Published

A Harmless Prank

 

harmless
image : GrandLogistics.flickr.com

This story is one that never would have been published without a draft or two (or three) presented to my writing group. Thanks to Craig, Emrie, Mireille and Steph for the candid feedback and patience to sit through yet another version. It was first published by Ariel Chart in June 2018.

A Harmless Prank

by DL Shirey

Morning came to the courtyard between iron bars of a skylight, brightening the floor outside his cell door. Finner dropped to his knees and touched his cheek to cold concrete, eyeballing the distance and angle from his door to Peralta’s. Finner had an idea how to cheer up his shipmate, then he wondered, are we still called shipmates on dry land?

Prisoners weren’t allowed to speak, so they wrote messages instead. Finner hadn’t traded words with Peralta for three weeks, not since their jailers confiscated the conveyance used to pass notes. When it was found, Finner took a beating, but it didn’t stop him from assembling another rig.

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Published

The Night Before Trash Day

windowguy
image : ucg.org

Blink-Ink‘s issue #32 featured this story in May 2018. The volume was called “Curbside” and I was fortune to be selected among the 25 eclectic, succinct 50-word storytellers. Click over to the site right now and subscribe. It’s quarterly, it’s printed and it’s fabulous.

The Night Before Trash Day

by DL Shirey

I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand and chuck the apple core to the street below. It spatters on impact, bits of fruit glisten under the streetlamp. A stray dog trots up and sniffs. I place my rifle on the scarred windowsill and wait for rats

END

Published

6:58

6-58
image : shutterstock.com

In March 2018, I was fortunate to be among the contributors to the innaugural issue of NUNUM. This journal blends flash fiction and art, so each story has a unique graphic design and can only be appreciated via their online reader.

I very much enjoyed the artistic rendering, but it made the piece a bit hard to read. Here it is in story-form.

6:58

by DL Shirey

Verle was a man of routine. Each morning his eyes ticked open minutes before seven o’clock. He’d stretch, rub his chin to test the grit of day-old stubble and wait. Verle enjoyed the sleepy silence of his curtained room, eyes half-closed, waiting to hear the clamor. A succession of sounds would start his day: the alarm clock’s buzz, the automatic grind of beans from the fancy coffeemaker, insistent bawls for cat chow.

Verle was often tempted to stop the first noise to see if it would prevent the others from occurring. If that tree did not fall in the forest, would there still be other sounds? This temptation never converted to action; it would rob him of those precious seconds of silence. At the buzz, Verle would roll across the blank expanse of Evie’s side of the bed and slap the clock silent.

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Published

Hand of God

Hand of God
image : columbia.edu

I’m so glad Fictional Pairings published my story last December. Such a cool idea to publish fiction and pair the stories with music, so it was quite a treat to have these folks provide a soundtrack to my weird tale. And I must say, the selected tune fits the piece, as they say, like a glove.

Hand of God

by DL Shirey

Day clicked on and the city was about its business. Perpendicular streets, buildings in workaday beige, multistory windows with gray reflections of smudged, flat sky. Block upon uniform block, an automatic map I followed from here to there without thinking.

Then came a movement from above; two movements, from opposite edges of sky.

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Published

Actuality

Actuality 2
image : nightphotographybook.com

Tyler Malone, editor at madswirl, wrote an afterword for my piece when it was published in December 2017: When we wonder what we’ve become, the next thought will be when will we become more, then it becomes the last breath that we take. Thanks, Tyler. June 2018 update: The story is also available in a madswirl anthology.

Actuality

by DL Shirey

Griffin liked to arrive early enough to cruise by the parking lot until a 15-minutes-only space opened. There, he would sit in the car for half an hour, rearview mirror tilted at the coffee shop. The seat belt could be undone in an instant, but first impressions couldn’t.

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Published

Floaters

floaters50P
image : livescience.com/

“My floaters followed the motion of her hand, lurching gelatinously whenever my eyes moved.” That’s the excerpt Truth Serum Press used to promote my story for their fiction anthology.

This story is one of my earliest. It is among the first read to my writing group in early 2015. A dozen times rejected, it underwent a major rewrite somewhere along the way. Reading it now I still see many flaws, but reprint it here, warts and all.

FLOATERS

by DL Shirey

I noticed floaters whenever the room was lit; particles danced in the periphery, my vision framed by ghostly specks.

Long before I knew them better, an ophthalmologist explained. She palmed a plastic replica the size of a grapefruit, popped apart each nested section of the eyeball and placed them on a stainless steel tray. As a fleet of half-orbs rocked upon flat metal, the doctor held one up.
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Published

Tiny Black Fingers

work-gloves
image : garygardiner.com

This story was published in Volume 2, Issue 4 of Thing Magazine back in June 2017. The only way to read this Ezine is to subscribe and get it delivered via email. So, for those who missed it, may I present…

Tiny Black Fingers

by DL Shirey

The baby slumped on my shoulder, noiseless except rapid breathing. Tiny black fingers slipped around my neck, a grasp of desperation, pulling at my pale skin. His name was Sam and his grip relaxed slightly when I stroked the hair on his head. He finally realized the man who pulled him from his hiding place was not the one who abused him.

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