Tag Archives: short story

Pixel’s Last Stand [Flash Fiction]

Pixel’s Last Stand

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“What is it, Pixie?” I jogged over to the unused side of the house and see Pixel worrying at the pile of cinder blocks, discarded in a lonesome pile.

Pixel worries at the blocks some more, digging at the dirt, struggling to reveal what lies beneath.

What lies beneath, indeed.`

The summer air is hot and smells of a blast furnace. I wipe my forehead on my forearm and throw one leg over the small wrought iron gate.

Pixel looks up at me and whines. His ears are pricked up and he goes back to scratching at the cinder blocks, whining, his stub of a tail wagging ever so slightly.

I squeezed the glove fingers to be sure there were no creepy crawlies hiding in there, shook them out and pulled them on. I gave Pixel a pat and he stood at attention, pointing to his target.

I pulled up the first block and saw something scurry away.

“God fucking damn it,” I swore to myself.

The next cinder fragment came up easily and I tossed it against the fence. Pixel moved in deeper, his nose covered in the tan dust, his black nails tearing at the dirt.

“What is it, Pixie?” I teased him again. He looked up at me with his beady black eyes and went back to pointing at the pile, lifting his front leg a couple of inches. So cute, these little MinPins.

As I grabbed the next block, I saw a glow coming from beneath the pile.

“What the fuck is that? Pixie, what’s in there?” He was worrying away again and frantic.

I pulled up another block. More light. Another. More light. The last one covering the ground, and the light blinded my eyes for a few seconds.

What lies beneath? What lies beneath is a creature that was sad and beaten and looking at me. It let out a massive sigh that just about knocked me on my ass. I had Pixel by the collar and was keeping him from tearing this thing to bits. Pixel’s bark was relentless as he pushed forward, choking himself against his collar, his tail going a hundred miles an hour.

I got down on my knees and let go of the dog. I started to dig around the creature, revealing it inch by inch.

The stink was overpowering and I pulled my t-shirt up over my nose. My shirt pulled out of my shorts and I wasn’t really blocking any smells. I started to get tired and stopped to rest. Pixel looked up at me.

“Don’t stop. We got this.” Pixel was talking to me.

“Did you just talk?” It was more of a statement than a question.

“Dig. We got this.” Pixel looked back at the thing in the dirt.

Fuck it. I took off my gloves and started to dig again.

The dirt… it was under my nails and caking up my fingers. I was breathing hard and the sweat was stinging my eyes.

“Yes, yes,” Pixel said through dog lips.

“Shut up and help me dig,” I said, half not believing that my dog was talking to me. What the fuck.

And the creature sat up and looked at me. It was small. It stank of death. I sat back.

“You owe me, mortal,” it said.

“What? I don’t fucking-”

“Silence. I require sacrifice!”

“Sacrifice? You’re in no shape to – ”

Pixel fell over, dead. I looked at him and tears welled up in my eyes. Anger rose up from my core. I punched the creature. It laughed at me.

“Huh huh huh,” it laughed, staring me in the eye. It rubbed its hands together and chanted in some language I didn’t understand. His hands started to glow and the wind started to blow. Pixel stretched and faded into the vortex.

I reached for a shovel, squinting my eyes against the wind and turning my head to keep the dirt from getting in my eyes. I swung and missed.

More chanting and the creature grinned an evil grin and didn’t seem to care about what I was doing.

I pulled out the pole pinning the gate together and stabbed towards the creature.

Silence.

Blackness.

I looked around and couldn’t see my own hand in front of my face.

I yelled into the darkness and a face flashed in front of me.

“The dead don’t walk,” it said and grabbed the pole, swung it around and started to beat me with it. Hitting me with it, it cursed and swore and yelled again and again, “The dead don’t walk.”

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What lies beneath? Sickness. And darkness. And death.

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Author’s notes

My dog’s name is actually Pixel. We occasionally call him Pixie. MinPins are a breed that seeks out rodents and small animals in small, tight holes. He likes to hide in blankets and small, tight places. He can’t help it, it’s his breeding.

Pixel is old and nearly dead. What if the little guy had one last adventure before he kicked off? This was my attempt at Pixel’s Last Stand.

 

Master Class – Laurie

Laurie

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We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Laurie’s sleeping face always made me happy. I stared, breathing her in before I got up to make some coffee.

The old church had a kitchen attached to the gym.

“Who wants coffee?!” My voice echoed in the gym. The blankets were crumpled and the bed was empty. A trail of blood led to the double doors in the back. The coffee cup smashed behind me as I ran out the back.

“Give it to us or I swear I’ll fucking do it.” The man had his arm around Laurie’s neck, her mouth gagged and a growing blood stain on her pant leg, the butcher knife against her throat.

I stopped and fell to my knees. “Why! Why!” I reached into my robe, pulled out the gun, and shot Laurie in the head.

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We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Laurie’s sleeping face made me happy again. I got up and locked the back doors and went to make the coffee.

“Who wants coffee?!” The echoes, sometimes I couldn’t tell if they were time echoes or just sound reflecting off this old gym.

Laurie was slumped over the side of the bed, blood pouring from her head.

*****************

We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Laurie’s sleeping face made me cry this morning. I prayed that the end was near. I crossed my fingers and prayed to fucking god that this would end.

I locked all the doors and sat and cried again. Damn, I could use some coffee.

A van crashed through the back door and six men in SWAT gear came rushing out, rifles at the ready, and positioned themselves between me and Laurie.

“Babe, what’s going on?” Laurie sat up. I smiled; today I got to hear her voice.

The old man in the white suit came up behind the armed men. “I grow tired of this game. Give us the machine and we can end this charade.” He raised one brow and waited.

“You know I can’t,” I said and felt my face flush. I felt for the fob in my pocket and pressed the button.

The bomb destroyed the bed and all six men, the old man, and Laurie. I collapsed and cried until…

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We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Laurie. Oh, Laurie. I won’t live without you.

I went to the back doors, squinted at the morning sun and breathed in the morning air. The old man was sitting on the front steps of the church across the courtyard, hands folded between his knees, staring at me.

I came back with some coffee and she was still in bed. I nudged her but she didn’t wake. Just about never does.

“Who wants coffee?” I whispered to myself and sighed.

I pulled open the hatch to the basement to check on the machine. Still there. The time wars won’t come if I don’t give it to them. But Laurie… I can’t figure it out.

I heard a commotion and she was dead by the time I got back up the stairs.

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We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. Laurie’s chest rose and fell in a steady rhythm that lulled me into false hope.

Years ago, I had tried to destroy the time machine. That day, Laurie still died and we still woke up in the gymnasium.

“Okay,” I shouted towards the back door. “Let’s talk.”

*****************

I slept in what had once been the gymnasium. The rain coming in through missing parts of the roof splashed on my face and woke me. Laurie wasn’t there.
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Author’s notes

This story is for the Master Class over at Sinistral Scribblings, and the first sentence is the same first sentence from the classic, A Handmaid’s Tale.

I wanted to specifically NOT have the old gym in a post-apocalyptic world, or situated in some natural disaster. Just seemed too obvious.

Also, Groundhog Day just passed and got me thinking about the movie. I read somewhere that the director was trying to convey that it had been about 30 years that Bill Murray’s character was stuck in the loop before he learned his lesson. That’s amazing. I think he would have actually gone totally batshit crazy by then.

In this loop, our protagonist can either prevent the mysterious “time wars” or he can have a fresh, new morning with his love, but watch her die every day. For a long time, he chooses to be with her, despite the terrible consequence, but ultimately breaks.