Rendezvous, with Donuts: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 13, 2013

Wayne Hudson worked the latch of the passenger door of the van, this time with hardly any pain is at all. Then he swung the door open. That was a little worse, but it was still a small victory. He would take every one of those he could get.
Brutus the physical therapist – Wayne had trouble remembering the man’s real name, but Brutus was accurate – had said Wayne was progressing exceptionally quickly considering the extent of his shoulder injuries. He Wayne still shouldn’t leverage himself out of the van, but that Wayne was getting more mobility in his arms every day. Maybe faster.
And Wayne’s legs were practically normal now, bruised but functional. As Myra wheeled the new chair around the van, Wayne took a chance. “Screw Brutus!” Gripping a safety bars in each hand, he swung his legs out.

The Sexton: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 12, 2023

Myra paced around her cell, fuming with every step and plotting her escape.
Officially it wasn’t a cell. Oh, no, it was The Office of the Archaeological Liaison for Project Gnat. And officially Myra was that liaison, the senior and most powerful archaeologist in the entire Wotan system as well as all the space within two parsecs. She had final say in every archaeological decision.
But who would she say it to? The first thing the military had done after arriving in system was to declare a communications embargo for all personnel in and around Wotan. They had enforced that one that by physically removing the ansible from the station, storing the pieces in one of there ships. Without the ansible, communications was limited to light speed and inverse r-squared power. Messages would take 600 years to reach Earth and be undetectable when they arrived.

A Package for the Editor: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 11, 2023

Paula Winn grumbled as she passed the old Victorian. Try as she might, she couldn’t not stare at it now. It was all she could do to keep her eyes on the road instead of looking for someone or something at the house.
That compulsion wasn’t part of the writer disease. Most people, maybe everybody, had trouble letting go of an idea once it set in. “Don’t think of an elephant!” never works.
But it felt like an occupational disease of writers. Just when you on an idea with a deadline, another idea would take over your brain and demand your attention. There had to be a thousand memes about that on writers’ social media.

Carol and the Skëlëtön Crüe: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 10, 2023

Excerpted from the Skëlëtön Crüe Writing Forum, October 1.

Carol Scott: Hey, Crüe, has anybody heard anything from Emil lately? He hasn’t pinged me in a while.

Kelly Goyer: Has he gone dark? Sorry, I’ve been nose down in my novel, so I haven’t been online a lot lately.

Max Cook: I’ve been off a bit, too, trying to catch up on my thesis. The last I remember seeing him was… two weeks ago, maybe?

Phillip Lawrence: That sounds right. Maybe he’s dug in to his own novel?

Reflecting the Unseen: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 9, 2023

The kittens were gone, and Luanna was furious!
But not foolish. She waited not a moment before diving to her left, rolling into a ball, springing forward into a corner, and cloaking herself in the wind. No physical attack would get through that, and magic other than hers was supposed to be abjured within her den.
Unless her foe was much more powerful than her. Or unless her watchers had let her down. Neither was a comforting thought.

Dear Editor: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 8, 2023

The slush is… tamed.
Not defeated. My late mentor Paul Miller used to say, “The slush is never defeated. You can hold it at bay, but it always come back at you as long as you keep the doors open.” His late mentor, Leonard Sims, had taught him that back when they were editing Far Pioneers magazine. In the age of electronic submissions, it was even more true at Trans Lunar Injection.
Leonard was gone. And now Paul is gone, too. I was next.

Above the Cemetery World: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 7, 2023

Myra leaned back in her chair, almost falling over in the process. The gravity had shifted again. “Carlin!”
“I’m on it, Myra,” the station engineer called from below.
“I don’t want you ‘on it,’ I want it fixed!”
“Hold on!”
That’s literally what she did, gripping the console and wrapping her feet around the footrest. The survey division had picked up this station on the discount market, and it showed. Systems constantly broke down, and Carlin was constantly repairing it. How much had it really saved them?

Reflections on Custard: Free Fiction for Fyretober, Day 6

Wendy pulled the van into the extra wide handicapped parking spot at Marge’s Donut Den. I tried for a joke. “Parking’s easier now.”

But the joke wasn’t that good, and Wendy didn’t have her sense of humor back yet. “There’s nothing easy about this, Wayne.”

I sighed. “I know. It was my accident, remember? I just… I had to say something. It wasn’t as funny as I’d hoped.” I looked around, but all I could add was, “So here we are, back again.”

On the Doorstep: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 5, 2023

Paula Winn settled back in the uncomfortable vinyl seat of the delivery van, and she let out along sigh. She looked at her dispatching app on her phone. It told her she had a whole thirty-seven seconds to catch her breath before she had to leave for the next stop. Paula was just tired enough and just jaded enough that thirty-seven seconds sounded like practically a freaking vacation.

And she was going to take every second of it. Even a tiny break from the stress of delivering package after package to door after door was a blessed relief. She had to work to pay the bills, but sometimes she wondered if a nervous breakdown would be less work.

Her last job had been less stressful, working for a smarter organization who planned their deliveries better, with more margin for error. But that had been seasonal work, and Big Company hadn’t hired her on at the end. Maybe this Christmas… In the meantime, she made good money working for Meyerink. And at least all the driving gave her plenty of time for dictation.

Slow Answers: Free Fiction for Fyretober October 4, 2023

Myra was careful not to scuff her boots in the red-yellow leaves. Who knew what artifacts meant lie just beneath the thick cover? Archaeology was slow. Slow answers to slow questions. If you don’t take your time, you’re doing it wrong. She carefully lifted one foot at a time, and then lowered it cautiously, waiting for the beep that would indicate that the boot radar had picked up something solid under the dead leaves.
They weren’t really leaves, of course. These weren’t things that grew on Earth trees. Here on Wotan-7, the native life had no connection to that of Earth. Not even DNA, which was common on more than half of the life-bearing planets that humanity had diskovered. Initial analysis showed that the genetic material on this planet was transmitted in complex folded scaffolds, like tiny sheets of mica with chemical factories trapped within.