An Alien Sunset for Friday Flash Fics, by Jeff Baker. September 27, 2019.

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The Light at the Sky’s End

By Jeff Baker

 

“There it goes!” Carlos said. “Isn’t it beautiful?”

Bryan stood on the beach awestruck. The setting sun was suddenly surrounded by brilliant rings of light. Beautiful.

“Yeah,” Bryan managed to say.

Carlos had given Bryan a long, complicated scientific explanation; during the period when the smaller companion of the double star was behind the larger one, the fluctuations of the star’s light react with the mists from the sea to produce rings or a spiral.

“You sure do know how to take the wonder out of everything,” Bryan had cracked. Then he’d seen the phenomenon himself; the wonder was still there.

“The natives on this planet used to say it was the eye of God when he was displeased,” Carlos said. “At least, that’s what they inscribed on the tablets we found.”

“What happened to the natives anyway?” Bryan said. “The ones who stood here and watched this long ago.”

“Don’t know,” Carlos said. “Nobody’s ever found any trace of them.”

“But we will, right?”

“Right.” Carlos said. “That’s what we’re here for.”

The two of them stared at the rings around the setting sun reflected in the sea and Bryan wondered if it might really be the displeasure of God.

 

—end—

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The Swallows Return for Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker, for September 20 (22nd!), 2019

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                         When the Swallows Return

By Skip Hanford

 

Andrew turned the small plane away from the sun.

“Take a look down there,” he said.

“Sure,” Carlyle said. “But first, let’s join the mile-high club.”

“Only if somebody can fly the plane,” Andrew said. “Take a look down there.”

Andrew Bentley owned what he firmly believed was one of the last working airplanes in the country, if not the world. Certainly the last private plane.

“Okay,” Carlyle said, staring out the window. “Where do you want me to look?”

“Down there,” Andrew said. “See?”

“All I see is that big field and, hey! A combine! Didn’t know they were still working! They’re harvesting down there!” He looked at Andrew, grinning. “I just didn’t see it, something so normal!”

“Things are getting back to normal,” Andrew said. “Slowly.”

They flew around for a while longer. It was late summer and they saw farmers at work, combines, grain trucks, fields.

“The good thing is they didn’t bother to hit the rural areas,” Andrew said.

“Yeah,” Carlyle said. They flew on in silence for a while.

“Better get back,” Andrew said. “Just glad we’re stocked up on fuel.”

“Yeah,” Carlyle said. “They probably don’t make that anymore.”

 

—end—

 

Egomaniacal Author’s Note: This was set in the world of an unpublished story of mine, hence use of the pen name. —–jsb.

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Friday Flash Fics Goes Under the Sea for Friday the Thirteenth. (On Sunday the Fifteenth! Blame Jeff Baker!)

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Under The Sea

By Jeff Baker

 

“Shhhh…” Diaz said, finger to his lips, voice echoing in the damp, seaside cave. “I think this is it.”

“You’re sure?” Nehemiah asked. “Took us enough to get here. Let’s get what we came for and leave before the tide comes in.”

“Treasure better be worth it,” I said.

“It will be,” Diaz said. “Better than the lost gold of the Incas. Did you ever hear of the Library of Alexandria?”

“Yeah, but the Gulf of Tunis is nowhere near Alexandria.” The Gulf of Tunis was what would be lapping at our ankles if we stayed in the cave much longer.

“This is better than the Library of Alexandria,” Diaz said. “The Lost Library of the University at Dom-Daniel.”

“The what?” I said.

“The fabled college of sorcery in a cavern under the sea, just off the Tunisian coast,” Diaz said. “Started by wizards in the days of the Carthaginian Empire, and blessed by Astarte herself. Probably the legends of the Alexandrian Library started here.”

“Here?” Nehemiah said. “This cave?”

“It’s the doorway,” Diaz said. “Knowledge handed down in my family for over a thousand years. Along with this.”

He held up a circle of metal with a jagged, pointed edge at one side.

“Is that one of those things that slices vegetables and newspaper pages?” Nehemiah asked.

“No!” Diaz snapped. “It’s a key. The key, to the Library. My ancestor was a Necromancer. He studied at Dom-Daniel.”

“And it only cost him his soul. He’s still paying back the loans.” Nehemiah snarked.

“Very funny.” Diaz said. “My ancestor worked in the Library. I guess you’d say he was a proctor. He was one of the last and when the school shut down he kept the key.”

“So?” I said.

“They may have left things behind. Magical artifacts. Books….” Diaz said.

“Talking dragons…” Nehemiah said. Diaz ignored him.

“All I do is hold the key up to the wall,” he said walking along the wall, “…and maybe…yes!”

A small section of the cave wall was glowing a bright green. So was the key Diaz was holding.

“Here goes,” he said.

The key silently slipped into the green section of wall. A large doorway-sized part of the wall swung open like, well, like a door. We could see a blue glow on the other side. We ducked in and the door shut behind us.

The room had smooth stone walls. It was lit by the blue light and none of us could see where it came from. There were old, wooden bookshelves on one side of the wall. Empty shelves. The room wasn’t that big. Maybe nine or ten feet high and about twenty feet long in all directions. There was no other door. Most importantly, it was dry.

“This must be an outer chamber, or an office,” Diaz said. “They must have left something.”

“Over here,” I said. “Look.”

There was what looked like a large stalagmite sticking up out of the ground; a podium made of rock. The three of us searched it and found a cubbyhole on one side. In it was a large, leather bound book.

“Not the Necronomicon?” I asked.

“That’s made up.” Diaz said, laying the book on the flat top of the makeshift podium. “This is real.”

We couldn’t read the symbols on the pages and the printing inside was in various languages, much written in deep red ink.

“I found something,” Diaz said, reading through the book. “It confirms my theory. This is an antechamber to the main library. You don’t use a door to get in.” he looked up at us. “You use a spell.”

He took a deep breath and grabbed the book firmly with one hand, and grabbed my shoulder with the other.

“Guys, hang onto each other and grab the book.” We did. He took another deep breath and read from the page.

“Platypus, Grey Goose and Spaniel

All are going to Dom-Daniel.”

There was a burst of sparks and the room filled with foul-smelling black smoke. When it cleared, I was staring at a goose and a dog standing by the podium. I stared and turned around to survey myself.

I was a platypus.

“Well,” honked the goose in an approximation of Diaz’ voice. “Let’s try the next spell.”

The spaniel whimpered and rolled its eyes.

 

—end—

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’d just done a column on T. H. White’s novel “The Sword in the Stone” https://queerscifi.com/jeff-baker-boogieman-in-lavender-of-dracula-and-dragons/ where Merlyn mentions Dom-Daniel. The legend dates back a few hundred years, so I decided to have some fun! —-jsb. 

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Come Wander With Me, for Friday Flash Fics for Sept. 6, 2019 by Jeff Baker (Way late!)

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Internet down for a few days, so I’m late again. (I should have a Tag for that!)

Wandering Through

By Jeff Baker

I must have been about three years old that Fall when we went into the woods. I’d asked my Dad where Mother was and he said something about her “coming along later.” Then he started pointing out the leaves and places he said a deer might have been through.

The light was slanting through the trees turning the foliage purple and orange. I kept turning around as we walked. It was a wonderland.

“There,” my Dad said. He pointed at a tree a few yards ahead of us. Two trees, one at an angle making a big doorway, the trees darkness contrasting with the triangle of light between them.

I stared. Even at that young age I could tell that the light and the scene beyond the triangle was different than the light where we were; it looked like it was daylight, not the near dusk of the forest.

My dad grabbed me by the arm and shouldered the duffle bag he had hastily packed. I saw him take a deep breath. We stepped through the triangle of light. It was daylight on the outside and the forest was gone. Just a green hill with blue sky and a city with tall, cylindrical buildings in the distance.

I looked up; my dad was grinning. “This is it. We’re safe.”

I wondered what he meant. I glanced back and saw the opening we’d come through. The light was different; it wasn’t showing the forest anymore. We walked down the hill, towards a new lie, something my three-year-old mind didn’t understand then.

As I write this, I am seventeen years old. That’s the Age of Ascension here. We’ve had a good life in this world, but I want to find out what happened to our old one. My Dad told me that the portal shifts between various worlds and only opens every few years. He didn’t want me to try the portal again, but he’s been gone about a year. I have his old duffel bag; all packed. The portal is lit, most of the time it’s just dark. Most people here don’t give it a second glance. They’re satisfied to be here. Not me. I can see the forest through the portal. It’s beckoning.

Here I go.

 

–end—

 

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Copycat Case for Friday Flash Fics, by Jeff Baker, August 30, 2019

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                                           The Copycat Case

By Jeff Baker

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I’m probably stretching it getting this story out of the picture, but trust me, I know what I’m doing.

            Chapter One: Happiness Is A Worn Gun

“A copycat? What kind of copycat?”

“Just watch the video, you’ll see.”

The security video from the bank was grainy and black and white. Customers lined up in the early afternoon. Then a figure in a suit with a flower in his lapel, wearing dark glasses strode in the doorway.

“Attention, everybody!” he said. “Police. We have reason to believe this bank is in danger of being robbed. The Department has the building surrounded.” He flashed a badge and pulled a large Magnum from a shoulder holster. “Don’t panic. Just follow my instructions and we can apprehend these miscreants.”

“Miscreants?” I said staring at the screen.

“Keep watching.”

“Security, guard the back door,” the man in the suit said “They may come in through there. If they do, you and the men from the Department will have them covered. I’ll just need you to temporarily hide any deposits, withdrawals, what have you to avoid any danger when those people come in here.” He quickly loaded a bag full of cash, checks and deposit bags into another bag, all the while waving his Magnum. “When they find out it looks like you’ve already been robbed, that will confuse them.” He looked up at the security camera and saluted. “Don’t worry. I’ve done this before.”

The man stepped into the doorway, tripped, flipped over, his gun firing and shooting out a lightbulb. He then dashed outside.

The Chief Inspector shut off the video and sighed. “The security guard said he was afraid to follow the thief for fear the guy would trip again and accidentally shoot him.”

“This sounds familiar,” I said.

“It should. Do you remember a TV series called Wood Mallett?”

“Vaguely,” I said. “Wasn’t that the comedy about the out of control, crazy cop who still solved cases?”

“Only lasted six episodes. They ended it with Woodrow Mallett going undercover in a mental hospital in part one. There was no part two. Now, some nut is copying the character’s methods and getting away with it!”

Chapter Two: Arsenal And Old Lace

The night was dark and the downtown was quiet. The blue-white glow on top of the ATM lit a small area of the dark, asphalt parking lot. The beaten up 1970s hardtop pulled up alongside it. The man in the suit and dark glasses stepped out and quickly hooked one end of a chain to the ATM, then hooked the other end to the bumper of his car. He then popped the trunk and pulled out a bazooka.

The man shouldered the bazooka and grinned into the ATM’s security camera.

“Not gonna swallow this credit card are you?”

He fired. The base of the machine exploded and the man quickly drove off, dragging the rest of the ATM with him. His laughing was recorded by the camera at the nearby gas station.

We arrived on the scene about twenty minutes later. I stared. Without even examining it I was able to tell the other officers what make the bazooka was.

“It was used in an episode of Wood Mallett, the one where he pretends to go crazy.”

“He’s doing a pretty good job of it, if you ask me,” Officer Garcia said shaking his head.

“Yeah,” I said. “He is doing a pretty good job of it…I have an idea.”

Chapter Three: Minimum PI

Four patrol cars pulled into the parking lot of the amusement park. We surrounded a large, plastic clown face with an open mouth, labeled TRASH.

“You’re surrounded!” I said. “Leave the clown with your hands up!”

“How did you know I was in there?” he asked after we had him frisked and handcuffed. We’d caught him asleep; he was wearing an honest-to-God nightshirt with one of those funny caps.

“It’s where Wood Mallett hid in the episode you were using. You copied his methods too well; we got the DVD and found out your next move.”

“Hey, wait!” he yelled. “You can’t haul me to jail just like that!”

“Don’t worry,” I said, smiling. “We’ve done this before.”

 

—end—

 

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“If Two Trains Leave The Station…” Friday Flash Fics (Way Late!) For August 23, 2019 by Jeff Baker

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        If Two Trains Leave The Station At Ten-Fifteen, When Do We Eat?

By Jeff Baker

 

“Okay, over here…” the graduate assistant said.

“Hey! I can see the stadium from here!”

“Yeah, and there’s the…”

“Shhh!”

“If I could have your attention,” the graduate assistant said. “Good. Now, this is the Science and Technology Center. It was built in nineteen…”

“NINETEEN?!?”

“Yes, Nineteen. Nineteen Eighty-Five,” the graduate assistant said, getting more and more frustrated. “There are sixty-eight classrooms, most with laboratory facilities and the state’s only up-to-date…”

“Hey, is this corridor like the one at MTV where you can see the sunrise through the hall?”

“MIT.”

“As I was saying, the state’s only up-to-date…”

“Hey! I heard Devaughn James played here!”

“Yeah!”

The graduate assistant sighed; they weren’t paying him enough.

 

—end—

 

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Two Stories Read by Angel Martinez

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Angel Martinez reads a weekly story (or part of one) on her blog on Fridays. She’s read one of mine before, and this past Friday she read two! Sure as my name is Jeff Baker, this is a thriller: https://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/from-angels-cave/friday-reading-day-marsden-tower-camera-obscura

Posted in Angel Martinez, Christmas, Demeter's Bar, Fantasy, Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Horror, Jack Finney, Science Fiction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment