Archive | Fiction

15 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #51B: “Dogwood Stories” by Nicole Givens Kurtz

“Late bloomers have the prettiest blooms,” Sadie’s momma said, after she tapped her on the head with the comb. “So, stop squirmin’.”

“It’s too tight.” Sadie winced, sucking in air to offset the pain. Her scalp burned like someone had set fire to it. She put her hands in her lap and tried to weather the storm, her hands rubbing each other to soothe the pain.

“Tenderheaded. That’s all.” Her momma pinched off a section of hair, and began another braid. 

Sadie stifled a groan and squeezed her eyes tight. Once her momma finished the braid, she rubbed a finger full of grease along the parts, oiling her scalp and providing a balm to her irritated skin. The braids still hurt; the hair pulled taut and confined in the creative style.

With her hands sweating, Sadie gritted her teeth and stopped complaining. Not cause her momma’s braiding had stopped hurting. It did, but she wanted to look nice for the Dogwood Arts Festival. It happened once a year in Knoxville and she loved the early spring weather. Fresh grass, the flowers’ sweet smells and the pollen, giving everything a yellow hue. 

Other places had festivals honoring dogwoods, cotton, and barbeque. Heck even bacon. Here in East Tennessee, beneath the Great Smoky Mountains’ rolling hills and purple mountains, the dogwood reigned. 

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01 May 2019 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #51A: “What the Sea Reaps, We Must Provide” by Eleanor R. Wood

The ball bounces off the tide-packed sand and Bailey leaps to catch it with lithe grace and accuracy. He returns to deposit it at my feet for another go. It’s nearly dusk; the beach is ours on this January evening. It stretches ahead, the rising tide low enough to give us ample time to reach […]

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29 April 2019 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down is a survival adventure book written by Richard Adams published in 1972 that might arguably be classified as fantasy as well, which was adapted into a well-known children’s movie in 1978.  It follows a group of young bachelor rabbits who run away from their warren when one of them has a premonition of coming disaster.  The book follows them as they try to find a suitable location for a new warren and try to settle back down.

Multiple rabbits are point of view characters throughout the book, but the most important rabbit to the story is Fiver, the one who has the premonition of disaster (an upcoming construction site where the warren is located), which might be psychic or might just be intuition based on the sudden incursion of signs announcing the construction project.  Hazel is the one who first believed Fiver’s warning and helped convinced the others to make their escape.  Most of the group are pretty scrawny, secondary members of the warren, except for Bigwig, who is a member of the Owsla, the warren’s internal enforcers.  And then there’s Blueberry who seems to not think like a rabbit at all, coming up with new strategies that no other rabbit would even consider.

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15 April 2019 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #50B: “One Part Per Billion” by Samantha Mills

There were already two Irene Boswells onboard and a third in the making.

Radiation poured out of the Omaha Device in an endless stream of buttery yellow light, and Irene (the Irene in the containment room) knew they were doomed. But she slapped patch after patch over the ruinous crack in the device’s shell because she hadn’t come twenty billion miles to sit and wait for death.

Huang’s voice came through over the intercom, tinny with horror. “Your hair,” he said.

It was on fire, or close enough. The strange light lifted it away from her face in a rippling wave. The ends were burning down like the fuses of a hundred thousand bombs. Her arms were smooth and hairless, her face the same.

“Just tell me what to do next,” she said. 

There were no more patches in the kit. A six inch gap remained in the smooth white shell but it may as well have been a mile long. The Omaha Device just sat there, as unyielding and enigmatic as a ceramic tortoise, and still that noxious light poured forth. Irene squinted but she couldn’t see past the light, she couldn’t see what was inside. Dammit, if she was going to die today she wanted to know what she was dying for.

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01 April 2019 ~ 4 Comments

DP FICTION #50A: “Why Aren’t Millennials Continuing Traditional Worship of the Elder Dark?” by Matt Dovey

In a generational shift that some claim threatens the fabric of existence and the sanity of all humanity, surveys show that worship of the Elder Dark is at a record low for one particular group—millennials. Bob Rawlins is worried. “When I was growing up in the 1950s, I made my obeisance before the Manifold Insanity […]

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15 March 2019 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #49B: “The Last Death” by Sahara Frost

I stare into the endless dark, watching, waiting. It’s like all those years ago, when I was a kid on Christmas Eve. Me, lying in bed, wide-eyed with anticipation, listening for the clatter of eight tiny reindeer landing overhead. Only this time, it’s not jolly old Saint Nick I’m expecting. Nor is it sugar plums that dance inside my head, keeping sleep at bay.

The silent night drags on, one moment melding seamlessly into the next until I think the world must have stopped. Only the stars show me different, each glance out my window revealing their gradual progress across the sky. Then, at long last, it’s over. The dull gleam of first light crests the horizon, and once more, the world begins to move.

“Well,” I say to myself, “Suppose I might as well get ready.”

Heart fluttering with a giddy tingle, I throw back the covers and sit up. Immediately, my poor old bones creak in protest, reminding me to slow down. “Easy, girl. Easy!” I chide, quelling the urge to spring from my bed like some youngster, “No sense in falling and breaking a hip. ‘Specially not today of all days.” I release my impatience with a huff and bob my head in a reluctant nod. Then I plant my feet firmly on the floor, reach for my cane, and carefully hoist myself up.

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06 March 2019 ~ 0 Comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Ralph Breaks the Internet

written by David Steffen Ralph Breaks the Internet is a 2018 computer-animated children’s movie by Walt Disney Pictures, a sequel to the popular 2012 film Wreck-It Ralph. Six years have passed since the events of the first movie, and Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), the villain of the Fix-It Felix Jr. (Jack McBrayer) game, is still best friends […]

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01 March 2019 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #49A: “Heaven For Everyone” by Aimee Ogden

The summer that God came to Whartonville, I ended up trapped on the drugstore roof with only half a peanut butter sandwich and a seraph to keep me company.

The sandwich part is true! Hell, all of it is true. I’d eaten the rest of my lunch on the bus, before God’s approach hit the news. I can always buy more lunch in the hospital cafeteria. When the cafeteria and the rest of the city aren’t under three feet of water, at least. I know it was bad, and people died, but I’m still glad we got a flood instead of the plague of locusts that just hit Fargo. Two months later and you still can’t step outside without a crunch, is what I hear.

Anyway the seraph must have flown up before the rain really started coming down, and I managed to climb up onto the street light and from there to the roof. So there we were together in the middle of the storm. “I thought He didn’t do this shit anymore,” I said to the seraph. They shrugged, or at least I thought they did. It’s hard to read body language on someone who’s seven feet tall with six wings and a dozen mouths, but I’ve had practice lately. You know they can’t really speak for themselves? Sure, they talk, but everything they say is an echo from the Almighty’s own lips. Or at bare minimum from one or another of His prophets. So body language turns out to be kind of important. “There was a covenant or whatever.”

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15 February 2019 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #48B: “How Rigel Gained a Rabbi (Briefly)” by Benjamin Blattberg

Rabbi Dov Applebaum argued—quite eloquently, he thought—for keeping the spaceship to its original flight plan. After all, there were Jewish children on Orion Station who needed Torah lessons before their upcoming B’nai Mitzvah. And yet the AI refused to listen to him and instead plotted a new course towards the distress signal on Rigel-7.

When the AI stated that intergalactic law compelled them to answer a distress call, Dov might’ve kept quiet—he wouldn’t actually have kept quiet, but he might have—but when the fakakta computer started citing Jewish law, Dov had to object.

“True, Leviticus says not to ‘stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor,'” said Dov, “but there are many interpretations of the Jewish law around distress signals. For one, what is a neighbor, galactically speaking?”

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01 February 2019 ~ 5 Comments

DP FICTION #48A: “Local Senior Celebrates Milestone” by Matthew Claxton

The reporter is young, smells young even through the miasma of bleach and boiled vegetables. Three Willows Retirement Village is not an olfactory feast, so Millie is grateful for the scents of mango shampoo and coconut hand cream the girl brings with her.

“First of all, congratulations on the milestone!”

Millie wraps her knuckles around the gnarled head of her driftwood cane, leans forward.

“Congratulations?” She releases a calculated chuckle, gently chiding. “On not dying?” 

“I just mean… I mean, not everyone gets to celebrate their one-hundred and tenth birthday!”

“Well, that’s very true. I’ve been blessed.”

“I was hoping you could tell me a little about your life. You must have seen so much!”

“Oh, yes.”

The girl has a notebook out now, pen poised. 

“I was hoping you could tell me, what’s your earliest memory?”

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