Category Archives: Short Stories

Quick fictional stories about anything and everything with recorded audio.

Here friend, take a drink and tell me your tale

“It seems I just got out of a violent gunfight.”

“Woah, how’d you survive?”

“That’s the thing. I don’t think I did.

“Oh yeah? How can you be sure?” The person on the bar stool buying the drink asks as the bartender slides over a beer.

“I mean there was the blacking out and waking up here part. There were a lot of shots from the sheriff, and I think maybe one hit me, but that’s not the main reason.” I tell my new found confidant.

“Then what’s the real reason.” He asks, acquiring a beer himself.

“I don’t think I wanted to survive.” I tell him. I pause, expecting him to freak out or look for the sheriff to call, or spit take his beer, or at least frown. He doesn’t do any of these things. He merely sips his beer and watches me casually as if I’m regaling him with a funny anecdote about a couple chickens chasing a dog. “See, I’ve been prairie dogging this area for a while now. I find a quiet place that hasn’t seen a lot of robbery in a while. I look around to see where there’s money, maybe a bank, maybe a mine, maybe just cattle, and you hit’em when they least expect it.”

“Seems to be a sound method of operation.” The stranger sipping his beer says. He is very aptly named a strangeer, because his reaction is not at all what I expected. I can understand the bartender not say something, that’s kind of his job, and the other patrons of this establishment were probably out of earshot, especially with the piano going, but this guy was hearing me loud and clear. Surely the average person did not respond in such a manner to a claim of death and a life of crime, but his non-judgmental attitude spurs me on. “So what happened this time cowboy? I expect a criminal of your caliber is not tripped up by just some regular old sheriff. I reckon it would take some federal marshals to bring you down.”

“That’s the thing, like I said. I kind of didn’t want to make it. This time I was hitting up a cattle farm, not the most profitable, but if you can make off with a couple good steers the money is still decent. Everything is going alright, and then I look back, big mistake looking back. I see this old lady with her five young kids standing on the porch, not saying anything, not calling for help, just looking at me. I don’t know if the father was dead or just no there at the time, but I knew when I drove those cattle away that I was starving at least a family of five. It got me to thinking. How many other young families have I starved that were just trying to get by. I started doing the math on how much money I stole, how much everything I had taken was all worth, and the number of people was higher than you and I could count on both sets of our feet and hands.” I take a large swig from my beer.

“That’s what did me in I figure. I didn’t turn myself in, but I made a stupid mistake. I went back to hit the bank, same town. Everybody knows you don’t hit the same place twice in less than 24 hours. Sure enough the sheriff was waiting, and we go to shootin’ at each other, and well, here I am.” I take another large swig of my beer. “So you tell me stranger, what’s going on.”

The stranger puts his beer down and leans back.

“Well partner you probably got your bearings by now, so I’ll just keep this brief. You ain’t in heaven as there ain’t no angels, and you ain’t in hell because there ain’t no demons either. So where does that leave you?” I remember a preacher talking about a place like this a while back.

“Purgatory?” I ask. The stranger nods his head.

“So what am I doing here and who are you if you’re not an angel?”

“You are here son because I bet if I told you the almighty was right outside you’d hide your head in shame for what you done. As for who am I? Let’s just say I’m the guy whose going to sit here buying you beers until you forgive yourself for what you done so you can look the almighty in the eye when you move on out.”

Arguing your way into heaven

“Ryan, natural causes, well done my son, see what the lord had prepared for you.” St. Peter waved the man in front of me forward.

“Andrew, suicide.” St. Peter starts to say to me, but I cut him off.

“That’s a mistake.” I blurt out without even thinking.

“I assure you there is no mistake my son. We have made our list and checked it twice. You are a suicide for sure.” St. Peter starts to say something more, and I cut him off again. I fear as soon as he opens his mouth I’ll be condemned and it will be over, but if I can just keep talking and bring him around to my side of thinking, or maybe just stall until Jesus comes out, maybe I’ve got a shot.

“Come on, you had to see everything. I was a hostage. He said you have two choices. It’s your daughter or you, no choose. I chose, and I did the right thing man. That’s not suicide. The guy who was holding a gun to my head clearly forced my hand. That makes it murder. That means I get in. It’s not suicide.”

“You could have refused to kill anyone. Are you sure that gunmen was going to take a life? I have consulted with the angels and I can tell you that man was not going to pull the trigger. We’re sure of it. You are a suicide, now if you.” I cut him off a third time.

“No, that’s not right. It’s suicide by cop, or by robber. I don’t know, but it’s still suicide. I’m not going down there. I did the right thing. Can’t you” St. Peter cuts me off this time.

“You’re going up my son.” He says. I stop my rapid fire defense.

“What?” I say. “But you said I was a suicide.” St. Peter shakes his head.

“Nobody ever reads their catechism anymore. First off, in order for it be a mortal sin, which is the only thing that can cut you off from god, there has to be full consent. In other words, you cannot be coerced into doing it. Somebody holding a gun to your head counts as coercion and basically eliminates your moral culpability. You’re fine on that count, secondly, to clear up the general suicide confusion, the catechism as it was written when you died clearly states that it is very likely that suicides are mentally ill and therefore also have their moral culpability reduced or even eliminated entirely. You’re going to heaven my son. It’s a conversation starter for the other side, that’s all. Everybody wants to know ‘hey friend, how’d you die’. That’s all, don’t take it so seriously.” St. Peter gestures behind him. “See what the lord has prepared for you.”

I can freeze time, but there’s a catch

I have to take someone with me when I go, that’s the rule. Whenever I stop time, I need a companion. It’s a weird rule, and one I don’t really see that much of a point in, but it makes for an interesting time.

I tried taking people I knew first, friends, family, classmates, girlfriends, but the trouble was their brains just couldn’t process it. During the time freeze they would either run off and do their own thing which they’d always wanted to do, or they’d go catatonic with shock and not do anything the whole freeze. That might’ve been alright, after repeated trips they would probably get the hang of things and we could have some proper fun, but the trouble was after the freeze they convinced themselves it didn’t happen.

Some of them would claim they had been drugged by someone. Others would tell me it was all just a lucid dream. When I asked how I remembered the events the same as they did if it was just a dream they told me that they must have already talked to me about the dream and got so excited by it that I had one of my own. It’s amazing how far people will go to maintain their perceptions of reality.

I had a problem then. If I couldn’t take anyone I knew, who could go with me? There was no way I was letting this power go to waste, so who should I take along? After family I tried starting the freeze out with someone then ditching them. That didn’t work, as soon as they were out of sight time resumed as normal.

Next I tried random people from the gym or the coffee shop, but most of those people either fainted or called the cops on me. Or called the cops and then fainted. I don’t think the police had a complete description of me yet, so I stopped trying random people from shops.

This was really beginning to irritate me. I needed someone who I didn’t know, but who had seen enough weird stuff that a little magical time freezing wouldn’t completely weird them out.

That’s when it hit me. I didn’t think it would work. I mean, how could this not end badly? But I was running out of options, so I gave it a try.

“Hey man, I don’t have any money, but I’d love to take a walk around the city with you.”

“I appreciate the offer friend, but you don’t want to walk with me. People give the homeless weird stares.”

“Well you know, I might have just the thing to fix that.”

An ancient being escorts a man to the afterlife

“I can’t believe they used molten lead.” I said, suddenly finding myself by a desert river, much like the one they had done the deed next to. ISIS was a cruel group, and disposing of a reporter with the morbidly creative use of a box and molten lead was shocking to say the least.

“Didn’t see it coming did you?” A man with the a strange white crown and a green face asks as he sits down next to me.

“You’re just in the box, and the next minute everything is all light and heat.”

“At least the high temperatures prevent you from feeling much. Lead turns molten at about 327 degrees Celsius, and that kind of heat seals your nerve endings shut almost instantly.” I shudder.

“It all happened so quickly, and what did I ever do to them? I was unarmed. I kept my distance. You know they actually came and found me miles from where the fighting is happening? Who does that? They even knew I had a wife and kids!” The green faced man picks up a river stone.

“You see this stone? It is like the burdens we carry in life. As we walk through the desert to the river we choose to pick these things up and carry them with us. You now carry a great stone with you, far larger than you can carry if you are to cross this river into what lies beyond. If you should try you would fall to the riverbed and remain there.”

“How is that fair?” I protest. “I didn’t ask for what they did to me.”

“They may have inflicted evil upon you through no fault of your own, but it is you who are choosing to carry the burden of this great stone. I know you don’t feel like you have a choice. They seem to have forced the stone on you. They have made you feel as if this burden is yours to carry, but it isn’t. You need to let it go in order to cross over.” The green faced man throws the stone into the river. “Let it be as if it had never been. For when you are beyond this river such things will no longer matter.”

“How do you know all this?” I ask.

“My brother Seth did the same to me. He sunk me into this river after incasing me in a box and pouring lead down on me. I sank, both in real life and in the afterlife, and it was a long time before I learned to let go of my burden and move on to lighter places.”

“Seth? That sounds familiar, so that makes you…”


“So the egpytians were right? Should I have requested my remains to be embalmed? Wow, Osiris. That makes you one of the big gods right? Should I kneel or something? Are there prayers I should know? I totally did not expect to meet an Egyptian god when I passed on.”

Osiris shakes his head. “I am no god brother. I am just a man who, when I passed on, was fondly remembered by many. I, like many others who have been called gods were merely men that carried themselves with honor during life. It is my self-appointed task to come down here to the crossing point to escort people into the step.”

“So this isn’t heaven?” I ask.

“No brother, it lies beyond. The god, who you will soon meet, found that humans enjoy paradise the most if they first leave behind their worldly burdens. That way there is no taint or tarnish on perfection and you can be in bliss undistracted. Like a bride at a funeral all hurtful memory is left outside, only in heaven, it is never to be taken up again.”

“That sounds wonderful.” I say. Getting to be beyond painful memories forever. “But I don’t think I’m ready yet. It is no easy thing to let go of what you are asking me to let go. Can you sit with me a while longer?”

“As long as you need brother. As long as you need.”

A medical student surgically attaches google glasses and a micro computer to their face. The dean of the medical college contemplates what to do about this

“The student who performed the surgery is here to see you.” My assistant informs me.

“Give me a moment.” I tell her. I can’t believe he managed to afix the google glass to his skull without fracturing his skull. I saw the pictures and it was amazing the implant didn’t cause some sort of structural damage.

I should expel hir for the risk. I tell myself. If she’s this careless as a student, how much more so will she be with a MD?

But think of the benefit to mankind. The metaphorical devil on my shoulder replies. How large of a boon will such a device be to researchers everywhere? Instantaneous access to the complete knowledge of mankind with a mere thought? Vast medical statistics could be immediately provided to patients, or to speed up the diagnostic processes. We cannot let this invention end here.

But whose to say it will even work on someone else? I argue with myself. Perhaps her brain is uniquely suited to this device? It could very well cause an aneurism in other patients. It could still cause an aneurism in her.

So I have an answer for her then? I ask myself.

Yes, I think the answer is clear. I conclude to myself.

“Send her in.” I tell my assistant.

As soon as the bionic student sits down I launch into my recently prepared speech.

“You’re immediately dropped from the program.” I tell her as calmly as I can.

“How can you!” She shouts, standing up. “I did it by myself, and this thing.” She points to her face. “Really does work!”

“Sit down Eve.” I tell her. “I wasn’t finished. She looks torn between a decision to punch me or to burst into tears.

“As I was saying. You are no longer a medical student because no one who will take such unauthorized liberties with the human body should be let near a patient. Besides that our IT department hacked your internet feed and we knew you’ve broken the honor code by cheating on tests. However.” I quickly move on as she looks ready to stand up again.

“You have an exceptional medical mind that we cannot possibly let go to waste. So we are granting you three doctoral degrees with valedictorian status. I also have five offers from major tech companies, including google, who are looking for new research directors.” She stand up again and begins to simultaneously giggle and clap her hands.

“I will say that all of these offers, and the degrees, are contingent on you restraining yourself from future spontaneous acts of bionic surgery. From now on, you have to tell someone before you upgrade yourself. Now then, which offer would you like to discuss first?”

Happiness in human form

It’s a man deciding to use his lunch break to go have a meatball sub with that homeless guy at the intersection. It’s that older sibling who, instead of going out with his friends Friday night, goes home to help their younger sibling with their homework. It’s that friend who didn’t mention they got an ‘A’ on the test so they can comfort you for getting a ‘D’. It’s that guy in the capture the flag lobby who didn’t get mad at you for team killing him on accident. It’s that SO who skipped class and drove 8 hours overnight so they could make you breakfast before you took that life changing standardized test for college or graduate school. It’s that guy on the freeway who waved you over even though he was already late for work. It’s that coworker who kept silent so you could take responsibility for that big project that just wrapped. It’s that boss who remembered to give credit to you when the director came by. It’s that parent who spent years changing your diapers and feeding you, even though you cost them several hours of sleep every night. It’s that friend we all have who spends their weekends volunteering. It’s that classmate who sat with you at lunch instead of sitting with their friends so you didn’t have to be alone. It’s that stranger who asked if you were okay when you were having a bad day. It’s any and every time you gave something to someone else, without expecting anything back.

Now go be the human form of happiness.

To awake from this coma you must complete the quest

Respawn in 20 seconds

Okay, last time I tried the stealth approach to take out the forest guards before the caravan comes through. Hit the first two with my bow and arrow then went in with the knife for the chain combos. Chained up the first four, but the last one saw me before I could finish the combo. He called in the reinforcements, and I had taken too long setting everything before they came through.

Respawn in ten seconds

I had tried the run and gun approach several times, perfectly rehearsing my moves until it was practically muscle memory. Could never clean up all the reinforcements before they arrived. This was the eigth time I had tried the stealth approach. Maybe a combination?

Respawning now, remember, protect your family

Yeah yeah, protect your family, save the convoy. Well, might as well try the stealth approach one more time.

Climb the rock, swing over three trees so I can get the perfect angle. Count to twelve so the guards line up properly….. Now. Gotta make this quick, shot one, shot two, downward strike against the guy with his back turn, chain two kills forward, throw the knife. Dang, the fifth guy saw me. Taking him down with the bow, but he’s already blown the horn, and the reinforcement will get to the caravan before I can.

Nope, this is definitely not the way to do it. Might as well take a look around. I haven’t scouted the map much, and there could be a hidden item or something.

“Help…Me” One of the downed guards says. It’s the one with the horn. Must’ve only wounded him. The guards would say this if you only downed them. I never paid it any mine.

“It won’t matter. Once your buddies finish with the caravan everyone will respawn anyway.”

“Help…Me.” The guard asks again.

“Seriously, give it like twenty seconds. I can already hear them ambushing the caravan now.”


“Fine, what the heck, this should be interesting.” I walk over, lift up his mask, and to my horror, see my little brother’s face staring back at him.

“Help…Me…He won’t wake up.”


“Call an ambulance, he’s not coming around. Somebody please help me.”

“I back peddle, dropping the helmet.” I haven’t been attacking my enemies this whole time. I’ve been attacking my allies, and…and they were somehow family?


Respawning in 20 seconds

How? How was this possible. Where had he come from? Why was my little brother in my….dream? No this couldn’t be a dream. It had gone on for far too long and I remembered way too much. I didn’t have dreams like this.

Respawning in 10 seconds

What had he said after help me? He had said something about an ambulance. Then it hit me. This wasn’t a dream.

Respawning now, remember, protect your family

I had it wrong. My family wasn’t the convoy. My family was the guards.

I run into the middle of the road and start shouting orders.

“You with the horn, call for reinforcements. You three swordsmen with me, archers, up into those trees, they have a nice angle. We’ve got about forty seconds before the convoy shows up.

I look into the eyes of the swordsmen as they line up alongside me.

“Is he going to make it?” I recognize the far left one as my sister.

“We’ll get him to the hospital as soon as we can.” The two men on the far left echo simultaneously.

“Let us come with you!” One of the archers calls from the trees.

“You’ll have to meet us there.” One of the other archers calls back. I block out the rest. I can’t stand to hear my family worrying over me. They’re probably at my bedside right now.

“Convoy in range, arm fire arrows!” I call to the archers. I can see the reinforcements taking positions to ambush behind the bushes.

“Loose!” I call. Arrows tipped with flaming coals fly into the wooden wagons, forcing the pikemen onto the exposed path.

“Hold your positions, wait for the archers to draw them to us.” I call to my small force.

Sure enough, a few spearmen downed to arrows later, and they’re giving up their defensive spears for offensive shortswords.

“Now!” I call to the reinforcements, and we have them in a circle formation in the blink of an eye. Like cornered dogs they lunge at us, and like a well trained pack of wolves we bring them down one by one, until no one is standing.

Everything is dark, then very white.

“Remember protect your family.” I hear a video game announcer declare.

“You still playing that one level.” I hear an older male voice ask.

“It was his favorite, besides I never beat it.” A younger voice replies.

“Yeah, because you’re going about it wrong.” I sit up, telling my younger brother. “Here, give me the controller and let your older brother show you how it’s done.”

World’s Oldest Man Dies at 54

“Studies continue to show rising happiness trends after the passing of the world’s oldest man at the age of 54. The death rate from the cancer that resulted from all of the nuclear fallout has finally leveled off with an average life expectancy of 42. Something not seen practically since Rome was in power. We are going now live in the field to reporter Robert Jones who is at his funeral to ask people about this startling trend. Jones?”

“Thanks Steve. There’s a pretty good party going at the funeral. His family is mourning inside, but the rest of us are recognizing a life well lived and ended not long after his prime. I’m here with a fellow celebrator. Sir, how do you feel about the trending happiness despite the atrocious life expectancy?”

“Well Jones, it’s been a long known fact that countries with lower life expectancies were happier even before WWIII. Now that most people won’t reach fifty so much of the pressure is off.”

“What do you mean the pressure is off?”

“You see Jones, before the war people would spend decades of their lives figuring out what to do and hunting down the perfect person. Now the average person has a job that they enjoy before the age of fifteen because the economy can’t support extended periods of unemployment through education, and typically married before 18 because if you want to see your grandkids you better get to it.”

“But aren’t people afraid they’ll make the wrong decisions? What about the midlife crisis where people realize they’re not doing what they want with their lives?”

“Jones, people don’t have time to worry about that sort of thing anymore. All they have to worry about are providing for their loved ones and coming home to a family who supports them. All the rest is just too much to be getting on with.”

The hero of prophecy

“It has been almost a decade of training for you my young apprentice. You were brought to this farm as a small child, so little you do not even remember your parents. I have taught you the use of the bow, the sword, your hands, and even a little magic. You have learned speech-craft and the artistry of words so that you can employ them to sway your fellow man and inspire him to deeds of incalculable heroism. Now is the time to depart. Go now, and seek your destiny.”

With a bow, and a full kit of combat and wilderness survival gear, the hero departed, entering the woods surrounding the farm. It was his time, the hour of fate, now he was to go forth and… hang, on were those wolves? Yep, those were certainly wolves. Like, a lot of wolves, and rapidly approaching.

Our hero drew his sword, readied his shield, mentally rehearsed the incantation for a fireball, and braced himself for the drawing of his first blood.

He had a bit of a start when a girl, a girl about his age, burst through the underbrush.

“Oh thank goodness.” She said, tears in her eyes, as she caught site of our hero. “They’ve got my scent and I’m unarmed, please will you help me?”

Our hero knew what to do. He produced a pair of knives from his pack and placed them in the girl’s hands.

“I’ve got you covered, stay behind me, keep your back against mine, and yell if you’re about to be overwhelmed. I’ve got this covered.” Without another word he placed himself in front of her, and with renewed purpose stepped in front of the maiden to use himself as human shield against the tide of teeth and claws.

No sooner had he done so then a score of wolves lunged from the surrounding bushes, and quickly encircled our hero. Good, he should be able to pick a few off with fireballs this way. He twirled his sword hand and began reciting the spell accurately. Midway through the incantation he felt the girl begin to shake at his back. He paused his spell to comfort her.

“Hey, I’ve been trained for way worse than this. You’ll see. A little fire and these guys are going to turn tail and run.” Having said this, another man, on horseback burst through the brush and began calling down lightning to fell the wolves. In less than three heartbeats half of the beasts were put down, and the rest were running for the woods.

The horsemen turned to our surprised hero and called out. “Huzzah! And well met my good man, come, help me give chase to the vile things. There is a farm a mile hence which they are no doubt making for with all speed. Quickly now! While the scent is fresh.” Our hero looked at the man, then at the spot where the wolves departed. This is what he trained for, chasing wolves, defending the helpless, but shouldn’t he be better than this guy? He had almost half a minute, and hadn’t killed any wolves, this guy had killed most of them in just a few seconds.

Still, he might learn from him. Who said his training was done. He could follow this man and fulfill his destiny.

Then he felt the girl quivering with his back to him, and he knew what to do.

“Sorry mate, you have a good run at those wolves. I’m going to stay here and make sure she’s alright.” The horsemen nodded, understanding.

“Suit yourself. Good travel to you strangers.” And with that, his horse dove into the woods. Our hero dropped his sword and shield, turned towards the girl who was still staring at the ground as if she expected a wolf to take shape and leap from the earth. He wrapped his arms around her, and pulled her in.

“It’s going to be alright. I won’t let anything happen to you. It’s going to be alright.”

What wizards do when they’re bored

“You shall not pass!!” The wizard shouted at the students entering the classroom. The professor was still in shocked silence from when he had appeared in a flash of smoke mere moments before. The students also froze as they came in, forming clumped lines in the hallways.

“Security.” The professor whispered into an emergency phone.

The wizard rounded on him, bringing his staff to bear, circling it as he incanted “I am a servant of the secret fire, wielder of the flame of arnor. The dark fire will not avail you flame of Udun! Go back to the shadow. YOU. SHALL. NOT. PASS!” He then blasted the exam papers into the air, setting them on fire to the cheers of the students.

At this point security walked in, and the wizard turned to once again address the class. “Fly you fools.”