I monitor the solar telescopes as we do here at the observatory every day. Sunspots are on the uptick again. No wonder we keep getting spotty cell phone reception. The radio’s on the fritz, too. Better inform the agencies, let them adjust the satellites to shield them. It’s all just business as usual.

The mother of all solar flares breaches, flinging untold masses of excited plasma into the void. It takes roughly eight minutes for the observatory to detect the big one.

Coming. Right. At. Us.

How do we tell the world that there will be no day after tomorrow?

The Janitor

Our glorious leader moves in secret to the command bunker, as his “special military operation” has backfired spectacularily. The bunker is ultra-secure, deep under the mountains. No weapon of the hated enemy nor his backstabbing rivals can reach him down there. Hidden, no one knows where our leader currently is. But I, the janitor, know.

They had told my sons it was just a training exercise. That they would be home soon. But it wasn’t, and they won’t. The letters of condolence arrived today.

He thinks himself safe in his bunker.

I bar the door and shut off the air.

Search Party

A horror-themed drabble, published in Trembling with Fear online, the week of December 19th, 2021

Search Party

Another little group of hikers has gone missing in the forest. City folks failing the easiest challenge nature can present; follow the path to the rented cabin. The woods can be dangerous after dark. Us locals volunteer for search parties, again.

We walk line abreast, methodically searching. Our dogs rummage for scent between dancing pools of stark flashlight. Can we locate them in time?

A few miles in, the dogs mark the spoor, excited. We find the lost hikers. Cold and hungry, but relieved.

With our sacrifice in hand, the rituals can continue.

We’ll just say we never found them. 

Hells Bells

The bells of the great tower have fallen silent, years of funding cuts caught up at last. Bribes, intimidation and a computer hack secure the refurbishment contract for the Darkpact Builders Co.

Specialist builders are shipped in to toil around the clock. Often heard but never seen, they work for years behind dark scaffolding.

New year’s eve. Party time. Thousands gather to hear the famous bells toll once more. The impatient crowds count down together. Three! Two! One!

DOOM! Discordant knells resound. DOOM! Waking the darkness within. DOOM! The crowds go wild. DOOM! The city burns as the madness spreads.

This horror themed drabble was published in 666: Dark Drabbles by Black Hare Press, 2021

It was my second drabble to be accepted by a publisher for inclusion in a printed anthology, but the first to actually appear in print, on August 31st, 2021.

Click the link or the picture below to go to the book’s Amazon page.


“So, Mr Allen, you are looking to enjoy your accumulated lifetime in… Napoleon, is it?

“Yes, I always been fascinated with the Emperor of France. And they have such great food and wine. And the French girls…”

“Yes, yes. A popular choice. You won’t be disappointed. Sign here, the transference procedure is one way. This is the sum to be deposited…”

Allen woke up in a different body as promised. This is gonna be great!

“I am Napoleon!” Small room this is? Who are those people in white coats?
“It’s time for your medication, Mr Brown.”

Search and Rescue I

Another patient from the dementia ward has wandered off into the woods beyond. One would think they would put up a fence after the first case, but no. It’s cheaper to call in the volunteer search parties.

The woods are dark and our search party is out. We walk line abreast, my dogs rummaging for scent between dancing pools of stark torchlight. Will we be in time?

A few miles in, the dogs mark the spoor, excited. We are in luck! The patient is down, but alive.

Fresh meat for the dogs tonight. We’ll just say she died of exposure.