It was nearly midnight before the first fatal drops splattered from the rattling still.

The old woman checked the door, but she was alone. Her husband was long since in bed, the cat was locked safely in the cellar, and the most lethal poison in the world was gathering in the bottom of one of her grandmother’s rose tea cups. And her other self? The harried young woman she’d been all those years ago? She wouldn’t be there. That was certain. The old woman no longer remembered exactly where she had been that week, but somewhere else. A business trip…

This year, I am committing to write one short story every week.

I’ll be doing this with the lovely and talented people from the Writing Cooperative and the 2017 52 Week Writing Challenge. There’s only one rule: you write a Thing every week for 52 weeks.

I picked short stories, because I think it will help me build up my portfolio, and my writing-resume. I want to have something I can submit to magazines, while I’m working on my latest revision.

Okay, and maybe have something I can point to as progress, as success, along the way. Look, ma! …

The screams died down faster than you would think; the icy water took most of our sacrifices before the drowsy demons woke to notice the men struggling against the tide. Here and there, a marked warrior swam back toward the ship, but none reached it, and the priests did not have to scrape their clawing hands off the timbers.

When the demons did come, the sea boiled gently, and the few survivors were brave. The demons dragged them fast and deep. Afterward, the Death Lamp caught just a trace of blood on the waves.

It was a good sacrifice, and…

The morning the Dragons came, the cat was in a questionable mood at best. That was understandable. When he was a kitten, and Mr. and Mrs. Dragon were still very young, Mr. Dragon pulled his tail. And Mrs. Dragon set him on fire. Simultaneously.

After all, he’d just fallen in the pig sty, and didn’t their own mother burn them clean, when they got dirty? In retrospect, even the cat could admit it was an honest mistake.

When his fur finally grew back, it had an iridescent sheen, like dragon smoke and wind. His tail — where a young Mr…

“What about the ethical implications?” The old journalist glanced at her notebook, shifted her weight, and smothered the impulse to look at the boy, instead of the crippled man. Looking at Professor Williams was difficult. Always had been. Tubes, wires, atrophy. The impossible angle of his permanently crooked neck, and now this. “To put it delicately, the ethical implications are…”

“What ethical implications?” The scientist’s words were jarring in the young boy’s voice. “There are no ethical implications. It’s not a person. It never has been.”

She raised an eyebrow. “Then, what is he?”

“Legally? It’s a very large mass…

Deep in the mines, under the Jansen lift, where the miners’ families lived in darkness sat an ashy Peacock. His spun glass feathers stretched above him, and he held his head high. Now and then, if one of the miners forgot — or chose — not to turn off his lamp at the door, the moving light flashed against the Peacock, against his onyx eyes or his sapphire breast, or tickled against his sweeping tail, and that was all. A glimpse. A fragment of a hope.

Then, as if he’d stolen something far more precious than a drop of oil…

I ran away from home, the summer I turned ten. And I packed for never coming back.

If there was a reason, I don’t remember. With three older brothers, there was enough reason. Too young, too short, too girl. Whatever the reason was, it carried me out of our apartment, through the endless steel corridors, and a mile or two down the nearest freight elevator.

I stuffed my backpack with jeans and t-shirts, and three changes of clean underwear. …

Karen Lynn

I’m a writer and a thinker with a day job, who has been known to dance and paint.

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