Tag Archives: flash fiction

Rejection Letters To The Afterlife (Flashfic by Ray Daley)

23 Feb

Published with my heartfelt apologies to the always delightful Charlie Finlay who read then politely rejected this. Neil Clarke didn’t want it either.

Rejection Letters To The Afterlife
22/12/17
By Ray Daley

(original idea inspired by Joanna Maciejewska from Twitter)

“Charlie?” Megan read the printout a third time, just to be certain. “Got a rejection going to the afterlife here? Is that a misprint, or does my address book need updating?”

Charlie Finlay stuck his head around the office door. “You screamed?”

Megan nodded, holding up the printout. “What in gods name is this, Charlie? Rejection letter to the afterlife?”

The rest of his body slid out of the door. Charlie looked at his feet. “Oh, yes. That guy – he’s dead I’m afraid. Sorry Megan. Look under D, for Daley.”

Charlie tensed, fully aware of the reaction that was about to happen. It was a damn good job he had, too.

Megan started hyperventilating. Then she finally screamed, “You’ve got a medium on speed dial? The note under here reads ‘Ouija board in the supply closet. Do not throw away’.’ Charlie, as much as I love this job, you can fuck right off there!”

#

It took two hours to calm Megan down. Along with three Valium tablets, a shot of neat Jack Daniels and a large raise. By which time the medium had arrived at the office.

“Hey Charlie. You must be Megan? She’s new Charlie, what happened to the last one? Never mind, I’m Maggie. Nice to meet you. So, we’re sending another rejection notice to Mister Daley? Doesn’t let a little thing like death stop him from sending you new stories, does he Charlie?”

Megan quietly mouthed, “Last one?” to herself.

“Pass me the letter, love.” Maggie clicked her fingers in front of Megan’s face. “Megan? The letter, please?”

Eventually Megan snapped out of it and handed the printout across the desk.

As Maggie scanned the document, she mumbled out loud to herself. “Thank you for sending, not a good fit, made me laugh, look forward to seeing your next submission. Oh, that’s a nice one Charlie. He almost made it this time then?”

Charlie nodded. “Fell at the final cut, sadly. He does good work, I’m sure whoever he left his archive to will find the right story pretty soon. Shall we get on with this then?”

Placing the Ouija board in the centre of the table, Maggie nodded. “We’ll try the seance first. See if young Mister Daley is in a chatty mood or not, eh?”

So Maggie and Charlie joined hands.

Maggie called over, “Megan, we need a third dear. Otherwise this won’t work.”

“I’ll approve your travel claims, if you help us out?” Charlie offered.

She was over there like a flash, grabbing their hands before she regretted it.

Maggie closed her eyes. “I call on the energies of all present, guide my mind across the ether. Help me find this departed soul. Raymond Daley, can you hear us?”

Silence.

Maggie smiled. “Don’t be disheartened, this isn’t an exact science. I’ll try again. If everyone can concentrate for me please, and try to keep your minds clear. That’s fantastic, Megan. Just like that. Why can’t you be that relaxed, Charlie? You really should try golf.”

Charlie just rolled his eyes at her.

“Okay, focus back to me again please. We are trying to reach the essence of Raymond Daley. We have a message about your story submission to Fantasy and Science Fiction. Raymond Daley, are you there?”

The planchette on the Ouija board started to twitch.

“Ooo, I think he’s coming through another way Charlie. Go ahead Raymond, we feel you among us.”

The planchette quickly moved from letter to letter.

I prefer Ray, actually.

Maggie blushed. “Sorry, Ray. I’ve got a message from Charlie Finlay.”

About my story? Cool. Go ahead.

“Dear Raymond, thank you for your submission “The Shape Of Come To Things“. Sadly it wasn’t a good fit for this issue, but it certainly made me laugh. I want you to know this only just missed the last cut so I hope you will submit again in the near future. Good luck with finding this story another home. All the best, Charlie Finlay. F&SF.”

Is Charlie there with you?

“Yes Ray.”

Tell him he can sod off, okay? And tell him to toss that bloody Ouija board away too, it’s giving me a terrible migraine. Fella can’t even be dead in peace now. I’ll let my executor know not to submit there again. Ray Daley, signing off from the netherworld. Tell my tweeps I love them!

Then finally the planchette shattered across the table into thousands of tiny pieces.

Charlie let out a sigh. “That’s a shame, he was a bloody good writer. Funny bugger, too. Megan?”

“Yes Charlie?”

“Can you be a dear and put Ray’s details into our ‘do not contact again‘ folder please? Then you can have the rest of the week off on full pay. I don’t know about you Maggie, but I could murder a drink?”

Maggie smiled at him. “Does this mean I won’t be needed again then, Charlie?”

As he was getting his jacket, Charlie looked across the office at her. “Of course not, Maggie. I still need you. How else am I going to talk to Isaac Asimov? He still owes me three short fic pieces.”

THE END.

All We Know For Sure Is That James Has Gone Rogue [By Ray Daley]

4 Feb

All We Know For Sure Is That James Has Gone Rogue
29/2/16
By Ray Daley

The office has finally returned to a state that is now fast approaching normality. What ever the hell that might be.

The news crew behind me are already reporting their lies every fifteen minutes, doling them out in sound-bite sized pieces to the baying masses, still hungry for their updates. “We know for sure he’s gone rogue!”

Lie number one. He didn’t go rogue. We aren’t exactly sure why he logged off, stood up and walked out.

“The trail of bodies he left in his wake have barely had time to cool.”

Lie number two. He didn’t kill anyone. He pushed one man over, that was the supervisor who tried to stop him leaving. And that guy picked himself up off the ground moments after our colleague had left the room.

“This frustrated psychopath finally cracked. Once, a mild mannered administrator…”

There’s lie number three. He wasn’t crazy, just highly strung. And lie number four too, he was a bloody telephone operator!

“We’ve been told we can only expect the body count to increase from this point on.”

Lie number five. He hasn’t killed anyone. How can a zero body count increase? Unless the media are out there now, murdering people in his wake, just to make their lies reality?

“The reports are still sporadic, but we are receiving updates about new victims all the time..”

How? Did the press team send their own hitmen after him? Are they killing people themselves, just to keep the story in the headlines?

“This information just in! We’ve had reports of a killing on the High Street.”

That’d be difficult, he doesn’t even take that route home. I decide I’ve had enough at that point.

“And we are…”

This is where I step in, excuse me.

“Lying to you. Sorry ladies and gents, but I’ve got to cut these idiots off and tell you the truth. I work with James. He didn’t kill anyone. He didn’t go rogue. There’s no trail of bodies. He didn’t kill anyone in the High Street, his route home doesn’t even go in that direction! He’s a nice guy. He just had a bad day on the phones. He stood up, logged off, pushed over a supervisor and left. That’s all we know for sure. Don’t listen to the news. These folks are lying to you. They’ve already murdered three innocent people that we’re aware of here. And that’s just to keep this lie in the headlines. All we know for sure is that James left. Anything else is pure speculation. I now return you to your regularly scheduled program.”

I’ve always wanted to say that. It certainly leaves the Press in utter confusion. They have to cut to commercials, with nothing more to report here. I just hope James comes back to work soon. We miss his smile.

THE END.

AUTHORS NOTES:- I wrote this during the 1st week of on-floor academy at Severn Trent. James did vanish during the day. I was told he logged out, stood up, and left. And never returned. I never even saw him leave. I had a few tries at selling this, no-one wanted it, so I’m giving it away for free on the blog.

Summing Up NaNoWriMo 2018

23 Nov

It’s day 23, and I have won.

I made the call to take part quite late into October, so I had about a week and a half to prepare, fortunately I knew I wasn’t going to be writing a novel, I was taking the rebellion route of short stories.

I’ve won 2 camps with short stories, so I had a fairly high expectation of success.

Planning:- I took a few days to find some outlines, ideas & image prompts. I didn’t find 30 because I didn’t expect to be writing one story every day. My hope was to go well over the daily word count.

Doing the damn thing:-

Day 1 & 2, I wrote a superhero origin story. I’d had the idea for this a few yrs ago so I had a decent outline to work off. 4635 words in the 2 day period.

Day 3, An idea about a spaceship. Another one I’d had a while back, it wrote fairly easily. 2463 words.

Day 4, An idea I had after getting a cold call to the house by phone. 2072 words.

Day 5 & 6, A fairystory retold and reimagined. 3910 words.

Day 7, Another superhero story, but told from a totally different point of view. 2658 words.

Day 8, They say write what you know, so I used some of my military experience. 2625 words.

Day 9 & 10, I’ll admit, I struggled to write anything. 713 words.

Day 10, I managed to find my stride later in day 10. 2346 words.

Day 11, Quite an easy day off a good image prompt. 2094 words.

Day 12, A weird story off something I kept mistyping. Well, it made me laugh. 1340 words.

Day 13, Another fairly easy day off an image prompt. 2430 words.

Day 14, My first day where I wrote nothing. 0 words.

Day 15, Another of my odd survival stories. 3272 words.

Day 16, It started out as a western, & went a totally different way. 1996 words.

Day 17, Me rewriting Day Of The Triffids, I guess? 1743 words.

Day 18, An experiment in story tellling, but in a new way. 2255 words.

Day 19, The first story was just odd. 1702 words. As was the second. 4002 words.

Day 20, Not the first time I’ve gone with a weird idea. 2165 words.

Day 21, Rather than write nothing, I wrote something short. 620 words.

Day 22, A prison story. 1690 words. And something about a maze. 3003 words.

Day 23, And a short story about space to finish. 1090 words.

Total word count 50824.

Vote for my story! (Please?)

5 Dec

My SF AI story “Call Girl” is now free to read at Astounding Outpost :- http://stories.astoundingoutpost.com/2017/11/20/call-girl-2/

If you want to support my writing please vote for it here:- http://stories.astoundingoutpost.com/2017/12/01/pick-the-best-neural-nets-uplinks-and-wetware-story/

A free story & request for support!

1 Dec
If you enjoyed reading my story “Call Girl” (read it here:- http://stories.astoundingoutpost.com/2017/11/20/call-girl-2/) then please consider voting for it here:- http://stories.astoundingoutpost.com/2017/12/01/pick-the-best-neural-nets-uplinks-and-wetware-story/
It might win me some money, which would be lovely.

Adrift; A Star Wars Fan Fiction Story

14 Nov

Adrift; A Star Wars Fan Fiction Story
By Ray Daley
2/1/14

A team of Imperial troops has been sent to investigate a Star Destroyer that has mysteriously stopped responding to hails two weeks ago, and is drifting powerless in space.

“Bring the Captain in please,” ordered Grand Moff Yetin.

“I’m sorry sir but I can’t do that,” replied Lieutenant Dreff across the comm channel.

“Why not Lieutenant?” demanded Yetin.

“Because he’s dead sir. I can send for the Sergeant, he compiled the report for you sir,” explained the Lieutenant. He was glad he wasn’t there on the Super Star Destroyer to brief Grand Moff Yetin in person. The man scared him witless, even more so than Lord Vader himself.

“Very well, bring the Sergeant over to see me now,” said Yetin. He read the report for the seventh time, hoping that the Sergeant would have more to add than what had already been described in the official briefing. It simply wasn’t acceptable, sending one hundred and twenty-eight men on a seemingly simple mission to have only one return alive. Especially such highly trained troopers.

The view screen flashed up a status report, the shuttle was on its way.

*

“Why am I here sir? I already filed my report,” said Sergeant Jessyk.

“Grand Moff Yetin would like to hear it from you himself, Sergeant,” explained Lieutenant Dreff as they walked towards the briefing room.

“I was promised a furlough sir, you know that,” said Jessyk.

“And you will get it, once Grand Moff Yetin is fully satisfied with your briefing. Just tell him what you saw. Go through, Sergeant Jessyk. You don’t want to keep him waiting,” said Lieutenant Dreff, motioning to the briefing room door.

“You aren’t coming with me sir?” asked Jessyk.

“No Sergeant. It was you he wanted to see. No-one else,” replied Dreff, with some relief at not having to face the old man in person. It was bad enough to have been called aboard his ship.

*

Grand Moff Yetin looked up as he heard the sound of boot heels clicking to attention.

“Sergeant Jessyk, reporting as ordered sir!”

Yetin looked the man up and down, apart from the shoulder flash denoting his rank, the Sergeant was indistinguishable from any other Stormtrooper. Apart from one minor factor. Jessyk stood at attention with his helmet in his left hand.

“I’m not happy with this report Sergeant,” said Grand Moff Yetin, matter of factly.

“It’s everything I remember sir, it may not be as an officer would report, as it’s a task I’m not completely familiar with sir. I tried my best, with the assistance of Lieutenant Dreff,” Jessyk said.

“It’s not the layout Sergeant, it’s the content. I still don’t truly believe it. Perhaps you can explain to me in your own words how one hundred and twenty-eight fully armed, well trained men can board an empty ship and all but one is killed?” asked Yetin.

“I’m not a coward sir. I stood and fought with the company. It was hopeless sir, an impossible task. I realised someone had to get back here and report the facts, try to prevent any further losses to the Empire sir,” said Jessyk.

“I’m not questioning your bravery Sergeant. I’m more than aware of your record,” said Yetin.

“I’m not a clone sir, I’m human, I chose to join the Empire. Like you,” Jessyk said.

“I know Sergeant. There was no need for you to remove your helmet but the gesture was appreciated,” replied Yetin.

“I didn’t do it to show you I was human sir. I wanted you to be able to look me directly in the eye and know I was telling you the truth sir,” said Jessyk.

“Thank you Sergeant, it’s good to know some men still understand the need for personal integrity. Now can you explain to me, exactly what happened?” asked Yetin.

“It’s as the report says sir. Our ship found the Interceptor drifting in open space, it was showing no lights, any signs of life or even internal power. On landing we sent out an astromech droid to secure a forcefield and establish power with the portable generator. Prior to that, the whole ship had been open to space. No air, all vacuum.

Section by section, deck by deck we secured each area until we reached the engineering bay and managed to restart main power and started to gradually restore full life support to all sections. The security console showed one life sign on the bridge, which we knew to be impossible. On account of the fact that we hadn’t restored life support to that part of the ship yet. So the Captain took three platoons to go up and investigate what he assumed at the time was an erroneous signal.”

Jessyk paused.

“Please continue Sergeant,” asked Yetin.

“Of course sir, I was just taking a moment to gather my thoughts. My squad remained behind in engineering to supervise the powering up of the remaining sections of the ship, the rest of our platoon checked the lower decks for any signs as to why the ship had been set adrift. I heard the Captain call for reinforcements from our platoon over the comm so we ran up to join them on the bridge.

By the time we got there only one Corporal was still alive, firing at something inside the bridge. He told us they had all gone onto the bridge and found what they said looked like a man standing by the helm controls, trying to fly the ship. The bridge was still a vacuum sir! When they tried to approach, he opened fire on them. He killed all the others sir!”

Jessyk started to breath heavily, clearly still frightened by the recollection.

“This was just one man, was he some kind of bounty hunter?” asked Yetin.

“No sir. Some of us managed to score a few direct hits on him. But he took all the others out sir, no matter where we shot him, he just kept coming. He wasn’t a man at all sir, where we’d hit him we could see that he was some kind of droid with metal robotic limbs. His eyes were red, like a mech. But his skin and hair looked so real sir, if you’d seen him you would have sworn he was as human as you or I,” Jessyk looked into the eyes of Grand Moff Yetin.

“Carry on Sergeant Jessyk,” said Yetin.

“It was clear we couldn’t hope to overcome it, or kill it. Whatever it was, probably some new kind of Alliance weapon we thought sir. So I did the only thing we could do, you understand sir. I couldn’t let the Rebels take the Interceptor intact so I set the engines on overload and took off,” Jessyk explained.

“And blew up an Imperial Star Destroyer,” said Yetin.

“Rather than let it fall into potential enemy hands sir,” said Jessyk.

“And was this thing destroyed Sergeant?” asked Yetin.

“I believe so sir. My scans of the area found no wreckage any bigger than a few particles in size. Whatever it was, it was completely vaporised,” said Jessyk.

“Very well Sergeant. That will be all,” said Yetin.

“Sorry to ask sir, but I was promised a furlough?” Jessyk knew he was pushing his luck.

“Yes, that request will be honoured Sergeant. Please go with Lieutenant Dreff, he’ll make sure everything is seen to,” replied Yetin.

Jessyk replaced his helmet and snapped to attention once more and said, “Thank you sir!”

Yetin hurried the man out of the briefing room and rushed over to the holo-panel the instant the door was sealed. “Lord Vader, I have the report you requested.”

“Was the test a success?” asked Vader.

“All but one man killed by the Terminator, my Lord. The machine was destroyed when they blew up the vessel,” said Yetin.

“There must be no witnesses. You understand?” said Vader.

“Yes Lord Vader. The order will be given,” replied Yetin as the image of Darth Vader faded away to nothing.

Yetin opened the comm channel. “Send the following to Lieutenant Dreff, permission to Sergeant Jessyk for permanent furlough received from Lord Vader.”

THE END.

Authors Notes:- The opening section in italics was a writing prompt from reddit.
All technical data taken from:- http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Stormtrooper

I thought it’d be quite interesting to try and do a Star Wars/Terminator cross-over. It wasn’t easy to do without revealing the Terminator until the end but I hope people enjoy reading this.

Legal Stuff.

Star Wars, Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and Imperial Star Destroyers are all the copyright of The Walt Disney Company.

The Terminator is copyright of Pacificor.

All other characters and scenarios are my own creation, this is a work of fan fiction written under Fair Use terms of Creative Commons. No copyright infringement is intended.

Summing up Story A Day September

26 Sep

Just wanted to say I am now done with Story A Day September. It’s making me hate wanting to write, the complete reverse of what I wanted. I don’t think of it as a pleasurable thing now, just a chore I must get done before the end of the day.

Mentally, I’m not suited to writing like this.

I’ve struggled for ideas, I’ve struggled to start and struggled to finish.

I wrote 23 stories. Lots of them are very shit.

I wrote a total of 32018 words, an average of 1392 words per day.. Considering I won’t be doing the full month, that’s pretty decent.

My best was day 11 where I wrote 3190 words.
My worst was day 1 where I wrote 500 words.
Obviously this doesn’t include all the days where I wrote nothing.

What have I learned from trying this?
I’m not suited to writing every day. It’s embittered me and made me less creative. My ideal writing wheelhouse is once every 2 or 3 days.

What am I going to do with those 23 stories?
Yesterday’s is being deleted straight away. It wasn’t written for release or even to be read. It was written as a catharsis which didn’t work. But it’s still getting deleted. It simply didn’t do what I wanted from it.

As for the rest, I’ll keep them and see if they look better in a few months.

I won’t be attempting this exercise again.