me. I feel the presence of a security guard edging closer, wondering if I am going to cause a scene. “Ma’am, insurance only pays for it if a licensed psychologist writes you a prescription and only in cases of PTSD.”

I decide not to be surprised by this. My insurance will pay for a psychologist. I thank the man and leave.

*

Within two hours, I sit on a chair with Hugh Daniels MD, PsyD leaning towards me. He smokes by the smell of him. He calls me Samantha and tells me I can call him Hugh if that makes me more comfortable.

“I want a brain wipe.” I say though it’s a betrayal of our past love to lose Jack this way.

He looks at my form. “Samantha, the extraction of memories isn’t a simple process and shouldn’t be approached lightly. Why do you hang on to Jack?”

I say, “I threw all his shit away, but he’s infused into our house. I’m upside down in my mortgage, but I can’t move. I can’t sleep on the bed anymore.”

“Then buy a new bed, it is cheaper than an extraction,” Hugh says.

“I cut myself.” Trying to prove it, I show him where I sliced open my hand with the kitchen knife.

Now I have Hugh’s attention. Though not for the cutting, he knew I was lying. He started with a “Now Samantha,” and spoke gently about my fixation on the brain wipe.

“I need Jack out of my head. I can’t move on.”

“It’s been five years since the car accident. I want to get married and have a family before its too late. I’m thirty-four now. If I wait much longer, I won’t be able to have children.”

“Why can’t you move on, Samantha?”

I decide I hate the way that Hugh says ‘Samantha.’

“I love him…now no one measures up.”

“You still grieve for him,” Hugh says.

Of course I do.

Hugh nods. “How about we set up another appointment?”

I agree to Thursday.

*

Thursday is more of the same. I repeat my story. Some stressed-out commuter side-swiped us. Jack never regained consciousness, but lived on for six agonizing days. Hugh tells me my heart is wounded and unclean wounds fester.

I talked about how his family was supportive at first. Then they lost touch. My family wonders why I still don’t date. Yes, I got rid of Jack’s things.

Hugh suggests I enter group therapy. I have been to a group! It just made me angry. Hugh says to try another one. He gives me the names of some free grief groups in my area. I promise I’ll go.

Every three days, I beg for a brain wipe and recount how Jack haunts my steps.

“How does Jack haunt your steps?” he asks.

“I can’t sleep on his side of the bed or put stuff in his drawers. It feels like a betrayal. It feels like…” I yammer on about my lack of closet space until the day Hugh writes me a prescription.

*

At the faux granite counter, I fill out the proper forms. I sign my privilege to sue away. Yammering about the weather, a woman in purple scrubs escorts me to a sterile room. I lie down upon a narrow examination table. She asks if I would like a blanket as she loads a syringe.

I cringe at the injection. Then drift into slumber.

I wake up. The woman in scrubs hands me a small glass of water. My hand shakes as I take a sip.

“Name?” she asks.

“Samantha Anderson.”

“What do you do for a living?”

“Administrative assistant.”

“How many fingers am I holding up?”

“Two.”

The woman escorts me to the front room. I sign out.

She takes me to the street and hails a taxi. For the first time in five years, I feel lighter though I do not know why. I am Samantha Anderson who is an administrative assistant, but I’m lost. My home is missing from my mind. The woman tells the taxi driver where to take me.

I look on my license. The address concurs with what the woman just said. I remember it normally costs $7 to get up the hill. I pull out a $10.

*

This place makes no sense. Samantha Anderson lives alone and yet everything seems to be ready for another person.

A large bed and a ten drawer dresser. I turn towards the dresser. On the top left drawer are folded panties and socks. These are mine. I recognize them. Then I open the right top drawer. It is empty.

Below on the left is full of t-shirts and jeans, below on the right is empty.

The closet is also odd. The clothes are a size 8, the shoes 7.5. They are mine and yet something is wrong. It is just the strange way the space is set up. The right side is empty.

In the bathroom, the toothbrush is purple. The hairbrush is a woman’s. There is a box of tampons and a bag of pads. Hand cream and night cream. Makeup. However there is an empty shelf in the medicine cabinet. I don’t seem the type to have many houseguests and even if I was that still doesn’t explain the dresser in my bedroom.

Weird. I pick up the tweezers and stick them on the empty shelf half-expecting a vortex to the underworld is going to open up. That doesn’t happen. Nothing happens. I decide to leave them there.

*

Two months later, I receive a letter from my insurance company. My claim has been denied. I have to pay it out of pocket. $55,000. Damn.

As I signup for monthly payments of $100, I wonder what hurt me so bad that I was willing to risk a brainwipe and the accompanying debt, which will take a lifetime to pay.

(Wiped: copyright Elizabeth Guizzetti 2012. First electronic publication, May 28, 2012.  All characters are works of fiction. Any likeness to real people or evidence are coincidence. Be Honest. Please do not take my work as your own.)

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