Three Attackers: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 23, 2023

Carol looked at the gravestone. “I wonder where they buried Gil.” Then she shook her head. “No, that’s not right, the authorities found his body.”

Wayne asked, “Gil?”

Wanda gripped his shoulder. “I’m sorry, hon, I forgot to tell you. He drowned in a fishing accident while you were in the coma.”

“Yeah,” Carol said. “Fishing accident.” She squeezed past Paula, brushed back the autumn olive bushes, and knelt to read the headstone…

Worlds Collide

Hubs pulled the black Rogue up to the curb between 2011 Resnick and 2015. “There ain’t nothin’ here, Wubs.”

“There’s something here,” Carol insisted. “Emil thought this address was important enough to leave it as a clue.”

“It’s just an empty stretch of road. There’s not even… There’s nothin’.”

Carol looked at her husband. “Why did you say it like that?”

“Like what?”

“‘There’s not even…’ And then you paused. Like you wanted to say something else.

“Ye’re gonna think I’m daft.”

Organized Chaos

The annoying nurse, Wanda, was at Carol’s door. “Carol, you have a visitor.”

Carol resisted the urge to snap back. She really had no evidence that Wanda was connected to her accident, but she couldn’t shake the feeling. Wanda in the donut galaxy, Wanda at the crash site, Wanda in the hospital. Three times is enemy action.

But she bit her tongue. “Who would come visit me?”

They Do It with Mirrors

Wayne couldn’t stop grinning. Even if Wanda had to work and couldn’t be with him, he was determined to have his best day ever at his favorite place ever: the American Museum of Magic in Marshall.

Though if he were to be honest, visiting the museum would be a little easier without Wanda. He loved her dearly, but she hated the museum. She only went to humor him; and she couldn’t help making snarky remarks about the exhibits going back through more than a century of American magic. Some even farther than that. To her, it was the same thing every time. After all, Wayne had to admit, the museum wasn’t very large: just a historical storefront in downtown Marshall, one of the six museums in the small town they called Museum CityThere was the Honolulu house, built by a Justice of the State Supreme Court. There was the old Governor’s Mansion. There were the Capitol Hill School Museum, the United States Postal Museum, the Gasoline Museum, and the Grand Army of the Republic Museum. The Calhoun County Fairgrounds had its own museum. And there was the Cronin house, which author John Bellairs had immortalized as The House with a Clock in Its Walls.

But most important to Wayne was the American Museum of magic, a relic from the days when Marshall was a major stop for magicians across the Midwest. And he was especially obsessed with its Houdini collection. To the public, Harry Houdini was a famous illusionist and escape artist. But Wayne was fascinated by Houdini’s other passion: debunking spiritualists and psychics. Wayne knew the old saying: It takes a thief to catch a thief. In Wayne’s view, it took an expert magician (or a trained cognitive logician) to spot the tricks used to deceive the eye and the mind. And Houdini had been the greatest of them of the debunkers.

What’s in the Box? Free Fiction for Fyretober October 19, 2023

Paula was distracted throughout her entire delivery route the next day. She missed five turns, putting her behind schedule from the first hour, and getting worse throughout the day. They were small things, but she was better than that, damn it! And these incidents would give Ben Schaefer an excuse to write her up for poor performance.

But part of her didn’t give a damn about Schaefer and his write ups. There was something weird, something impossible happening in the world, and she was somehow in the middle of it. She wished she could tell somebody about it, but she didn’t know how. If she took it to Evan…

A Message from Carol: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 18, 2023

Excerpted from the Skëlëtön Crüe Writing Forum, October 15.

Kelly Goyer: Guys, has anyone heard from Carol?

Max Cook: No, and I’m beginning to get frantic.

Phillip Lawrence: I’ve started pricing flights to Michigan.

Kelly Goyer: Take a breath. It’s not that bad. I contacted her hubs, and he says she’s all right. She just has limited connectivity. But I was hoping somebody heard something more.

Max Cook: Limited connectivity? What does that mean?

Kelly Goyer: He didn’t say, but you know, it is a hospital. She was in a wreck. She might have more important things to worry about than checking in with us.

Phillip Lawrence: How rude!

MVA: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 17, 2023

Wayne winced, giving out an involuntary cry of pain as his shoulders felt like he was a chicken being deboned. The door swung wide, practically dumping him to the ground.

Fortunately, Wanda was there to catch him. Always Wanda. What had he done to deserve her?

“Wayne, you ass! You should’ve waited for me.”

Wayne smiled up at her face as she leaned over him, lifting him back onto his feet. “I love you, too, Wanda. Now help me in.”

Meet Me at the Galaxy: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 17, 2023

Paula Winn pulled her old green Chevy off of 28th St. and into the front parking lot of Myra’s Donut Galaxy. She usually parked out back, where it was less crowded, but not today. She wasn’t sure Kevin can take the walk.

She looked over at editor Kevin Fenton. The man looked pale, frail, and shaky. She had been surprised that she was even able to get him out of the house when she showed up to take him out for coffee and donuts. Just like her first visit, he had taken forever to undo all the chains and unlatch all the deadbolts on his door, and then had peered closely at her as if he didn’t recognize her. Finally he glanced over his shoulder. He seemed more on edge than the last time, and the last time had been enough to worry her.

Cognitive Logic and the Mathematics of Influence: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 15, 2023

Myra felt the crush of déjà vu as she paced around her new office. It was more spacious and better furnished than her office aboard the Wotan-7 observation satellite had been, and the gravity was natural. There were subtle ways you could tell. But a cell is a cell is a cell.
And she was just as much a prisoner here as she’d been at Wotan-7. As soon as the Fleet ship had left the Wotan system, they had sped to this unidentified world, and Myra had entered PQR: Protective Quarantine Relocation. She was free to go anywhere and do anything, as long as she didn’t try to leave the relocation world and didn’t try to communicate with anyone on any other world.

A Death in Grand Rapids: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 14, 2023

Excerpted from the Skëlëtön Crüe Writing Forum, October 14.
Carol Scott: Guys, Grand Rapids is weird.
Max Cook: Well, of course. Emil lives there.
Phillip Lawrence: Would he live someplace that wasn’t weird?
Carol Scott: Ha, ha. Go for the easy joke, why don’t you?
Max Cook: Somebody has to, and Emil hasn’t been around to do it…