The Schenectady Post
And here are some past issues of the Schenectady Post…
2/28/2022: The Wrong Room
A honeymooning couple are distraught when their hotel room is ransacked; but when it happens a second time…
2/27/2022: Cat Patrol
Cats defend a Crazy Cat Lady from a home invader.
2/26/2022: Call to Action
When their commander is on trial for battlefield failures, his troops rise from their graves in order to testify in his defense.
2/25/2022: Message on a Clay Pot
Xenologists study a species who never invented written language, and who communicate visually through sculpture and drawing.
2/24/2022: Another One
In a small, quiet county, the sheriff is dismayed to find three murders in a few days–and the victims are identical!
2/23/2022: Stinky Cheese
“Read the whole library, my son, but the cheese will still smell after four days.”
2/22/2022: Neighborhood Watcher
The dragon flew over again last night. Dad still doesn’t believe me, but Mrs. Morton’s cow didn’t walk away on his own, you know?
2/21/2022: On Hold
“But come on… If the Help Line at the cable company were staffed entirely by zombies, who could tell the difference?”
2/20/2022: Sage Advice
“Never admit indebtedness to one such as I.”
2/19/2022: Anatidae Rex
The goose waddled down the gravel road toward the pond, stopping now and then to nibble on a tender bit of grass alongside the road. He couldn’t know that he was about to witness the splashdown of the Akranian Armada; but had he known, he still would’ve been more interested in the grass. He was only a goose, after all, and completely unprepared for his role in defending Earth from invasion.
2/18/2022: End of the Line
“End of the line.”
“But we’re not at a station.”
“End of the line.”
“We can’t get out here! It’s dark out there. We can’t see where we’re going.”
“End of the line.”
“It’s freezing cold out there! We’ll be dead by morning.”
The conductor slowly nodded. “End of the line.”
2/17/2022: Simply Irresistible
“The murder weapon was quite common, I fear, an ordinary kitchen cleaver. I’m sure it has been dropped deep into the Thames by now. But the bait that drew our victim to this site was a most extraordinary tin of cherry cordials.”
“Ah, he could hardly resist those, now could he?”
2/16/2022: The Perfect Feast
You would think that the chefs in the kitchen would smell the burning casserole before the guests in the hall did. But they didn’t, and so the perfect feast was ruined for yet another year.
2/15/2022: Lost at Sea
Lost at sea, day… 74, I think. I might have missed a day due to last week’s fever. Still no sign of land. My water bucket is nearly empty, so I hope there’s some rain by tomorrow. But at least the fish are plentiful, and easily snared, so I have plenty to eat. Though I find the tentacles odd — disturbing, actually — they’re quite tasty after you dry them in the sun. A little chewy, though.”
2/14/2022: The Shunning
It took him weeks to notice, and three more weeks to confirm. He planted stakes, stretched tape measures, and took photos. Eventually there was no denying it: every tree in the forest was leaning away from his house, and leaning a little farther every day. At eye level, each tree moved as much as two millimeters per day, and they were ALL moving AWAY from his home. At first he rejected this idea as nonsense; but eventually, reluctantly, he wondered: what did the trees know that he didn’t?
2/13/2022: Turkey Day
Freeze-dried turkey. Cranberry powder with just enough water to make a paste. “Stuffing” that consisted of paper-dry bread crumbles with a few crumbs of walnut.
And a view that included Olympus Mons and Valles Marineris, plus Phobos and Deimos if he turned that way. Best. Thanksgiving. Ever!
2/12/2022: Next in Line
“Computer, what time is it?”
“8:43 a.m. Friday.”
“No, no, no. What YEAR?”
“2247? I’m not due to awaken for another 50 years! Where’s Captain… Captain…”
“Captain Randall is supposed to be on duty this year, but he has disappeared. Captain Tanner is his designated replacement, but her cryo chamber has failed. Same for Captain Petrov, Captain Wolfe, and Captain Gupta. You’re the next living captain in rotation.”
“Too improbable for coincidence, yes, Captain Heller. Wake up, and watch your back.”
2/11/2022: A Practically Perfect Husband
Edward was practically the perfect husband material: from a good family, well-educated, apprenticed to one of the top barristers in Londontown, and thoroughly devoted to Millicent. His proposal to her had left her flush for days after, and his sweet words echoed in her ears still.
Edward’s one drawback, unfortunately, was that he was quite recently deceased. But Millicent was determined not to let that stop her.
2/10/2022: Back to the Well
$5,000… That would last Rick months if he stayed home. Of course, if he stayed home, or anywhere where anyone knew him and Mr. Tuttle’s men could find him, he would be dead within days.
$5,000 was all Rick had to move to a different state, maybe a different country, and try to find a place to live and a way to survive. It wouldn’t be enough. He needed more, but he only knew one place where he could find more on short notice.
Rick could see no other alternative. He had to sneak back into Tuttle’s estate…
2/9/2022: Falling Awake
Harriet was unused to having company in bed, and so she was sleeping closer to the edge than was her habit. Late at night she rolled over and fell right off the bed; and being less than half awake, she fell right off the edge of the world and into the space between spaces. She was still not quite awake when she finally landed on a large pile of blue sheep grazing next to a nectar stream. The sheep bleated loudly and scattered, dropping her onto the shiny white grass. Then they gathered around her as her eyes opened, she yawned and stretched, and she looked around. No Jack, no bed, no bedroom, and two dozen blue sheep. This was the third-strangest awakening she could recall.
2/8/2022: The Fortress
The first I knew of the fortress was when I was exploring the local woods, and I came across a very low wall — not more than an outline, really — made up of rough-hewn stone blocks. When I came back a week later, the wall was a row higher. And then the week after that, the same. I expected to see tire tracks, maybe even trucks hauling all those stone blocks. But I never saw anyone.
But it wasn’t until the fourth week that I finally saw someone working on the wall: a short, gray-haired, but very strong-looking man pushing a wagon with two blocks in it. He pulled the wagon up to the wall, lifted out a block, and placed it on the wall. Then for nearly thirty minutes, he carefully nudged the block back and forth, using only his eyes as a gauge. Finally he must have been satisfied with his placement of the block, as he picked out the second block and went through the same routine again.
He had been so intent on his work that I hadn’t dared disturb him while he was placing the blocks; but once he was done, I called out greetings to him. He looked up at me politely, nodded, but then turned back to his wagon and pushed it away.
He came back an hour later with two more blocks. This time when he left, I followed him, whistling as I walked so he had to know I was there. He didn’t seem to mind. Soon we came to a quarry. I hadn’t known there was a quarry in the area, but there it was, and someone had carved out hundreds, maybe thousands of the stone blocks. The man walked over to a pile, and I followed him. When he bent to pick up one block, I picked up another. He looked at me and smiled when I put my block in his wagon. But still he said not a word.
But he DID speak when we got back to the fortress, and I tried to place my block on the wall. One clear word: “No.” He would let me carry blocks, but not build the wall. Still, when the blocks were both placed and aligned to his satisfaction, he smiled again, and he held out his hand to shake mine.
In that way, over the course of the summer, we built the fortress. Every night I went back to my warm, comfortable farmhouse (though the farmland was long gone, sold off to some corporation), and was too exhausted from my day to stay up and watch some drivel on television; and every morning I went out into the woods and worked with my hands and simple tools as if I had stepped back in time. Eventually, after much studying on my part, the man let me place blocks in the wall and line them up; but he always had the final judgment on the placement of each block. Sometimes, showing amazing strength, he swept aside my block in disgust. Then he picked it up, placed it again, and frowned at me. But as the weeks went by, I learned to build the wall to his satisfaction. Once in a while, he even said so. “Good.” “Yes.” “Suitable.” Always one terse word. The day he said “Nice job,” I was so surprised I practically dropped a block on my toe.
One day, nearly autumn, I arrived in the morning. He was always there before me, he always left after, and I never saw where he went. But that day, before I ever arrived, he did some work that surprised me: he had installed a portcullis in the entry, as well as bars in the windows. When I arrived, he proudly raised the portcullis and ushered me in.
That was the day he started training me in sword and crossbow and other weapons. And eventually I realized: We were preparing for a siege. It seemed ludicrous back in my farmhouse at night, surrounded by electric lights and electric heat and electric entertainments; but it seemed perfectly sensible out in those woods, shut up in stone walls with deadly weapons and an old man who was teaching me to kill.
I may have just learned the secret to the perfect murder…
2/6/2022: Canis Convocation
At a remote outpost, researchers are puzzled by the slow gathering of dogs, wolves, coyotes, and other Canis species.
2/5/2022: Grand Delusions
A mental patient has delusions of being an important leader. In order to discover his lost secrets, criminals indulge his fantasy life–to their dismay.
2/4/2022: Pictures of You
In a used bookstore, a man comes upon a book full of pictures of himself in places he has never been.
2/3/2022: Dying is Easy
An assassin is hired to kill a seemingly ordinary target who has survived five previous attempts.
2/2/2022: Mirage City
Travelers in the desert come upon a city that’s not on their maps.
2/1/2022: Beacons Below
A woman on a solo ocean voyage sees strange lights in the depths.
1/31/2022: Is Anybody Out There?
A woman wakes up in a mysteriously empty city.
1/30/2022: Mad as Hell
A demon is released from Hell on a technicality: the Heavenly Host has lost the evidence that proves he participated in Lucifer’s rebellion.
1/29/2022: Dr. Meow
A stray cat unites the residents of a group home.
1/28/2022: Lost Ticket
A man’s roommate pawned an item that contains a hidden treasure, and now they can’t find the ticket.
1/27/2022: Night Flight
On a lonely mountain road, a couple flee the stranger who drove their car off the road.
1/26/2022: Second Story
A burglar breaks into a home and witnesses a miracle.
1/25/2022: 30 Minutes or Dead
A pizza delivery person witnesses a crime, and must elude criminals who want no witnesses.
1/24/2022: For Pappy!
A pair of feuding brothers make a cross-country trip to break their father out of jail.
1/23/2022: Society of Immortals
For millennia, the immortals–vampires, alchemists, cyborgs, mutants, and the cursed–have allied, schemed, and feuded for power. Now they face the one enemy none can defeat: the end of the world.
1/22/2022: Night Visits
A man sits alone in the night, drinking. His past sins come to visit.
1/21/2022: Fount of Knowledge
Drinking from a secret spring gives you answers to your problems; but where do the ideas come from, and at what cost?
1/20/2022: The Socrates Solution
Who is murdering philosophers on campus, and why?
1/19/2022: Shakedown Night
Doctors, nurses, and patients are trapped all night in a major hospital after an earthquake.
1/18/2022: Midnight Conversation
“Grave robbing looks a lot easier in the movies.”
“Shut up and keep digging.”
1/17/2022: Near Mint
A dead body is found carrying coins that were seemingly minted in the future.
1/16/2022: Nothing to Lose
Two terminal patients fall in love as they plan and execute a bank heist.
1/15/2022: The Last Minute
A coroner tries to reconstruct the last minute of a victim’s life in order to prove who the real killer was.
1/14/2022: Zippy Saves the Day!
In World War II, Zippy the Hummingbird becomes a spy for the Allies.
1/13/2022: Holding Cell
A police detective begins to suspect that the prisoner down in holding is a vampire.