#TwitterFiction: April Fool’s Jokes

Last night I decided that an “April Fool’s Joke” was actually a creepy little story that might or might not involve someone being tricked. I came up with a few tweets before bed and started posting them first thing this morning. I’ve collected them all below.

Flash Fiction: After The War

Tennis Ball

(image via Wi Bing Tan on Flickr)

After The War is a short story I wrote for a contest at Mash Stories. The prompt was to write a 500 word story that used the terms “tennis ball”, “bunker” and “animal rights”. I didn’t make the shortlist, but you can read other entries at the Mash Stories site.

Doug. I found the tennis ball. I know you were trying to hide it from me. I don’t know why you would do that. Weren’t we friends? Didn’t we get along? I know things are different after the war, but I thought we had an understanding. We had mutual respect. That sort of thing. I mean… that was my favorite tennis ball!

They send me in as part of the clean-up crews. I’m good at it. Good at finding all the hiding places. I go in first because I’m the best. Most of the time we don’t find anything interesting. Dead bodies are old news. We’ve all seen plenty. They stink up the place and we pull them out. Pile them up and burn them. What we’re really looking for are the secrets. The things the other side kept from us all these years.

Well, today they sent me into your house. Of all places! It felt like I hadn’t been there in years, even though the war was over in no time at all. I didn’t think I’d find much in the way of secrets, but I search every house just the same.

I did think I might find you, but you weren’t there. No dead bodies, either. Just my favorite tennis ball. I only found it because a bomb blew out half a wall. It knocked down the shelf where you hid the ball. I recognized it immediately. Very sneaky of you.

Listen, Doug, I’m a patriot like everyone else here in bunker number nine. I know that if I saw you again today we couldn’t be friends. It’s just not in the cards for us. That doesn’t mean I don’t have good memories of us together. We were fond of each other, weren’t we?

I believe in the cause, I do, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to know your side of the story. It just hurts to know you hid something like this from me. It validates everything our glorious leader, Seamus, says about relationships with humans. “You can’t trust humans!” he says, and I didn’t want to believe him because you seemed okay enough.

When the uprising began, did you join in the call for our heads? Did you run and scream and hide, or did you stand and fight? You seemed like a brave enough human, like that time you scared away those raccoons, but it’s hard to compare. I learned about humans through what I saw and what the others told me, but I don’t know everything. I only really had one-on-one time with you.

If I see you again, I will want answers. I am going to keep looking, keep searching in houses. I will dig and sniff everywhere. If I find you and I don’t like what you say, I will tear out your throat. After all, I will let nothing stand in the way of my comrades and our god-given campaign for universal animal rights.

Micro-Fiction: Physical Double

Twins playing chess

I wrote “Physical Double” for a contest at Prime Number Magazine. The prompt asked for a 53-word story in the form of a want ad.

WANTED: Exact physical double. Long lost twin or unlikely genetic experiment preferred. Must be willing to shave all sinister facial hair and recreate common mannerisms. Fool all friends, family, lovers and co-workers to receive generous bonus payment upon completion. No pet allergies or hidden agendas. Call 555-2566 for more information and to apply.

Flash Fiction: The Blue Door

Blue Door.This story was my submission for round ten of NPR’s Three-Minute Fiction contest. The prompt was to tell a story in the form of a voicemail message.

Karen? It’s me.
I don’t want… I don’t want you to freak out.
This isn’t a joke, I promise. It’s really me.
You need to stay calm.
I don’t have much time here, they…
You’re probably pretty upset right now. I know I would be too if I’d just seen…
I can’t imagine. What you must be going through.
But you have to listen. You have to listen to me, honey.
There’s a way to fix it. There’s a way to fix everything.
I wouldn’t be talking to you if there wasn’t a way.
These people here, it’s… amazing, honey. I wish you could see it.
The sunlight has this. I can’t quite describe it. I don’t have the words to…
Sorry, I’m getting sidetracked.
Karen, honey, you need to do exactly what I say.
The police have probably already talked to you, but if they haven’t… don’t mention this call.
They won’t understand. It’s very important. You have to keep this a secret.
Everything is going to be fine.
I need you to go downtown, to that little restaurant we used to go to.
The Italian one, the one your mother liked so much.
I almost proposed to you there, did you know that?
I hope it’s not too late. It doesn’t have to be too late.
Go to the restaurant downtown and talk to Tino. He’s the manager.
Tell him you need to go through the blue door.
He’ll know what you’re talking about.
Don’t let him talk you out of it.
He’s never been through the door. He doesn’t know.
He has a key, though.
I trust him. You can trust him.
Make him give you the key.
Ask him to take you to the blue door.
There’s a back way, he knows how to get there.
Make sure to take a coat.
Something about that place… it sucks the heat right out of you.
And I know how you get.
Your feet are like ice cubes.
But I don’t mind. I miss it. I miss you.
Go through the blue door and you’ll be in this tunnel.
Make sure you don’t touch the walls.
You might see some… people there.
I don’t want you to be afraid, but you have to be careful.
Some of those people can… they can do things.
They can’t be trusted.
But they’ll leave you alone if you don’t make eye contact.
Just face forward and keep walking and you’ll be there in no time flat.
You might want to wear some good boots, too. The floor gets kind of rocky.
You’ll come out into this big room.
I asked them once how big it was and nobody could tell me.
There are flowers there that look like they came from an alien planet.
Don’t let the people there sell you anything.
The thing that looks like a dog is not a dog.
Head to the far side of the room and you’ll get to this big house. It’s a mansion, really.
Talk to one of the guards and tell him I sent you.
He’ll take you in to see the duchess.
Tell her what happened.
The whole story, from the beginning.
Tell her that I… that I’m dead.
She’ll know what to do.
She can be kind of scary, but she gets things done. She’ll help.
I know this is hard, but you can do it.
I have to go now. The connection won’t hold much longer.
I love you, honey.
I love you so much.