Listed below are stories that Daniel wrote, consisting of 1,000 words or less, many of which were written for 100 Word Stories‘ Weekly Challenge. (If there is a link to an individual Weekly Challenge after the listed story, that means there is an audio of the story read aloud at the link, usually by Daniel himself.)
List of Stories:
Kudzu (Entry in 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #294)
How Not to Summon a Demon (Entry in 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #282)
Z-Day 9-11 (Entry in 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #281)
I’m No Hero
First Contact (Entry in 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #277)
Bottomless (Entry in 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #276)
The Armadillo Incident (Entry in 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #275)
Parasitic Dreams (Entry in 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #274)
A Noise Downstairs (Entry in 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #273)
Atlantis Returns (Entry in 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #267)
The Swarm (Entry in 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #266)
A Time for Everything (Winner of 100 Word Stories’ Weekly Challenge #265)
The door burst open and S.W.A.T. poured into the room. Sixteen year old Matthew Rider put his hands in the air. When they’d cleared the apartment, Lieutenant Davis came inside. “Where are your parents, son?”
“Dead. I’m an emancipated minor.”
The Lieutenant nodded to Sergeant Jordan. “Cuff him.”
Jordan looked skeptical. “You sure this is right? The murders started 20 years ago. There’s no way this kid is responsible!”
“His fingerprints match. Regardless of how, he’ll serve time for the crime.”
Unbeknownst to him, Lieutenant Davis had made the right call. For decades, Matthew Rider had systematically regressed his age; he was the murderer.
Jones moved his flamethrower from left to right and back again. The vegetation around him died in gouts of fire. “You’re telling me that trees used to be nearly extinct?”
Smith chuckled. “Just last century, humanity worried there wouldn’t be any trees left. We genetically modified the vegetation to be tougher, more survivable. Then some idiot got the bright idea to do the same to kudzu.”
“Man, I wish they’d let the trees die! It‘d be better than this!” As the two retreated into the bunker, the vines were already growing past where the flames had killed them moments before…
How Not to Summon a Demon
“Run.” It licked its lips.
I didn’t hesitate, not that I stood a chance. Why did I think I was ready to summon a demon? Behind me, I could feel the rupture in reality as it pierced my feeble containment circle.
Running through the outer doorway, I felt a surge of hope – my destination was within view. I should’ve known better. Mere seconds from the church door, I slammed into an invisible wall.
Dazed, I looked around to see the fires of Hell on all sides. The demon stood before me. “This is how you create a summoning circle, child.”
With the chain-link fence between us, I felt safe enough to study this lone zombie. There was hunger in its eyes, hunger and emptiness.
I watched it for a few moments longer before drawing my revolver. I took careful aim, and snarled under my breath as I pulled the trigger. “Fucking zombies. That comet had to cause Z-Day on the anniversary of 9-11, didn’t it.”
Still, if you had to admit anything good about them, the zombies did bring humanity together. Who cares if you’re a Muslim or Christian so long as you’re still alive? That’s all that matters anymore…
I’m No Hero
I’m super strong and invulnerable, but I’m not a super hero.
I tried. I mean, I really tried. I just didn’t have one vital quality: the ability to get to the villains; either to figure out when a crime was taking place ahead of time, or some movement power to get to the crime. By the time I got there, it was always over.
So no, I’m not a super hero. What I am is a bodyguard. Think the criminals are coming to you? Who better than someone with my powers at your side?
Think about it. Here’s my card.
When the aliens finally made contact, it was because of a chance scan of our planet that revealed sentient life, which surprised them. They berated us for not trying to make contact ourselves. “Didn’t you have an interest in what’s beyond your own solar system?”
This outraged the scientific community. “We’ve been sending radio signals into space for decades! How could you not know we were here?”
The leader of the aliens’ diplomatic envoy was bewildered by this. “That’s weird. Let me check something… Huh. It seems your transmissions were being blocked by our spam filter. Go figure.”
I’ve been falling for hours. Why haven’t I reached the bottom yet?
I remember climbing the mountain. A rumbling interrupted our attempt to make camp for the night. It was an avalanche. I ran, but found myself at the edge of a cliff. Desperately, I jumped.
I must’ve died. That’s the only explanation. Why else would I still be falling? This is hell…
The sun rises, and I can see land to my side. It takes me a moment to realize that what I’m seeing isn’t a cliff face, but the ground.
I haven’t been falling at all; I’m flying!
The Armadillo Incident
A car sped down the desert highway; its driver failed to see the armadillo directly in its path. Squealing in surprise, the armadillo leapt in the air. Yet instead of splattering against the vehicle’s fender, the armadillo grew to 100 feet in length. The car passed harmlessly underneath it. The armadillo stayed frozen in the air as the video was paused and the lights came on.
The speaker addressed the audience once again. “As you can see, gentlemen, the phenomenon of ‘super powers’ is clearly not limited to humanity, but affects other species of the animal kingdom as well.”
“Okay, back up a sec,” I said, feeling a headache coming on. “Explain that one again…”
“They’re metaphysical parasites that latch on to dreams and feed on imagination.”
“And that’s why people are becoming more apathetic?”
“Yes. As they become less imaginative, they also become more complacent. The government has truly created the perfect tool for controlling the masses.”
My headache just kept getting worse as I tried to understand the concept. Metaphysical parasites? What?
“Hell, if those infected try to think outside the parasites’ preprogrammed parameters, they’ll just get a massive headache that forces them to stop.”
A Noise Downstairs
“Scott! Wake up! I heard a noise downstairs!”
Muttering to myself, I grabbed the double-barreled shotgun next to the bed and headed downstairs.
Creeping into the living room, I saw a monstrous form standing by the window. Startled and half-asleep, I fired both barrels without even a warning shout. The blast ripped through its chest and shattered the window behind it. Turning on a light, I saw the cardboard cutout of a movie alien that my son had won in a raffle.
Sighing, I started back upstairs. I’d clean up the mess tomorrow.
That’s when the real alien intruder struck.
My eyes bleed as my hand turns another page.
I can no longer see the page in front of me, but I know what it says. Something inhuman is reciting the words from the ancient text. I suddenly realize that it’s me. The guttural intonation, impossible for a human to utter, is none-the-less issuing forth from my own throat amid a spray of blood and puss.
I feel myself forcefully ejected from my own body, and look down at the…thing that is taking my soul’s place. I weep into the æther.
I have doomed us all.
“As it turned out, it wasn’t global warming that caused the ocean levels to rise; it was the return of Atlantis. The reappearance of the continent caused tsunamis and flooding along both coasts of the Atlantic Ocean–”
“Yes, yes – we know that,” the Senator snapped. “Your expedition was to find out how and why Atlantis returned.”
“According to the Atlantians, every five millennia a continent is set adrift through the multiverse, hopping from one dimension to the next at random intervals. When it returns, another takes its place…” I hesitated before delivering the bad news. “North America is next.”
“Prepare the pesticide bombs, soldier,” I said, lowering the binoculars. I’ve been in many engagements against the bugs, though never successfully. We fought hard, but when this encounter was over, as usual, I was the only human survivor. Another city fell because of my failures.
“Why? Why kill everyone but me?” I sobbed in the depopulated ruins.
The swarm amassed, bug upon bug, into a humanoid shape. Tiny wings beat air through an artificial throat, and it/they spoke for the first time. “They die because it’s us or them, but your experiment created us; we will not kill our father.”
When the Tyrannosaurus fell, it produced a shockwave that also knocked Ug to the ground. Mortally wounded, he knew he would not be getting back up. Yet he could die content. The great beast was the last of its kind, and would not feed on any more of his tribe. His mate, and especially his offspring, would be safe.
* * * * *
The boy looked up at the assembled dinosaur bones with wide-eyed wonder. He wished he could’ve seen it when it was still alive. How magnificent a beast it must have been! It was really too bad they had all died out millennia ago…
A Time For Everything
“I can’t wait until schooltime!” she said.
“You realize you can jump ahead, right?” I generally skip schooltime – until I need knowledge, that is. Wish I could avoid worktime as easily…
“I do things in natural order. You know that!”
“Seriously, love, why don’t you choose to live in an era before time travel was invented? You’d fit in better there…”
Her fingers caressed my cheek. “Because I’d never see you again.”
How does she do that? Say the right words without several trial runs. I will never understand her, and I will always love her. I know, I’ve checked.