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2016 Mission 6, 443, 273

By Edele Winnie

There were always four. That’s why this didn’t make sense. Wherever you went- corporation, village, unit, class, whatever- there were always four. But this time Melanie found five.

Melanie was a pro- not only highly trained and a weapons expert but she also had 12 years hard experience to back it up. She knew the ins, the ups and was careful enough to never even have been wounded. She was fast, thorough and deadly.

She had discovered them on her first day. It was at the Belcon Corporation head office, employing 350 with a fine dining cafeteria and company swimming pool. She’d had new employee orientation in the morning and then gone to the cafeteria for lunch. She was the new girl- short bobbed blonde, natural makeup, blue skirt and jacket- and all the company wolves took note. Clothes can’t hide real power- and Melanie was extremely fit and capable. Every wandering male eye was drawn as if by a magnet. But she ignored it. She had to. Not only was it an inconvenience, but the four would be unaffected. It might even make her stand out too much, and her cover would be blown.

Tray in hand, plate heaped with the salad of the day, Melanie strode into the cafeteria seating area prepared for the stares. She swayed her hips just a little bit more for those hungry eyes. She had to play the part if she was going to survive. She’d done it too many time before for it not to work. The men in suites looked up, the females scowled, and she was invited to sit beside a corporate vice president alpha wolf who was practically drooling. She flirted as she picked at her salad but her eyes were scanning for the four. They might be in hiding or they might be elsewhere- usually they were so used to being ignored that they were easy to spot. And there they were. (more…)

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The Farmer’s Daughter

By Eddie D. Moore

Arno heard the scraping of a blade against a whetstone while he toiled replacing wooden shingles. The old farmer, Mr. Kensett, had been sitting on the front porch sharpening his knife ever since his daughter had come outside and introduced herself. She had given Arno an appraising look with a smile that made Arno blush and the old farmer narrow his eyes. He resisted the urge to remove his shirt for fear that Lomi, the farmer’s daughter, might make another appearance. He did not want the farmer to grow suspicious or think that something uncouth might pass between him and the girl. It would not be the first time that he had been run off of a farm without being paid.

With the last broken shingle replaced, he climbed down the ladder. Lomi rushed out the front door just as he placed a foot on the ground. She carried a single cup and walked past her father without a glance. When she offered the cup, Arno glanced at her father and noted his irritation. He took the cup with a nod and quickly moved to stand directly in front of Mr. Kensett.

“I believe that completes the list you gave me this morning.”

Mr. Kensett put down his whetstone, wiped the dust from the blade on his pants and walked with Arno to inspect the day’s work. “You have an eye for detail. I would say it was worth every coin.”

Arno accepted the day’s wages with a hand shake and turned to go. Lomi ran from the front porch to Arno’s side and grabbed hold of his arm. (more…)

Maternal Blinders

By Patrick Firth

On the night she saw the goblin, Valerie had decided she could no longer put up with her mother. She had been strangling an old doll, tears streaming down her face, mouthing slow down, slow down over and over again in a silent scream. That was until she noticed a small, wizened face, staring at her: needle teeth and thin lips, sunken eyes surrounded by deep, shadowy creases, warty nodules like tree knots on its hairless skull. Her fingers relaxed and the doll’s head flopped to the side. The pinched little face moved closer to hers, yellowy eyes not meeting hers, but rather following the path of her tears to where they collected on her chin. One rough finger reached out to catch one of the drops on a cracked nail. She shuddered at the contact. The goblin placed the drop on its tongue and its smile deepened, splitting its face. Eyes rolled back into its head, and then back down to her face again.

It tried to collect another, but this time she slapped away its hand. (more…)

Failure Angels

By Edele Winnie

Puker Peters held onto his beer cup too tightly and spilled half the contents. On another day he would have been angry, but today was different. Today everything was going to change for him.

He had bought the Pierre Angels National Basketball League Franchise for a paltry seven million dollars. It was all the money he had in the world combined with all he could borrow. It was the chance of a lifetime, an opportunity too good to be true.. And that turned out to be quite accurate- it was too good to be true. Pierre, capital city of South Dakota, had 15,000 people and only four of them liked basketball. At every game Puker Peters lost money that he didn’t have. He started drinking as his life and future withered, and that was how he’d gotten his nickname.

But today was going to be different, because he had done something extreme. He didn’t have a good team filled with skilled players. The Pierre Angels were in last place and the team were dregs of the dregs. Puker didn’t hate them- you had to start somewhere- and they were all he could afford at the time. Truthfully he couldn’t even afford them anymore. He’d mortgaged his house, his car, his children, he’d sold his dog for scientific experiments and removed one of his mother’s kidneys while she was sleeping and sold it on the internet. (more…)

Stuck in a Tree

By Sylvano

When Leslie Eaton died her husband Derrick did not know what to do. They were young, both thirty-four and she had somehow been his connection to the world. After her death he went through the motions of daily existence without really being present. He was adrift.

Until he met the woman in the tree. (more…)