The Story of the Crash of Exodus

Briefs of Fiction, October 15, 2009 at 05h23

The system failed, all life support was offline for days when the autopilot brought the ship crashing down to Earth. Four hundred and eighty-five cryogenic chambers were destroyed. The remaining fifteen survived.

Upon impact with the ocean, the shuttle’s cargo bay cracked, weakened by the force of reentry. The chambers remained buoyant and came loose, where currents took some westward and the others eastward. The chambers that made it to land eventually opened, and the men and women inside got out. Instinct took over, their brains damaged from the life support being offline. They could not remember what happened. Not the Dahlia Virus, or the Exodus expedition, and not what they were to do when they returned.

This is how we would eventually know the story. At the time, those fifteen people only knew they were alive.

Flowers For Pepito

Briefs of Fiction, September 17, 2009 at 04h25

When An knew that she absolutely must go, she stepped into the grass, the same way she had so many years ago. The mist was drifting in and soon she wouldn’t be able to see a thing, not the grass, not Furrley or the nymbit, not even the beautiful ivea-violets she was holding. The nymbit squeaked.

“Now listen here, you. I told you I was gonna have to leave one day, so don’t you go making this sad on me,” she said to her friends. The wind blew her short hair into her eyes. Continued…


Briefs of Fiction, September 9, 2009 at 10h51

As Mr. Higgins picks up the newspaper, he sees tomorrow’s headline, in big block letters across the top:


“Oh right,” he mumbles, “have to go vote later.”

The thought doesn’t cross his mind that his vote won’t make a difference. He’s just happy to have something to do.

The rest of the paper is more of the same. A robbery later on, an explosion in Manitoba, a new Google something-or-other. He doesn’t read the articles, just skims the headlines until he gets to the obituaries. He looks through them carefully, looking for his name.

No, not today.

The Artist on the Eve of his Death

Briefs of Fiction, August 19, 2009 at 11h02

Nathaniel went to the artist, an ancient man in his last days, one of the few who remembered life before the government. The man didn’t like to talk about that for fear of being arrested, but in his last days he had become more open, especially to the boy assigned to care for him. Everyone over sixty had a caretaker. These days, people lived happily well into their nineties. The State provided for everyone.

The artist opened his eyes as Nathaniel came into the room and asked for the good news.

“Nothing you’d want to hear, I’m sure,” Nathaniel answered.

“Oh, there must be something somewhere! A war, a deadly storm, maybe a recession!” Continued…

Dead Rose Red

Briefs of Fiction, July 19, 2009 at 06h06

She asked me once if I would paint her.

She was so very beautiful and the first painting I finished was also beautiful. But it was not her, not completely, so I gave her roses instead.

She asked me a second time if I would paint her. This time too was imperfect. But she demanded that I paint her, roses proved nothing! So I painted her – again and again and again – but each time was wrong! I stared at her obsessively with an artist’s eyes, let love move my brush, and after a hundred paintings and a thousand roses, I felt nothing.

She left me ruined with a room of roses, and it was in their wilting that I found the perfect colour for my love.

Dead rose red.

The Midnight Tide

Briefs of Fiction, July 10, 2009 at 07h30

They left the North Point lighthouse turned off since the twenties, when McReady realized that it was what brought the Midnight Tide. He was carried back out to sea with it, the secret drowning with him. For thirty-two years, the lighthouse sat abandoned on the corner of the property until finally it was bought by a couple from across the country. They had never heard of the Midnight Tide.

They lived in the enormous old house for a month before Elliot found the lighthouse while he was out exploring. It was covered in cobwebs and layers of dust, but the only reason it didn’t work, he found, was that the main power had been cut with an axe. He replaced those cables and the light was as bright as it had been fifty years earlier. Continued…

Petals in the Fall

Briefs of Fiction, June 29, 2009 at 05h00

Philip knew exactly where he was, but he never felt like he was there. He set the watering can down, held one of his flowers. It was dying. There was enough sunlight, enough water. It should be doing fine. He thought maybe it was sick.

Kip was acting strange lately. His stories were all unfinished, self-deprecating works. The characters were all miserable. Philip worried about him. He wished they would talk more, or that what he said would be heard.

He wondered if maybe the flower needed to be outside. The weather had not been great this past week, but he brought the flowerpot outside anyway.

The last story Kip wrote was about two men who were deeply in love, but would never be together. Philip asked him, after he’d read it twice, why. It was never explained. The writer stormed off, tearing the pages up in a fury as he went. That was four days earlier, when the weather began to turn.

Inside the house, the telephone rang with importance, and Philip did not hear it.

Outside, the flower wilted.

It would have wilted anywhere.

GARY 2.0

Briefs of Fiction, June 12, 2009 at 11h28

Finally, a marketable product. Just in time for the holidays. New Weave Genetics unveiled its latest version after the press died following the Beta flop. Pun intended.

GARY 2.0.

Although if you went back through the official documents you’d see it was actually GARY 1.9.9. Never completed recommended testing. When this information was eventually discovered, heads rolled. Again, pun intended. Continued…


Briefs of Fiction, April 30, 2009 at 12h29

As published in Other Voices, June 2008.

She was singing from atop a jut of rocks not a sea mile off port when I was coming in after another long wasted day. It was her song that first caught my notice, it carried across the water with steadfast harmony. As I approached the rocked area, all I could see was her golden hair, long and wavy, her naked back to me.

I threw my anchor out into the rocks and called to her. “Hullo there! Do you need help?”

She turned towards me and she was, for everything I know, the most beauty I’d ever seen. She smiled, but with difficulty. It wasn’t the spray of the water on her face, she was crying.

“Thank-you, sailor, but I do not need help. I am in mourning for love.” Continued…


Briefs of Fiction, April 30, 2009 at 12h26

As published in Other Voices, October 2008.

Julian always thought it would get easier to start over. It never did. A few days ago, he had been the youngest female executive ever to be promoted to Creative Director at Fiston Jennings Agencies, and now he was back to being an awkward teenager late for art class. Continued…