#FireIceFlash, week 7


The city was on fire tonight, another eternal flame set alight by the hands of those who have learned time after time that their voice means nothing. Two angels walked through the streets and contemplated what humanity deserved.

“I say let it all burn down. Tonight. In every city. As ye reap, so shall ye sow, and heavens above, how they have reaped.” Justice talked like that, like history was recording his words. As if humanity ever felt the words of Justice anymore.

“Now now. They haven’t all earned such pain.” Mercy paused. “But they are in such pain. We should do something, something to ease their suffering.” Her eyes, filled with unshed tears, were bright in the firelight.

“Burning them all would end their pain. Eventually.” Justice smiled his blood-red smile of retribution. “We haven’t done that in so long.”

Mercy stopped and thought for an eternity. “I can’t do that, but I think we can compromise. Let’s help those who cannot help themselves.”

And lo from the heavens came an imperceptible hissing, like air being let out of a balloon. And as the humans slowly lost oxygen, they all fell asleep. And the fires went out.


#FireIceFlash, week 6


Riding the Red Line into Heaven

The sky was dreary and the workday had been drearier. Lisa grimaced as she thought of what the salty slush was going to do to her boots, but as she looked around the train, she knew she was far from alone there. Her stop approached, and she braced herself for the chill and the gloom, trudging – there was no other word for it this time of year – the three block walk to her building, through the broken front door and up the stairs. Then she heard the barking, and the sun came out.


#ThursThreads, week 430


The sky was orange every day now. I remember when that was news, but now the whole world is on fire. Still, even in the end times, there is pleasure to be found.

I kissed her gently, first on the lips, then moving to whatever struck my fancy. And there was quite a lot to strike my fancy. So that took a while.

Afterward, I felt her tense up again. “Aren’t you worried about tomorrow?”

“Not when I’m with you.”

She shifted away from me, sat up. Her formerly red hair caught the sunlight and burst into flame once again. Gods, she was beautiful.

“How can you be so calm? We can’t get away, and the fires will be here by mid-day.”

“I did all my worrying back when this started. But I yelled and I donated and I marched and I fought and the hellmouth opened anyway. I’m too tired for that now.”

“Do you think they’ll really be okay?”

“As okay as anyone can be, in their underwater dome. They have oxygen, shielding from the sun, and all the plant life they can eat. Our grandkids are bright and self-sufficient. They’ve had to be. If there’s a tomorrow after tomorrow, they’ll be here to see it.”

“I know. It’s just. This isn’t what I dreamed of.”

“I did. You, and me, and a quiet place where no one could bother us. It’s ending a little sooner than ideal is all.”

I kissed her again. Nothing else mattered.


#FireIceFlash, week 4


The boy pointed his stick at the spot in the water where they’d find my body one year and one day from now. I didn’t know how I’d end up there – would I stumble drunkenly down the slope and pitch headfirst, hitting my head on a rock? Would I be shot in a drug deal gone bad, brought down by the coronavirus, felled by the randomness of fate? Not that it really mattered. I’d signed the contract in blood and my soul was destined to be in the hands of The Trickster.

He smirked. “Now that that’s out of the way, are you ready to see her?”

Of course I was. Bringing Lyndsay back to life was the reason behind everything I’d done – the incantations, the hunts for the right compounds, the search for the thin place between this world and the others.

And now she was here. I could smell her perfume. I turned toward the wind and saw her face for the first time since they’d closed her casket. But instead of a smile, all I could see was a feral snarl. With a roar, my daughter charged at me.

The Trickster roared with laughter.


#FireIceFlash, week 3


Alanna died while I caressed her face, going to that place from which none ever returned. I wasn’t going to let that stop me, though.

But if I was going to take on the mortal veil, I was going to need something suitably ostentatious to say. Through her funeral, through the public mourning period, through my return to what others saw as a functional life, I pondered my words. I had to choose them wisely, or I’d get laughed at. Or worse, ignored.

“Though the hordes of Hell and the angels of Heaven stand between us now, you will be at my side again. This I promise.”

Hey, maybe it’s not poetry, but when I spoke them aloud, the cold winter’s day turned hot and a voice like a furnace echoed over her graveyard. “You think you’re in pain now? Dare me and find out what true agony is like.”

Okay, so Alanna was in Hell. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised. Her dark side was one of the things I most loved about her.

How did one take on the King of Hell, though? This was going to take some research. And I knew I could believe everything I read on the internet.

First, I found that he would ignore anyone who wasn’t a ruler of their own realm. Second, he really did have hordes who would protect him. I only had one realm available to me, so I guess that becoming Queen of Earth was the first step.

I suppose I’m going to need an army.


#ThursThreads, week 428


We stood only six feet apart, but it felt like nothing after being a thousand miles away from each other for so long. It wasn’t COVID that stilled my feet and dried my mouth, though. It was the knowledge that somehow this was real, not a dream. That despite all the odds against it, we could see each other, talk to each other, touch each other, experience each other.

You spoke first, which was good, because I was too overwhelmed for words.

“I missed you. Do you know how I missed you?”

Finally my tongue loosened.

“You’ve tried to tell me. I think I know.”

You shook your head, curly hair bouncing with the motion.

“No. You don’t. You don’t know. But it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to miss you now.”

Tears were in your eyes now, or at least I think so – it was hard to see through my own.

“I brought you something for your birthday. I can’t wait to see you in it. You’ll look great in this.”

You smiled, and your eyes lit up through the tears. I could see stars in there, lights reflecting from around the room. The end of all the fruitless searches.

“Don’t tell me. Something blue?”

“Not this time.” I held out my arms and stepped forward. You came up to meet me, and then your arms were around me and mine around you. I pulled you close.

“I was right. You look great in my arms.”


#FireIceFlash Week 2


The old man made this journey enough times that he no longer marveled at being miles above most of humanity or sitting in his shirtsleeves sipping soup in a tent while the wind howled over the ice. When he’d first discovered The Button, it filled him with horror, but now he saw the world differently. Tomorrow, he’d push it and the world would reset. Sometimes, to heal an infection, you have to burn it out.


Fire Ice Flash Week 1

The creature that sat at the foot of a drift higher than she could see was the last of its kind. Not that she knew that. What she did know was that she was dying. Not from the cold, and not from the snow, though they weren’t helping. The invisible thing that killed the rest of her pack had come through the air for her. With a shudder, she put her head on her forepaws and died. The snow did as it always does, burying her deep for years beyond counting.
Gunning my truck around the corner, I roared when I saw clouds of black smoke behind me. The thrill of the power was such a rush. I didn’t see the smoke rise to the upper atmosphere. I didn’t see the carbon dioxide help keep the Earth warmer. And I didn’t see the creature – with her invisible killer – emerge from the melting icecaps.

But soon enough, I saw the end.


#ThursThreads, week 394


She pulled the hoodie down and turned to me. “So, do I look like I’m twelve?”

I grinned. “Not with that ass, sweetie.”

She swatted me, thought about it, and then punched me in the arm. “You know what I mean, you asshole. Do I look like I’ll fit in with the girls at the Taylor Swift concert?”

“You’ll be fine.”

“Will I? You know this is the first ‘mommy-daughter’ outing I’ve taken Hannah on since you married me. I just want it to go right.”

I pulled her close to me and kissed her on top of the head. “You’ll be fine. Hannah likes you just fine.”

“She’s got a funny way of showing it.”

“That’s because she’s twelve going on twenty-five. She’s got a funny way of doing everything.”

“Gods, I remember. Or I thought I remembered. Maybe I blocked puberty out entirely.” She paused, looking up at me, clearly scared. “Maybe you should go with her.”

“Oh no. I’m not going to listen to that much shrieking. If it was Taylor and a guitar and me and Hannah, maybe.” I kissed her again, this time with a little bit of intent. “Look, just don’t go all ‘mom’ on her and her friends. Make sure you know where they are, otherwise let them come to you. They’re going to want to act all grown-up, so let them, some. Then bring her home and tell me everything.”

“Okay. If you’re sure.”

I laughed. “No, but it sounds good, right?”


Menage Monday, All Hallows Eve Edition (3×05)


The wind howled and the wolves howled, and I didn’t know which one I was more scared of. The wolves probably wouldn’t attack me, but if they did, I had no strength left with which to fight them off. But the wind…

The guy who’d driven me to this spot, here in the desert, here at this wannabe bus stop, here in the dark, had an evil laugh. It sent shivers up my spine when he asked me where I was going. It caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand up when he put his hand on my leg and he asked me what price I was willing to pay for the ride. And it ended in a rasping gurgle as I tore his throat out while I rode him to a screaming orgasm.

But that was a long time ago. Days? Weeks? No more than a month, I thought. A long time between meals.

And orgasms.

I should have killed him somewhere with other people. Maybe in a hotel with clean white sheets that would have shone with his blood. But his laugh…I had to stop his laugh. And I was hungry.

Wish his car hadn’t been such a piece of shit, though. I couldn’t get it started again, and now it sat off at the edge of the parking lot, a monument to a life poorly lived.

I knew by now that if anyone who happened by this waystation to nowhere got close enough to me to think about picking me up, they’d likely catch a whiff of the rot that had started deep within my bowels and drive off in terror. I would need the right situation just to get away.

The howls started up again, and this time I knew it was the wind…and more. I’d begun hoping it was a lone wolf, maybe a weak one that I could overpower and give me at least some chance at, well, something. Coming out of the northwest, however, wasn’t a wolf.

I had hoped that I’d put Her behind me, although part of me knew that had always been a dream. How could I escape Her, when She knew every inch of me better than I knew myself, when She’d held my heart in one hand and my mind in the other and called upon the Dark Lord for power? The things She’d taught me in a thousand and one nights of pleasure and pain had only been the merest fraction of what She knew, and yet I thought I could get away.

Well, I was still mortal, after a fashion. What chance did I have of truly understanding Her?

The lights at this station illuminated an area maybe forty feet across, but I thought I saw glimmers of something out beyond their reach. I didn’t stand to meet Her – She wouldn’t have cared and I didn’t have the strength. But I did call Her name.