Showing posts from February, 2022

Parasite by Tejaswinee Roychowdhury - 206 Word Stories - Bag of Bones Press

  Parasite by Tejaswinee Roychowdhury     A mound of noodles in Schezwan sauce. Two lobsters. Eight hot dogs. Fifteen sushis. Twenty-one dumplings. More noodles. An entire chicken; roasted. A six-ounce sirloin steak. Veni, vidi, vici —she comes, she sees, she conquers. And she does it for him, the one hidden inside her; one to whom she is a host, a companion, a prisoner. Parasite , she calls him in disgust. Parasite baby , he corrects her from the hollows of her belly. He does it with an unnerving coo, a deriding coo, a scathing coo. He does it with half a growl, half a whisper. He does it with a sneer, he does it with a stutter. And he tops it off with a bite; a big fleshy bite with his razor teeth on her insides. She writhes. She screams. She relents. She must, lest the parasite devours her meat and slithers into her bones. Beautiful bones , he will trill. She must, lest the parasite escapes her shell in search of food, and lays waste to the town outside. Delici

The Red Line by Jacob Osterhaus - 206 Word Stories - Bag of Bones Press

  The Red Line by Jacob Osterhaus     Around branches, through thickets, and down dark paths, the red line wound. It was a deep crimson in color, the hue of blood and roses. It was hard to miss, but drew the eyes of children in particular.   No one knew when it had appeared, but the whole village had early memories of parents warning them to avoid the strange red string. And everyone could remember perfectly the first time they’d seen it as children. They remembered it calling to them, and now they warned their own children about it.   It had to be old, ancient, and yet its color never faded. It popped to the eye against the drab grays, greens, and browns of the fields and hollows it passed through. The surreality of it begged to be investigated. Fingers longed to touch and pluck at it, to feel its texture, if for no other reason than to verify its solidity.   That, however, was unwise. “Touching leads to tasting,” as many old women of the area liked to say. Not actua

Lithopedion by Christina Ladd - 206 Word Stories - Bag of Bones Press

  Lithopedion by Christina Ladd     Long ago, a woman gave birth to twins. Sort of. The first child she pushed out squalled with usual vigor. The second she thought was the afterbirth, except that the midwife frowned when she saw it, and took it to the washing pail. “A son and a stone,” she declared to the waiting father, and showed him one swaddled bundle while his wife nursed the other. He took it with trembling hands. It was too light for a rock. Pale and twisted, it was a bone. When he could walk, the boy was given his brother to wear in a pouch around his neck and told never to open it. When he was old enough to wield a sword, he disobeyed. His blisters were not yet callouses, and when he drew out the bone, they burst and wept blood into its hollows. Two divots blinked like eyes. Vertebral juts unfurled, and teeth erupted. And bit into his hand. The lithopedion gnawed the flesh from his brother’s bones, and when he was done he cracked them open and slurped down

Whatever Happened to Sycorax? by Syreeta Muir - 206 Word Stories - Bag of Bones Press

  Whatever Happened to Sycorax? by Syreeta Muir     The night’s drawing in and there’s a bite on it. The woman sitting on the pavement next to a bundle of magazines, shriveled as a fig, smells of petrichor and sand. She gathers her bog-myrtle shawl around a bundle of rags at her chest. A passerby with a kind, portly face stops to ask her name. He’s reaching into the pocket of his coat for some change when, quick as silver, she catches his arm in hard, nimble fingers, digging her ridged nails deep into his wrist. He’s confused, instinctively tries to tear his hand away but she just smiles, clicks her tongue at the fetid lump which has begun to mewl as she lets her shawl fall open. A baby hanging from her wrinkled, brown teat opens its mouth, makes a noise in its throat that sounds like bees, little brown teeth clacking like a sistrum. It slithers in through the man’s ears like a thousand rattlesnakes, hollowing out his head and making a nest. The woman helps him lie down on th

THE STAIRWAY OF TARTARUS by Miguel Ángel López - 206 Word Stories - Bag of Bones Press

  The Stairway of Tartarus by Miguel Ángel López     For my many conspiracies against the Gods I was condemned to the Stairway of Tartarus. I was told that if I reached the top then I would be free, so I began my ascent. The steps were lost in the horizon, where more like me were ascending, but I did not lose heart and continued my advance. One day I came across another convict who walked the stairs in the opposite direction but moved perpendicular to me, contradicting the laws of elementary physics. I asked him why he was descending and he replied that it was me who was doing that. I came across more captives making the opposite journey, until one day I found a guardian of Tartarus, suspended in the air in a diagonal position. I asked him why he was floating crookedly and he replied to me: “Crooked? It is you who is advancing at an angle on this staircase that is supported horizontally.” And then I understood my eternal punishment, since the Stairway of Tartarus neithe

Forgotten by Steve Bridger - 206 Word Stories - Bag of Bones Press

  Forgotten by Steve Bridger     ‘How long can you sit still?’ Daddy asks. I beam with pride, desperate to impress.   ‘Imagine you’re posing for a picture,’ he says gently. ‘Still as a statue.’ He wraps an itchy woollen scarf around my neck. The wind blows low and cold through tiny gaps in the windows of the little wooden shack. I’ve never seen so much snow outside. ‘Like when Mummy had her scan. No matter how much your nose might itch or you want to scratch or cough. Do not move. ’   Taking the axe, he kisses me on the forehead and disappears into the howling dead of night. In my head, I play musical statues. Twirling and dancing. When the imaginary music stops, my muscles clamp shut. My breath is held. I sit motionless, even my eyes unmoving. I watch the snow continue to fall in silence.   Daddy said he’s coming back.   Everything seemed easier when I was little. A single chocolate bar could feed me for days. The frayed magazines would entertain me for hours. I