Rivals at Height

The beetle was largish, dark, with a strange wing case bump like the engine on a muscle car. I wanted it.

Also present was Raymond. Explorer, scientist, braggart, narcissist… my greatest rival.

“I’m amazed you haven’t died of vertigo already,” he called from his branch.

“Hah!” I replied. “Your confidence is based only on your flight membranes. You old bat.”

Close enough. I leapt! Wrapped myself around the branch. The beetle was mine.

Crunch. Delicious.



Possible alternative titles:

The Entomophages

Two rivals sitting in a tree, c h e w i n g.


Inspired by this beetle:

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Violence Reflects Poorly On Us All

Red cloth

Soft skin

A knife

A press of people

No one knows her

No one says anything

The door opens

Taxi at the side of the road

Meaningless chatter with the driver. “Yes I caught the train to see an old friend, he’ll be very surprised.”

Taxi at the side of the road

The door opens

No one says anything

No one knows her

A press of people

A knife

Soft skin

Red cloth


A bit experimental this one. Did it work? Was it clear what was going on?

I wanted to make a palindrome of imagery. I suppose “No one knows her” is the odd one out then, as that’s not an image, or a scene. Perhaps it should be replaced.

The second place I feel it falls short is that the “meaningless chatter” is the central, largest block of text, when really it’s the least important. But it does give the essential background to make sense of the rest, so maybe it’s OK. It’s pivotal to understanding, if not story. I wonder if I could make a palindrome story without a pivot, so that there are 2 identical lines next to each other, but it still makes sense as a whole. A challenge for the future.

Some Driverless Cars Are More Equal Than Others

“You bought a merc? Is this your midlife crisis-mobile?”

“Hey! It’s a great car. Super comfortable.”

“You know those things have a selfish autopilot, right? Every other driverless car on the road works together to get everyone home, but your car will be cutting lanes, stuffing up the traffic flow for the rest of us.”

“And getting me home faster. Anyway, it could have been worse.”


“I could have bought a BMW.”


This story brought to you by the number 5, and the fact that BWM drivers are apparently 5 times more likely to cut you up than any other vehicle.

Also apologies to all responsible Mercedes and BMW drivers out there, if you exist.

Demon’s Slave

The thief must have known she wouldn’t make it. Why else would she waste her eighth life to brush past me, leaving the heart behind?

She didn’t make it far, ninth life lost before she neared the wall.

I went to the overlord, heart in hand.

“Best of slaves! Give that here. You shall become first of my lieutenants.”

Instead I bit into it, my body swelling as his shrank. Demonhood was a small price.

When Vegetables Vacate

It started small, pansies perambulating, safely contained in back yards or aimlessly crossing streets. We soon grew used to crushed flowers lining roads.

Then the bushes began brachiating, up their larger cousins and over fences. The plants were constrained no more. Gardens emptied, or overfilled with shrubberies seeking… whatever plants want.

Trees tore up roots and tottered. A fence doesn’t slow a tree. We watched as gambolling gums and jumping jarrahs left. They’d had enough.

Rocky-o and Juliant

When the young queen and the gem fell for each other the ants and stones despaired.

“But he shines like chitin,” she said. “And is kind like spring.”

“She’s patient as a diamond, and decisive as an avalanche,” he said, desperate to convince the geologic council to hear.

But who can really explain love?

In the end they were hunted down, but not before she birthed her first brood.

Hidden veins of opal survive them.

All Right Now

“Jen, you’re awake. Excellent. You may feel rather woozy. That’s normal.

“Now, to check everything is working please raise your hand. Good. Touch your mouth, your nose. Good. Blink your eye. Raise your foot. Great.

“I’m about to introduce you to your new twin. Your ‘better half’ as it were, haha. She would like you to see this as liberation rather than separation. She does. We left you all the memories she didn’t want.”


I don’t normally write horror, but this was my attempt at it. I was going for good old-fashioned body horror of the “I’ve just woken up and half of me is missing” variety, but I’m not sure it came across well. I think I needed to be more visceral and get in the head of the afflicted person to do that properly.