Constipated Storytelling

At the beginning of this, about a month and a half ago, I wrote that my goal was to post three times a week for a minimum of six weeks.

Yeah. It didn’t happen.

There’s a lot of things going on that I could blame. First, I’m a pastor, and this is Lent – the buildup to the Festivals of Jesus’s death and resurrection. And this is a hella busy time for me. But I pulled this off with even more writing last year, so I really can’t blame that. (And honestly, my ministry in general was busier last year.)

I am getting paid for a few writing projects, and those take priority. Go figure. However, while those projects do take up time, I should still have time for pure “fun writing.”

Honestly, my non-writing comes down to two factors: I’m healthy, and I’m not healthy.

Let me explain. Continue reading

Siberian Husky on Patrol

Siberian Husky knelt at the edge of the tower, gazing down on the city he had sworn to protect all those many, many years ago. The wind whipped at his face, forcing tears to his eyes. He sniffed. His pale blue spandex costume didn’t do much to protect him from the cold, but his great layers of fat protected him well enough.

And then the man standing next to him stumbled in the gust, knocking Si over.

“Hey! If we’ve got to share a roof, you could at least let me keep my eyes on the city, too!” Si grumbled.

“Sorry! Sorry! Ever since I got bitten by a radioactive Weeble-Wobble, I totter a lot in the wind, but I never fall down!” the Weebler responded, rocking back and forth on his rounded feet.

“That’s why I asked to switch spots with you last week,” said Pair-a-Medic, the woman with the power of two emergency responders. She offered her hand to help Si up. “I thought you’d stand up under his stumbling better than I did.” She grunted as Si stood with her aid.

“Yeah. Well, it’s not like I really need to watch, is it?” Si gestured.

Pair looked at the skyline. Superheroes lined the roof of every building up and down the street. “You’re right. I haven’t had to set a bone or take a temperature in weeks. It’s getting rather depressing.” Continue reading

The Medicines of Doc Spearmint

“I have more,” the man in the long black trenchcoat muttered as he stumbled into Doc Spearmint’s antiseptic office.

Carania, the woman who ran the office, stood. “I’ll get the doctor. Have a seat please.”

She vanished into the back room as the grizzled man fell into a padded, uncomfortable chair. He heaved a burlap sack closer to him, holding it closed with a trembling hand. The bag shivered and tried to inch away. The man yanked it close again. He absently raised a hand to a sugar-glazed cut on his face.

After a moment, a nondescript woman came into the lobby, followed closely by the doctor. “It’s a common ailment, Samantha. Don’t worry about it. Take the pills three times a day, and everything will clear up in less than a week.”

The woman nodded. “Thanks, Devin.”

The doctor blinked. “You know my first name?”

She smiled. “You told me when we were dating. Don’t worry. Not many people remember what we do when we’re going out.” She kissed him on the cheek and stepped out.

The moment the door closed, the man with the perfect dark-brown hair turned to the wounded man slumped in his waiting room. “Get back here.” As he passed Carania, he ordered, “Cancel my afternoon appointments. Take a paid day off.”

“Course, doctor.” Continue reading

Registering Rejects

“We get a lot of weather here,” the Sniffer shouted with his scratchy voice. Clean white feathers flurried into his eyes, and he wiped them away.

Black-Note Benny squinted at the sky. “It’s like some sort of blizzard. A blizzard of feathers!”

“Yes. Barrelbottom collects not only the characters that were rejected, but every element of every story that refuses to fit in. So today, it’s raining feathers. Tomorrow we might suffer a thousand-year drought. The day after, maybe a monsoon of kittens.” The Sniffer smiled. “Once the moon itself crashed into the Swamp.”

Wanda stumbled closer to the old man, rubbing her shoulders in the cold. “What happened?”

“What usually happens. The next day it all started over. But that’s every story, isn’t it? The illusion of change! Everything changes but it all stays the same. Usually, anyway.” The Sniffer stumbled to a stop and took a deep inhalation. “Yes. We’ll need to register you. From there, I can show you around wherever you’d like to go. There’s a thriving musician borough you might enjoy — Jubal. Right next to it reside the rejected gangsters and dons. You might feel at home there, too.”

They shuffled through the feathers. They lay about knee-deep already, but Wanda had no trouble pushing through them. They scratched her bare shins, but that was the price of being fashionable.

Continue reading

The Orphanage at the End of the World

“Get away from there!” The Mother shooed the children away from the window, glancing outside with sharp gasps.

A subway arched over the asphalt sea, crashing down into the blacktop. Theradon was out there, harvesting dandelions! What if he got gobbled up by the beast? Who would get them all food? None of the orphans had been rejected from survival stories. They’d never last out here in the wilderness without him!

“Mother?” Little Lucy peered up at her. “Can’t we watch? The pirate came back!”

At that moment, the glass in the window burst. The entire building shook. Dirt fell from the ceiling. Wooden joints groaned in protest.

Mother’s eyes grew even wider. They drifted toward the window before catching herself. “He can’t know we’re here, children! Now, come! We must take shelter!”

“Ain’t no place safe from a subway. If we’re gonna die, I wanna see it comin’!” Tracy smirked. Her dirty overalls matched her dirty freckled face. “’sides, the whole place is ‘bout to fall down, ain’t it?”

Continue reading

Heavy Lies the Crown

The rats’ tails that grew from Rathair’s scalp stood straight up as he entered the throne room. A damp cement expanse spread between him and the royal seat. Sewer pipes dripped above. The sky shone through dirty metal grates. The floor thronged with thousands of rats. It all smelled of mold and filth.

Atop the throne perched a man dressed in dirty robes of finest formerly white linen. A dented crown ringed his brow. Gemstones tried to gleam from mostly-broken settings. Stubble featured heavily on his face.

The King of Rats nodded to two of his subjects who crouched before him. “Well, of course he’s upset. You did cheat on him.” He listened a moment. “Yes, I understand that rats don’t typically mate for life, but he was rejected from a children’s book. You knew that he was Mr. Ratt when you agreed to marry him, and that meant you would be Mrs. Ratt.” The king placed his fingers against his eyes. “Mrs. Ratt, you gave your word. He has every right to expect you to keep it.” The rat before him skittered and screeched. “You will need to find a counselor. I will not grant you a royal divorce until you’ve at least tried to patch things up.” He held up a hand. “No, my decision is final. Get a counselor, try to work this out. You can come back in three months. Yes, I know how much of that your natural life that is. Go.”

Rathair slunk along the back of the throne room, stepping past scurrying rats of various sizes and colors. He was almost around –

“Son!” The king’s face brightened. “You’re all dismissed. Go. Leave me!”

The sea of fur and tails drained away into cracks and pipes. The scraping of claws against concrete faded.

The King of Rats stood and rushed to him. “How’s my boy? Did you get that eye fixed?” He plucked him from the ground in a ferocious embrace.

Continue reading

Never to Live

Never to Live
by Just B. Jordan

Elwyn has driven herself insane to keep herself alive. They have stolen her memories. Her humanity. Her family. Everything she once had, they have taken.

When her last friend sacrifices himself so she can escape, she finds herself alone in a forest, struggling to find the dragon who slaughtered her village, who made her a murderer, and only her rage can pierce the madness she has wrapped herself in.

Across the sea, the elves are dying. Dragons have driven them almost to extinction. The lord sends Gwendor, Finnion, and a contingent of his best warriors to human lands, where they believe the Twelve Kings control the dragons.

Meanwhile, the Monster of the Kings stirs. The nature spirits mourn. War is coming to the land, and this time, it might leave so few people left that no one will rule what remains of the ravaged lands. Continue reading