Wednesday, 27 February 2013


by John Xero

I am coming unstuck. The stars are like jellyfish, bobbing gently – you could reach out and touch them but the sting would be killer.

Mankind has been picking and poking at the seams of the universe for too long. Pushing physics to breaking point, picking, picking, picking, free energy, limitless resources, got to be in there somewhere, pick, pick, pick.

Where are your golden eggs?

I grow weary of this ridiculous charade. Fuck etiquette. This is my body, my innards, my soul you have your grubby hands in, and I say: Get out.

Get out. Get out. Get out.


Author bio: John Xero is fascinated by notions of a sentient universe, in whatever form it might take, and what it must think of us, if it thinks of us at all...
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Friday, 22 February 2013


by Jess Cochrane

Professor Elkins grew entirely dissatisfied with the world of today, and so he sought to find something else - a new world and a better today. His fervent tinkerings resulted in a most marvellous machine, capable of moving sideways through the multi-faceted universe and thrusting its user into parallel worlds.

Delighted, Elkins went off in search of a new home.

Sixteen days later, the professor returned. As it turned out, parallel universes were, indeed, parallel - nothing more than carbon copies of our own world, right down to the absent Elkins-copies, each looking elsewhere for something better that could not be found.

Author bio: Jess Cochrane is an Australian writer, currently "working on a novel" as all writers tend to do. Her short stories, random ramblings and tributes to villains can be found on her blog:

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


by John Xero

Marking the days made Dr. Cooke feel more human, somehow. Her battered almanac predicted an eclipse.

The sky revealed nothing. Just clouds of ash, as usual.

She tried to remember daylight, the sensation of sun on skin – tantalising memories, out of reach.

The wan light dimmed further and she saw something slink between crumbling tower blocks in a scuff of shadows and dust. She stiffened. In this penumbra between bright civilisation and the new dark ages only the hostile survived.

She licked her knife of jagged bone. Only the hostile thrived. All that remained were predators, preying on each other.

Author bio: Who knows what monsters lie within us civilised folk? Waiting for an excuse to take control, to lose control, to save us from the monsters all around...
John Xero is at one with his monster, they discuss humanity over tea and crumpets.
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Thursday, 14 February 2013


by Carla Girtman

There was a doctor who longed for his true love. He had offers and blind dates, but remained alone and lonely.

His last patient was a woman. She sat on the examining table showing signs of cardiac distress.

As he leaned in to listen to her heart, something clinked against his stethoscope. He opened her paper gown, and centred between her breasts was a heart-shaped lock.

She blushed. “Mama always said there was someone who has the key to my heart.”

He slipped off his glove, revealing his key-shaped finger. “Papa always said I would unlock my true love’s heart.”

Author bio: Carla enjoys the challenge of 100 word stories. Although her three cats claim they write better, they lie. She has taken up the Nano novel challenge where words will fly.

Read the other half of the 101 Fiction Valentines double bill: Roleplay


by John Xero

“We dropped so many hints,” the women said. “Now we're going back to Venus because you weren't paying attention.”

“But it's not our fault,” the men cried, “it's a well known fact that you're riddles wrapped in enigmas wrapped in alluring curves and bumpy bits.”

“Too late,” the women replied, “you didn't buy us the good chocolates often enough, the Belgian ones with the swirls and the caramel crunch.”

“But, um,” the men cast their eyes down, “we're kind of addicted, we'll miss you.”

“You'll miss us?” The women's gazes softened, “That was, well, all we really wanted to hear.”

Author bio: John Xero is easily pleased. Though he would prefer an Eccles cake and a good cup of tea to a box of chocolates.

Read the other half of the 101 Fiction Valentines double bill: Openings

Friday, 8 February 2013


by Sandra Davies

"Mount Grace."

"Is that an order?"

Crudely pretending I'd suggested something I'd no intention of allowing. "Carthusian, it's a priory."

"So it's nuns?"

"No, it's monks."

"How does a priory differ from a monastery?"

"I just thought it’d be a good place to..."

"Mount Grace?"

I changed my mind. I had thought it the ideal setting for a proposal but he was no longer the man I wanted to marry. I tried to dodge his suddenly encircling arm, his lips close to my ear.

"It’s what I've always wanted, Grace, to mount you," flicker of a knife, "on my wall."

Author bio: Sandra Davies usually writes romances, but at other times blames the company she keeps. Currently she blogs most regularly at, with illustrations.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


by John Xero

The dawn mist hung low and tattered through Shawton Wood. The gnarled hawthorn trees were riddled with bulbous galls and their split bark oozed dark sap.

To drunken Toby there were shadowy assailants behind every trunk and he jumped as a low branch touched his shoulder. He took a deep breath.

The branch wrapped tightly around his arm. He pulled at it but more wound round him, pulling against each other until his body could take no more and he came apart in a gushing, splattering rush of blood.

The woods creaked like the fog-dampened screams of a dying man.

Author bio: John Xero knows never to go into the deep, dark woods. Not in the real world. But sometimes the deep, dark woods of the mind are where the best stories sleep...
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Friday, 1 February 2013


by Milo James Fowler

There would be no stopping them this time. Already the pirates had managed to breach the hull of the Effervescent Magnitude and phase-shift through walls and floors, straight to the engineering deck.

"They plan to cripple the ship at its core." Captain Bartholomew Quasar pensively chewed on his knuckles. Then he shouted, "Blow the reactor!"

"We'll never survive!" countered his first officer.

"Neither will they." Quasar struck a meaningful pose in his deluxe-model captain's chair. "Sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good."

"Whose good, sir? There's no one else out here."

"It's the principle of the thing, dammit!"

Author bio: Milo James Fowler (@mfowler76) is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night.