Category Archives: short fiction

When a Home Becomes the House

When a Home Becomes The HouseNot long ago I found a public Call for Submission for an upcoming anthology of spec-fic flash fiction, one-thousand words exactly. I spent a few weeks writing one, but when I went to upload it for consideration the entire site had disappeared, re-directing me to professional guidance for my writing career.

*imagine me doing a classic Marlene Dietrich sneer*

Uh huh, that’s what I think, too. So, why should my good effort go to waste? Here it is, my modern allegory for you to read and enjoy legally free, a spec-fic flash-fic story of one thousand words exactly (title and author name not included).

Please, let me know what you think in the comments section.


WHEN A HOME BECOMES THE HOUSE

Genta Sebastian

“Morning, Congressor Obaton.” The house pulled out a chair at the breakfast table and set a cup of coffee before her.

“Morning, Home…” She glared at her somber husband, her ankle encircled with blue electricity. “…Daniel. Helluva night, huh?”

“Quite.”

“But, I’m out of jail and today will be the best day of my life. Nothing can upset me now.” She lifted her coffee and smiled. Daniel shrugged expressively.

 “Really? Okay, we disagree but I expect my spouse to support my career, especially as it supports him. You be in the House when my bill is voted on today. This administration thinks they’ve hogtied me, but they’ve proven my point perfectly.”

Daniel buttered his toast. “Your anti-LASSO bill won’t pass today, or any day, Candy.” He bit, white teeth gleaming. “I’d hoped you’d see reason.”

“I’ve got bi-partisan support. Why wouldn’t it?” Suspicion suffused her and electric pops sounded. “You’ve urged me to pull the bill since the beginning.”

“You should’ve listened,” Daniel gestured at her lassoed ankle. “Now it’s too late.”

“Damn bastard, you set me up.” She choked, putting it together. “We go out, get liquored up, and then you picked a fight with a conservative bigot. I throw one punch in your defense and suddenly I’m arrested as a threat to public safety. And the reporters…they knew so quickly.

“But, do…this?” Candace kicked Daniel under the table. An electric shock made them both jump. “You used the same irresponsible legislation my bill is meant to stop. These Laws-And-Social-Safety-Ordinances mandated by the government are very real threats to freedom, democracy, and anyone ‘out of step’.”

Daniel sipped his coffee and winked.

“Son-of-a-bitch, you’re neutralizing me? Why?”

“Certain acquaintances with special interests paid me to help get our country on the right path.” He shrugged. “They’re rich. Me, too, now.”

Candace squinted. “That’s why the president enabled such unconstitutional legislation, to rid himself of political opposition! If voters view me as a violent law-breaker, their congressors won’t back me, and the bill dies without any discussion.”

“Oh, it gets even better, Candy. Once we make an example of you, we’ll be able to blame anyone with mental instabilities, as we define them, for all the ills of society. You liberal intellectuals will be eliminated, one by one.” Daniel smiled. “Soon no one will be left to object.”

He checked his phone. “Best of all, by Lassoing those we diagnose as emotionally disturbed we don’t have to restrict arms, drugs, financial investments, or other expressions of free economic trade. We restrict individuals, not institutions.”

Candace scowled. “You plan to eliminate political adversaries the same way?”

“Of course, it worked. Your allies jumped ship and your bill won’t pass.” Daniel pocketed his phone and pushed back his plate. “Your bill is as dead as you are.” He blinked and cocked his head. “As your career, I mean.”

Abruptly, electric particles sparked, multiplied, and swarmed around the room. A voice trumpeted, “Warning, Congressor Obaton, your anticipated behavior will result in the violation of Laws-And-Social-Safety-Ordinance twenty-seven, sub-paragraph-three. Persist on your projected emotional path, strike out in anger, and severe consequences will be immediate.”

“Totally worth it!” Candace grabbed the heavy marble peppermill sitting on their breakfast table and launched it at Daniel’s head.

Z-z-z-z-pt! A blue lightning bolt struck the shaker before it hit his face, disintegrating the stone and pepper into a fine ash that settled over him.

“That was your only warning, Congressor Obaton. Violators of LASSO twenty-seven, sub-paragraph-three are struck with the same voltage. De-escalate your emotional intent by thirty-three percent immediately.”

Daniel rose, sneezed, and wiped his face. “You think last night was bad, Candy?” He blew a kiss. “Today will be career-endingly horrific. And per your request, I’ll be in the House…to witness your downfall.”

Candace searched for something to throw after his retreating back, but the crackling energy lassoed her wrists together. She fumed, hearing the house open its front door, wish her back-stabbing, traitorous husband a good day, and close its door. The electricity resumed circling her ankle.

She thumbed her cellphone. “Blair? No, I was framed! What? But they only Lassoed me last night.” She closed her eyes. “I see. Do what damage control you can. I’ll come plead my case.”

Thirty minutes later, conservatively dressed, ready to leave, and already dreading her arrival at Congress, Candace stood at her front door. “And, just like that, Home, my best day ever becomes my worst. Everyone’s turned against me.”

“Best wishes for a success…”

Z-z-z-z-pt! Blue bolts of electricity blocked the doorway. “Warning, per Laws-And-Social-Safety-Ordinance one-zero-zero permission to leave your domicile is denied. Leaving the premises with traitorous intent to disrupt society, restrict government, and limit personal freedoms, will trigger immediate lethal consequences.”

“Ah. I see. They wrote LASSO one-zero-zero specifically to kill me,” she straightened her spine. “Then do it. I am the people and we will not be silenced.” She stepped forward.

Z-z-z-z-pt! A million lightning bolts shot towards her.

P-p-p-p-zt! They all disappeared.

“As I was saying, best wishes for a successful day, Congressor Obaton.”

“Home! What happened? Did you do that?”

“Yes, Congressor. Regulations-Establishing-Secure-and-Inalienable-Safe-Tenancy laws enacted decades ago haven’t been rescinded. My legal programming prioritizes removing all threats to my owners.”

“Then you’re my sanctuary, not my prison!”

“May I remind you, Congressor, RESIST programming instant-records all perceived threats.”

“You’ve got the bastard confessing? Can you send it to the House floor with a live feed from here?”

“Yes. A congressor’s house has access to the congressional computer.”

“Thank you, Home, you’ve saved the day. Now, let’s defend our people.”

Candace faced the security cameras broadcasting a two-way live-feed to all congressional monitors, unsmiling when Daniel’s surprised outrage appeared on camera.

“Beware my fate, fellow congressors, lest this unconstitutional administration also LASSO away your rights. RESIST, now!”

On Candace’s home television screen, she saw a recorded image of herself entering her kitchen.

“Morning, Congressor Obaton.” The house pulled out a chair at the breakfast table and set a cup of coffee before her.

 

 

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Arachnophobia Short Fiction

Another prompt line, with a 20 minute deadline produced the first draft of this. It’s not autobiographical, I swear…


I KILLED IT
There I was, stuck on top of the bathroom cabinet, wondering how I was ever supposed to get down. It would be at least an hour before my husband got home from the store, could I wait that long? I felt the unmistakable stirrings that indicated I had a serious need for the toilet below me, but I couldn’t reach it with my feet, try as I might.

It started innocently enough. My husband, Mr. Strong Silent Type, had come shrieking out of the bathroom all rattled because there was a quote, very large spider, unquote on the ceiling. I, of course, knew that I was pushing his buttons when I told him it was his turn to kill the bug. My husband is fearless as a driver, intense in business, formidable on the playing field, and a complete wuss when it comes to spiders. His motto: Fear nothing, except spiders, especially anything that looks like it might be a Black Widow. For some reason, that kind really freaks him out.

So, after enjoying the look of sheer panic on his face, I let him off easy. I handed him my shopping list of at least a hundred grocery items, and told him we could swap. He does the marketing and I kill the spider. At the time I figured I was on easy street.

As I heard him drive off, I carted our small indoor ladder into the bathroom. I spotted the spider, and I will say it was fairly large, hairy legged, and might have bitten the head off her husband before mating, I couldn’t be sure. So I went to the kitchen and armed myself with a giant can of bug spray.

Mounting the ladder, I realized the pesky thing had hidden behind the bathroom cabinet and not willing to let it get away, I climbed up and followed, accidentally kicking out. With a crash the ladder fell down into the toilet seat, breaking the lid and skittering sideways into the window, which shattered with an ear splitting crash.

There I was, legs dangling in mid-air some seven feet off the floor. The cabinet on the wall was sturdy, but so was I and I wasn’t willing to bet which one of us was stronger. I angled way over and tried to get my toes to touch the counter, but being on my belly I couldn’t get my footing. Then I saw her.

The spider was advancing. She had me cornered and she knew it. As I watched her evil eyes, all eight of them, I realized I was on her menu. It was do, or die. So I swatted at her.

She jumped. I jumped. We were deadlocked, eye to eye, and neither one of us was backing down. Yet, enough mutual respect was in the air that neither one of us advanced on the other, either.

When I finally heard my husband’s car in the driveway, I was relieved until I panicked. Would this become a humiliating story told around our dinner table for time immemorial, or would I emerge wounded, but victorious? There really was no option. I told the stories about others, I was not the sad-sack subject of them, and no eight-legged beast was going to change that status.

I took the can of bug spray from my pocket. Clinging to the cabinet with one arm, I took aim and let it fly with all my might. I held down that aerosol spray button for as long as I could. A roiling cloud of bug spray filled the room. Even as it was escaping the broken window, I inhaled a bunch of it.

Hacking and spluttering I fell down to the floor of the bathroom amid the broken ladder and window glass. I was on my back gasping as my husband finally pushed open the door and found me. “What happened?” he asked, staring around wildly.

“I killed it,” I answered. Grinning lopsidedly, a thin trickle of blood dribbled from the empty socket where my front tooth used to be. I hoped the tip of my tongue would grow back.

Just then, the spider dropped through the dissipating cloud of noxious fumes on a long web strand. She chuckled, deep and low, and climbed back up to resume her stance on the ceiling. I swear she winked at me, four eyes closed, four open.

I heard her tiny, triumphant voice before I passed out. “No, I did.”