Recording. Ruined.

“To second chances,” Dr. Clark raised her glass of champagne. “To second chances,” the gathered scientists raised their own glasses to the toast. “I hope we get one,” Dr. Clark added quietly to herself before she emptied the glass in one chug. Then, she put on a smile and nodded at the group. The brightest…

Lonely Sun

Billy relaxed after stepping through the portal and onto solid ground. Ballisea’s invitations tended to catch him by surprise; it was rare he greeted her on his feet. He stepped into a world he’d never been to but knew in his soul. Billy stood atop a violet mountain looking out over a white forest. At…

Death’s Favor

Alliane woke with a start. Her eyes flew open and stared at the darkened ceiling while she tried to listen for what was bothering her. Silence. Her husband wasn’t snoring, and the clock wasn’t ticking. She turned and glanced out the second-story window and noticed the patio light was on. She always turned it off…

Vanilla Deterrent

Arnold blinked. He squeezed his thumb on the stopwatch the moment he opened his eyes. The strange man in a white suit and orange tie sat resting on the park bench as if he’d always been there. He stared off into the sky while relaxing with both his arms on the side of the park…

Lunar Origin

Astrid looked the frail, short man up and down. Astrid’s mother, Tana, stood 5’6″, but the bag of bones next to her was noticeably shorter. His skin color matched Astrid’s, both were several shades darker than Tana’s dark brown. There was no doubt he was Astrid’s father. “Hi,” Astrid said, then she turned to the…

Stone-cold Nerves

“The view could be worse,” Elijah thought again. Every time his mind wandered he kept himself sane by focusing on the bright side. He may have been time-locked, but he was sitting outside on a beautiful orange and purple evening. There was no breeze but the weather was almost cool. He found a pleasant spot…

Vanilla Secret

“You think that’s all?” Billy asked Cherry as he lowered his arms. He raised them to protect his head from an onslaught of stones that came flying out of small black holes; they seemed to stop coming. “For now, probably,” Cherry said. “But, I think you can count on Ballisea terrorizing you for a while.”…

Vanilla Burial

Billy placed Vanilla’s body in the shallow hole gently. He lowered her legs first, being extra careful not to dirty her bright orange dress more than he needed to. Then, he guided her head to rest on a green, leathery pillow that Billy made himself. The leather belonged to a T-rex that Vanilla kept time-locked…

Vanilla Life

Billy followed Vanilla into a black stone castle and through the wide open hallways. She led him to an indoor swimming pool filled with crystal clear water. A tall pale woman floated on her back in the center of the pool with her eyes closed; strands of her vibrant red hair floated around her. “Her?”…

Vanilla Visit

“Whoa…,” Billy sighed when Vanilla finished her tale. He looked out giant bay windows in the living room at the never-ending ocean. Glacier-like chunks of ice dotted the horizon. There was no trace of the mountaintop Vanilla claimed they were on, but he trusted her implicitly. “This is that Earth? Those are all your tears?”…