October 2014

Page 2

He cautiously let the light of his torch fall upon the carved surface. Oh my God, there must be hundreds of them! Carefully not to wake them, he approached and unsheathed his weapon. The sound of steel grinding against steel cut through the silence of the night. He dared taking another step. Suddenly, he got the feeling one of them had moved, and he panicked. With an unearthly scream, he launched his attack. Slashing around his weapon, the Editor cut sentences where he could and moved them where they belonged. Redundant word after word he sliced, stabbing many grammar mistakes and chopping down a few punctuation errors. Suddenly, his intuition warned him and he dove. Just in time, as it was only seconds before he would have become prey to …

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There were eight only of us left. All veterans of the battle that was fought out a week ago. Eight remained, too stubborn to die. Or too stupid to. We were survivors of the Battle against the Droom. Little did we know it would be known by everyone else as The Fairfield Massacre. All we cared about was surviving the day. And the night. I dropped against the cave wall when Captain Gifford announced a short break. He didn’t look too well. Hell, we all look like shit. I took out the bottle and put it against my lips. The strong liquor only released me from my memories for three sweet seconds. Then, images of how this all had started returned, mocking me in my misery. # Ten thousand of …

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Anxious, Mathayus hurriedly hooked up the cable connected to his brain to the data server, to download the last remaining records from the Knowledge Base. His metallic wings fluttered and his eyes flickered, as he bombarded himself with all the information that Haven contained. Angels were mostly devoid of emotion, but the amount of data he had downloaded seemed to be influencing his disposition. The door beeped as Michael entered the data center. Mathayus was too preoccupied to notice the incursion. Michael glided swiftly, yet silently, toward his comrade. Like Mathayus, Michael had an air of quiet confidence. Both had high-bridged noses and eyes that have a color that could only be described as “blue-within-blue.” Their jaw line were sturdy, anvil-shaped; their chins, pointed. Mathayus had hair that was bright …

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Go-Go Tico stared at himself in his handheld mirror. He looked like a gangster, dressed like a gangster, stood like a gangster. Tico was gangster. He wiped the blood from his knuckles with a greasy rag. He stepped over the two chups he had just layed low and paced across the garage. Some yupos just had to learn the hard way. He snapped his fingers and three heavily muscled thugs slinked after him like whipped dobermans. He always had them with him. He hadn’t needed them yet, but he never knew when some upstart whippet would grow a pair and he might need an extra set of hands. He hopped into a black sedan and placed his large silver rings back onto his fingers. This was his neighborhood. No one …

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I lay curled in the fetal position trying to block the outside world from creeping into my delusions of calm. Cold seeps through my thin dress and rocks jab into my back. It hurts, but not as much as the pain slithering through my lonely chest. I know that soon I will have to drag my tired body up to face another day of tracking, of hoping. It is hope that murders me every night, yet revives me each morning. The promise that my goal may be achieved forces me to trudge on until hopelessness surrounds me once more, and I collapse into despair. But, even now I feel the spark, a glow, urging me to get up and keep looking. Maybe today will be the day. Maybe, I will …

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The master caution alarm blared. Michaela’s eyes ran across the cracked panoramic screen, the schematic blinking: hydraulic fluid leak in the right leg actuator, 5.7mm gun damaged … not good. And her mech was on its side. Also not good. She tapped the screen. The alarm ceased, the crack propagated another inch. Great. She winced as she pried away the panel which pinned down her right arm. Michaela held her breath and listened. Nothing. And as far as she could see: concrete columns, beams and manholes; overhead, multiple levels of road arterials stretched in all directions, disappearing into the distant black. The usual. She huffed, thrust her feet against the pedals, gripped both joysticks and gently pulled back, bringing her mech up onto its feet. Quietly. Or as quietly as …

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Clarissa NG is a frequent contributor to NITH and the designer of CLARISSA’S HEMINGWAY Award. A few weeks ago, we asked you to make us laugh, make us cry, or surprise us in less then 600 words.. And guess what, you really did! Attracting more than thirty entries, you’ve kept our first readers on their toes. The shortlist didn’t disappoint. You’ve brought us stories from a baby christening to a funeral, from a wedding party to a restaurant, from bedroom games goes sour to a jackpot that went (horribly) wrong. In the ens there can only be one winner. That one story we couldn’t wait to share with our friends. Without further ado,  join me in congratulating our winner, Dakoda Barker! Dakoda is no stranger to NITH shortlists. He’s won …

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