Last Weekend… by Jack Haines


Last Weekend

        “Bruno, are the lights supposed to dim when I push the ‘shift’ key?”
        “It’s okay Boss, I fix later.”
        “Bruno always called me Boss even though we never worked together, he was just my neighbor but had a knack for electrical things or things that made noise or seemed broken. He used to live in one of the Eastern Bloc nations where he claimed to be some kind of engineer before he came to America. Come to think about it, everyone I ever met from that region claimed to be an engineer in the “Old Country”. I don’t think that word translates the same as they think it does.
        “If it starts to smoke again, use this, Boss.” He handed me a spray bottle that resembled the one on my barbecue.
        “Maybe, I’ll just call my nephew; he’s a computer guy for Target.”
        “It’s okay Boss, I used to be computer engineer in Old Country. You should see my computer, it purrs like a kitchen.”
        Actually I did see his computer once; it took up most of one bedroom and had moving parts and wires running from one side of the room to the other. The screen was about eight inches round. There were two keyboards one in English and the other with Cyrillic letters on the keys, next to the keyboards was a green rotary phone connected to a helmet, like the kind in 1960’s Army helicopters, maybe our Army. On the other side of the room was the bed were four of his kids slept.
        I thanked him for all of his help. On his way out, Bruno spied a broken clock-radio in the trash can outside the garage.
        “May I?” he motioned to the appliance. “I can use that on my garage door opener. I used to be mechanical engineer in Old Country.”
        “Of course, Bruno, take it.”
        “My wife drove up as Bruno was leaving, she waved.
        “Hi, Boss Lady!”
        “What was that all about?” she quizzed me.
        “I had Bruno put paper in my printer.”
        She rolled her eyes. “I think you just have him over so you have something to write about.”
        “That’s not true, Baby.”
        On a three by five card I wrote with a Sharpie, ‘Boss Lady’ and chuckled to myself.
        “You know you always make fun of that poor man and he only wants to help you.”
        “Oh, I do not. He said his computer purrs like a kitchen.”
        “Jack! And his name isn’t even Bruno.”
        “I know but his real name is hard to say in English.”
        “Boris is hard to say?”
        “Well, maybe not so hard for you.”
        “Remember, the boys are coming for the weekend.”
        Andy and Randy are the grandchildren. They are eight years old and six years old respectably. They come up for the weekend whenever they can.
        This Saturday, we left home early to eat breakfast at a restaurant.
        “What would you like for breakfast, boys?”
        “French Ghost! Grandpa, Boo La La!”
        “Very nice, Andy and you Randy?”
        “I don’t know. What do they have?”
        “Well, it’s a restaurant, Randy. They have just about everything. Do you like eggs?”
        “What kind of eggs?”
        “I believe they have chicken eggs.”
        “What kind of chickens?”
        “I believe they are free range, natural, non-hormone fed Plymouth Rock egg layers that only listen to classical music.”
        “No! They are more likely to be Rhode Island Reds that live in a cage the size of your cap, that are control fed and experience a metered light and heat protocol to produce three eggs per day until they are withered away at the age of seven months.”
        “I’ll have oatmeal, please.”
        After breakfast we went to play miniature golf.
        “Is it called miniature golf or mini golf?”
        “Good question, Randy.”
        “Can I have the red ball?”
        “Sure Andy, it will match your shoes.”
        “I’m going to practice until it’s my turn. I’ll go up to number twelve.”
        “No Randy, you stay with us. No cheating. Watch your brother play.”
        Andy easily got his red ball under the big blue lion and had only ten inches to sink his putt for par. He squatted behind his ball; put his hands on either side of the bill of his ball cap and squinted at the ten inch path to the hole. He then stood over his ball, made two practice putt swings, eased into place, pulled the putter head two inches back and closed his eyes to calm himself before the tap.
        “Grandma, Andy has a girlfriend!”
        THWACK!! The ball went three mini fairways south.
        “Grandma, Andy’s going to hit me…OWW!”
        “Andy, you have three minutes to stop hitting your brother. Don’t use your putter to hit people, that’s why Mr. Wilson made five irons.”
        “Okay, make that two minutes.”
        Back in the car, we relived all eighteen holes of the mini course, all the way home. It was fun.
        When we got home and started getting out of the car, Bruno stopped by to invite the boys to his house. They were having a party for one or two of his sons who were the same age as Andy and Randy.
        “What kind of party?”
        “It’s a party that celebrates a boy growing into a man when he turns seven. They serve cooked cabbage and play pin the tail on the Cossack.”
        “Be back by four o’clock, boys.”
        As the three of them walked down the street, I could hear, “What kind of engineer?”


Jack Haines lives with his wife, Ruth in the Pacific Northwest. He is a retired construction worker who enjoys writing, bowling and golf. His first book, MY OPIC OBSERVATIONS, will be released in April by Phoenix Rogue Press, with his second book, MORE OPIC OBSERVATIONS soon to follow.

Copyright © 2013 by Jack Haines





Vampires on the Red Moon… by Louise Findlay




In the year 8693 the best astronaut that trained for years embarked upon the mission of her life.

What NASA didn’t know was that their best astronaut was a vampire.

A trip to Mars, the red moon was the thing most people dreamed of but Lucy Vampire would go there.


Chapter 1


It took Lucy a year in a spaceship to reach Mars. When she arrived on the planet it was very strange.

It was covered in red dust which was like sand. What was even stranger was that there were huge deep craters.

She went to have a look at them but they were so deep she couldn’t see a thing even with vampiric enhanced eyesight.

She paused and wrote everything in her journal.

Then she made a decision she would investigate the strange craters. Without further ado she jumped in.


Chapter 2


She fell all the way down to the moon’s core.

Lucy saw a mysterious flower and she felt drawn to it. The flower emitted a strange dark red coloured substance.

She added up all the details and had a theory maybe its blood. She documented this idea into her journal.

She decided to call it a blood flower and made a note maybe there are space vampires here.


Chapter 3


SUDDENLY!!!!! A fast shadowy figure came out and recognized Lucy Vampire as one of his Earth kin.

He said “I am Khon and I am a space vampire.” “There are other space vampires but they live on other planets” Khon said.

Khon told Lucy the process of the blood flowers emitting blood. The blood had enough nourishment so he could live there.


Chapter 4


Khon showed her his apprentice Buzz Aldrin.

“I know you; you went on the first exploration of the moon!” Lucy exclaimed.

“Yes and I never came back, the lost astronaut I bet they call me” Buzz said bitterly.

“How, How did you becom…..?” Lucy tried to say but Buzz beat her to it.

“Become a vampire?” Buzz said his face turning red.

“Yes” Lucy sighed knowing no other way out of this.

“He” pointing to Khon “tried to kill me and Neil but I gave myself up to save him.” “He, he…” Buzz said faltering.

“For that act of bravery he turned you into a vamp didn’t he” said Lucy guessing.

“At first I was overjoyed at this newfound power but now, this existence living in a dusty old planet, drinking out of plants will you take me with you?” Buzz replied grasping at this new idea.

“Of course. Is that okay Khon?” Lucy said, uncertain of Khon would let her. “Certainly, Buzz has been getting frustrated living here.”


Chapter 5


Lucy said her goodbyes to Khon and set off in the spaceship with Buzz.

When she got back to Earth she took Buzz under her wing and taught him how to thrive and survive as a vampire on Earth.

If you want to find Lucy Vampire, you will find her teaching vampires about their space kin.


The End


Louise Findlay writes fantasy short stories and inspirational poetry. She is most active on Twitter but you can find her on Facebook, LinkedIn and Goodreads.Currently she is focused on writing a longer vampire novel.

Copyright © 2013 by Louise Findlay





Tomcat Tale… by Valery Petrovskiy



Snowflakes flight is alike Tomcat purring, lulling they affect the same way. In a moon night Tomcat purring in or snowflakes whirl out is like the same. In a day light snowflakes don’t draw much attention; they remind one of office girls that hurry to a bus stop in the morning. They nudge each other in hurly-burly and brush their eyelashes against men, troubling them. Women eyelashes are alike snowflakes then, they go up and down while snowflakes float but round. Afterwards the snow is lying underfoot in a lacy coverlet. I don’t dare to march on the just fallen snow, it seems blasphemous. One is not to step on a white tablecloth, and I’m waiting for anybody to tread a hasty chain of footsteps.

Thus I follow Tomcat, extremely patient when needed. But it happen Tomcat to carve a way for me in a winter morning; he teaches me to overstep the limits, my grey brother Tomcat. He is running leisurely against me, and he never would stop and rub his furry neck against my leg. He is my brother, that’s enough. Every morning he hurries to me drawing a fresh pass. One never knows which side he crops up next. Only his traces display me my daily course.

Tomcat neglects ladies. But they attract me, unknown creatures in a cloud of snowfall, vanishing in wreaths of perfume. Ladies leave a trail of scent long like Tomcat’s tail when he is marching against me to pass the door. I am holding back my door every morning when we meet.

I open him the door; it’s just a trifle to me, and Tomcat reveals me a day pass. I never tread upon his track on the snow, and never cross it. I walk along the rosary of his pace and always get to an open spot. It seems to me, Tomcat is an astronaut descending to the ground and starting with a scratch his beaded pace to my door. I can imagine Tomcat to advance on the snow in night twilight, he knows his way and I don’t.

I had watched his trace after a sudden shower in summer. People left wet prints and Tomcat left a dry track on a wet pavement. I watched it after every rain, so Tomcat strikes me even more. Не is my brother and I can leave bare traces as well, I believe. But I never glance back at my traces, particularly when in a downpour.

And I don’t pay notice at women in rain, only in a snowfall.


Mr. Valery Petrovskiy is a journalist and short story writer from Russia. Не is English Department graduate at Chuvash State University, Cheboksary, graduated VKSch Higher School, Moscow in journalism, and got a degree at Kazan State Technology University in psychology.
Valery’s writing has been published in The Scrambler, Rusty Typer, BRICKrethoric, NAP Magazine, Literary Burlesque, The Other Room, Curbside Quotidian, DANSE MACABRE, WidowMoon Press, PRIME MINCER, Hulltown 360, Apocrypha and Abstractions, Apollo’s Lyre, The Legendary, The Monarch Review, The Atticus Review, Marco Polo, Unshod Quills in the USA, and in Australian The Fringe Magazine, Skive and Going Down Swinging journals. At the moment he is writer-in-residence at Marco Polo arts magazine, while staying in Russia. He has recently interviewed Gloom Cupboard:

Tomcat Tale was originally published August 15, 2011, in Apocrypha and Abstractions.

Copyright © 2011 by Valery Petrovskiy


Flash Fiction… by Stephen Prime


Flash Fiction

“I’m sitting at my desk, wondering what to write when there’s a knock at the front door. As I go down and answer it, I’m still not sure what is going to happen. I open the door. There’s an old man there with a parcel. He’s wearing a courier’s uniform, but I don’t see if there is a van nearby. He hands me the parcel and I have to sign it. We thank each other and he turns away as I shut the door. The dog wants to sniff the parcel, and she sticks her nose in the way while I’m trying to cut the tape. Inside the parcel is a book. I open the book. I begin to read. It says:

“I’m sitting at my desk, wondering what to write when there’s a knock at the front door. As I go down and answer it, I’m still not sure what is going to happen. I open the door. There’s an old man there with a parcel. He’s wearing a courier’s uniform, but I don’t see if there is a van nearby. He hands me the parcel and I have to sign it. We thank each other and he turns away as I shut the door. The dog wants to sniff the parcel, and she sticks her nose in the way while I’m trying to cut the tape. Inside the parcel is a book. I open the book. I begin to read. It says:

“I’m sitting at my desk, wondering what to write when there’s a knock at the front door. As I go down and answer it, I’m still not sure what is going to happen…


Stephen Prime, originally from Yorkshire, England, now lives in Tokyo, Japan. He teaches English literature at a Japanese University and has been published in Aesthetica and New Fiction. He likes whiskey and walking his dog and hates society and pollution.

Copyright © 2012 Stephen Prime


Feeding the Birds… By Carla Blaschka


Feeding the Birds

        “So, where are you getting off?”
        The question came from the woman beside me. We were riding the Route 359 bus across the Aurora Bridge from downtown Seattle, and she’d been trying to make conversation with me the whole trip. She seemed a happy, bouncy type, with her hair a riot of black curls tied up in a shocking pink ribbon. There was a time I would have responded to the interest in her eyes, a time before I died.
        I’d just come from a meeting at my lawyers. We had a sit down with the other side to discuss my lawsuit. The builder of my dream home had brought his brothers along for moral support, or immoral support to be more exact. All three brothers sounded like wise-guys from New Jersey, and probably were. Both brothers had that squared off set to their shoulders that said; “Don’t mess with me unless you want some.” It was a popular look in prison and with newly-released ex-cons.
        I thought they should pay for putting my parents in a coma and killing my dog. They didn’t.
        I said you built my condo on top of a toxic waste dump; it oozed out and killed the people I loved. I included Frazier in that, of course. As all pet owners know, pets are people too.
        They said it was an Act of God that a minor earthquake had broke the acre-sized baggie that sealed in the waste, and that they’d fixed the problem as soon as they knew, so what more could they do? They had complied with all state & federal regulations, the state gave them permission to build on that site. If we wanted, we could sue the state for allowing it, but if we pursued this with them, they would tie us up in litigation for years. They weren’t paying, it wasn’t their fault.
        If not theirs, then whose fault was it? I wanted to shout. My dog’s for running through the sludge and jumping up on my dad? My mom’s, for cleaning up the mess? She thought it was funny. Since I was fixing dinner, she cleaned it up. It was their first dinner in my new home. We were having steak with caramelized onions, green beans and baked potatoes with all the fixings and I had it nearly on the table, so Mom washed off her husband and Frazier, my little Jack Russell terrier for me.
        He started vomiting that night, and in the morning I took him to the vet. While I was there, Mom and Dad collapsed on their walk, unconscious. Their neighbor called me. It took them three weeks to die, Frazier just one day. But then, he didn’t have any insurance. They never did regain consciousness. I never got to say goodbye. My fiancée Tina was so great. She stayed with me at the hospital the entire time, and kept me fed. She liked to feed things, to see them grow. She was always feeding the birds, and kept a handful of seed with her always to feed the LBB’s, the little brown birds at the coffeehouse. I had some of her seed with me now.
        She’d just stopped to pick up some dinner for us at a take-out along Fourth Avenue before coming back to the hospital when a semi went by and spun up a piece of debris. It wasn’t a very big piece of metal, but it was sharp and spinning at 50 miles an hour. They said we could use a turtleneck to hide the damage if we wanted an open casket, but her family went with closed. They never did find her right sneaker. I guess it ran away. Ha, ha, or it went where she went. I had the other one with me.
        I felt for the seed in my pocket. I wanted to make sure it was there before I got off. My face felt plastic but I tried to smile.
        “The next stop,” I said. “I’m getting off at the next stop.”
        She smiled back, a little uncertainly. There wasn’t much there to get off for at the end of the bridge. “You must be transferring,” she said.
        I smiled and nodded, wondering if I looked like what I felt like, a bobble-headed doll. I pulled the cord, but nothing saved me from stopping. I got off with her cheery ‘good-bye’ following me and started walking back across the bridge. When I got to the middle I spread Tina’s seed, so critters that flew could live because of her and I clutched her left sneaker. With such a talisman, I could fly. It was my ticket between worlds, my guarantee of finding her.
        Where am I getting off? I clutched her shoe and looked down at the water 167 feet below and climbed the rail. I was getting off…right…here.


Copyright © 2009 by Carla Blaschka


Source / Challenge: 5/28/09 Edition of The Stranger
Cover Art: by Atticus Jackson
Story Theme: Feeding Birds
Prompts: Feeding The Birds:                                                                                         

  1. Location: Toxic waste site turned condo.
  2. Plot Point: Parents in coma and die, lost pet and other family member the same week
  3. Quote: “So, where are you getting off?” From “My Year of Hitler” by Erica C. Barnett.
  4. Rhetorical Element: “Sneaker.”
  5. Character Trait: Squares their shoulders when threatened.