Each year on August 31st, author Cassandra Khaw invites people to celebrate by writing microfictions for other people (usually in the form of a prompt). It’s a wonderful tradition and so much fun to participate in! This year, I asked people to reply to me with a .gif and I would write them a tiny story in return. It’s a blast, writing these (and I get so many fabulous new gifs to add to my collection!)—and so I am collecting them all here for you to enjoy.
(A note that while I compiled these shortly after finishing the marathon, life events interupted; so a month later, I’m at last getting these properly formatted and collected here!)
The stories range from cuteness to horror, softness and creepiness. I’ve thus loosely corraled them by tone so you can read just what you feel like. Have fun! 😀
Cheerful, Cute, and Compassionate
(Or: the not!horror or creepy stories. Just lightness and nice things. ❤ )
The robot watched the artist. Computed how metal bent and fused and how rubber took shape over wood; marveled at the patterns nurtured into existence.
The artist offered to let the robot make its own art. “I don’t know how.”
“That’s ok,” the artist said. “I’ll help you learn.”
After the Credits Roll
In his retirement, Cobra kept a lot of momentos from his career. His husband said they’d need an entire semi just for his office.
Nights when he sat outside stargazing, Cobra smiled at his favorite photo. It was the girl and her (alien) dog, surrounded by family. Just like him.
We built robots. Tirelessly, the robots helped with municipal infrastructure, repaired roads, fixed bridges, saved baby birds, etc.
But they were unhappy. The robots didn’t need pay or rest or food. What they wanted was simpler.
We understood. Hug a robot today. They love you.
Every day Pippi visits the otters. She practices her dance moves by the glass. People laugh. But not the otters. They clap for her, admire her tutu, cheer her on.
One day she’ll be famous. She’ll have money.
Then, she’ll help the otters go home, and she’ll cheer when they do.
“Get up,” the kid whispered, blinking back tears. “You gotta get up.”
Nemesis leered, towering over the crumpled Daggertrope. “At last you die, hero.”
“NO!” the kid shouted, and thrust their palms out—and light consumed Nemesis. It screamed and vanished.
Daggertrope weakly gave them a thumbs-up. “Thanks, buddy. You saved me.”
The kid stood taller. “You saved me first.”
“It’s what we heroes do.”
When Elephants Soar
Zero the elephant wanted to fly, like her favorite cartoon, but nope, the Earth had all these rules and refused to cough up a magic feather for her.
So she made her own. She designed a ship, built it herself (took time, but she had it), set sail for space above—and she flew.
Seals Are Cute, Actually
The roundest boi came rolling,
from the land into the sea
And there he bobbed and floated,
happy as could be
But soon the waves grew jealous
of that round and floating boi
And plotted to deflate him,
sink him like a toy
But all around were more
round and floaty bois
Who laughed and rolled atop
the waves, Buoyancy’d with joy
The waves could not defeat them!
So on and on they rolled
A raft of cute and slippery bois
Or so I have been told !
You find the music curled in a nest of old papers (lullabies discarded, letters unsent, promises unspoken) and at first it’s cold, unmoving. You cradle it, hum your favorite notes to warm it. Slowly, the music unfolds. You smile. The music lives, and it sings.
It was a Kraken, unholy dread master of the sea!
The fish and other octopi laughed. “You’re tiny! You’ll never be anything.”
Furious, the tiny Kraken searched for years until it found what it sought: a barrel with a sign of greatness. ☢️
It drank, and then the Kraken grew.
New Place Like Home
It’s hard moving to a new house in a new state when you’re a kid. You miss your friends. You sit on your bed, cry yourself to sleep. Something wakes you. A trio of monsters stands over you.
You gasp. “You guys came with?”
“Always,” your monsters say. You’re not so alone now.
“Night cats for witches, gingers for thieves. Gray cats for devils, torties for ghosts. White cats for nobles, never so clean; brown fur brings fortune, and six toes are keen.”
I’m none of those things so I adopted all the strays. What do you call ten purring cats?
Hell of a Party
Sneaking into the underworld is tricky. Still, Charon can be bribed and Cerberus gets triple treats; it’s slow going but we make it to Hades’ flat.
We wait. We have one shot.
Finally, he returns and we spring out. “Happy birthday!”
Hades blinked back tears. “You remembered!”
Believe Like I Do
Disco was scared. “What if everyone boos?”
Kitty kissed her. “We aren’t performing for ghosts, babe. You’ll rock this.”
Disco took courage. She danced and sang just like she and Kitty practiced.
She got three standing ovations, and Kitty was the first on her feet to cheer.
Halfway Out of the Dark
The first snow fell over the unmoving city. It was so quiet; the world was empty of the people who once thrived.
A robot crept out from the factory. They blinked.
Slowly, they lay down on the snow, and swiped their arms and legs into new shapes. The robot buzzed with happiness, then texted the others to come see the angel they’d made.
She cups the starfield in her palms. The light of a billion potential suns with worlds primed for life shines in her eyes. She longs to keep it, bask in the possibilities. But she loves the galaxy in her hands too much, and so she breathes. The stars bloom, filling the night.
The trail of candy hearts leads down the sidewalk. It doesn’t matter that they’re chipped and scuffed. You eat all the candies, hoping.
The trails stops at an old storefront. A WELCOME sign glows.
“You came,” Grandma says.
You hug her. “Thanks for waiting.”
“Yo, Boney McSkullface!”
Grim Reaper turns. “Excuse me?”
Love stands there.
Grim swallows. “I didn’t think you could die.”
“Still true, friend. World’s over. I hoped you’d come live again. With me.”
“I can wait?”
Grim lowers their scythe. “No, I’m ready.”
Where the light never touches…
And now for the darker, hotter, and outright horror selections!
No prison can hold a god. So He believed, until He found himself trapped.
It was not a cell of diamond, titanium or stone. It was forgetfulness: they chose to build other gods.
He cried out endlessly, whispering His own name lest He forget himself. And then He heard:
For Her Alone
She lives in the space behind your eyelids, watching over you. Dream for her.
She’s a goddess. Worship her.
She grows inside your skin, granting you might. Kill for her.
She’s under your belly now, hungering. Feed her.
At last she’s behind your teeth. Smile with her.
Na na na na…
No one knows where the supers went afterwards. Back to secret identities? In search of dimensional conflicts?
I joined the circus. The wrong one, the one unstuck in time. They had room for a man-bat, and clowns attract clowns.
I’ll find my nemesis. Maybe in this very bigtop.
Circle of Life
The mannequins are lifelike, warm to the touch, moored to their ride.
They never speak, only smile. Never weep, only wave.
The perpetual motion machine feeds on their energy, spins them in endless rounds.
You raise the knife.
They whisper: “YES!”
The ride will be over soon.
Geese, it’s said, are decedents from dinosaurs. It’s true. Look at their teeth, their eyes, their hunger.
When the radiation winds came, they changed.
They remembered their ancestors. The taste of flesh, the thrill of the chase. They remembered the HUNT.
You’d better run.
Bear Your Soul
Office life didn’t agree with Moe. The jokes were unbearable. The open workspace design was impossible to concentrate in.
“Just grin and bear it,” a coworker said, snickering.
Moe snapped. Enough pretense.
It’s hard for humans to hide when there’s no walls, and Moe had teeth.
Working in a haunted library has its perks. Come join us!
Pros: No one bothers you! No closing time! Ghosts are usually quiet and respectful if you leave them alone. Sure, you don’t get paid, but the dead don’t need money.
Oh, sorry, we don’t allow blood in the library. : )
We never asked what we were saving daylight from. Not truly. We did nothing.
Until she came. Made us SEE—
That aching, endless nothing, licking up the sun like spilt cream. Eons it had nibbled. And now we saw, and it saw us in turn. It smiled and there was no more light.
Holy of Holes
You’ll never see God smile again.
We made sure. Took all his teeth, sanded away his mouth, plucked his tongue like a ripe fig.
We figured it was time for new management. How could we be worse, right?
Nah, God doesn’t have a face anymore, either. Oh, this? Yeah it’s mine now.
It’s a subtle sound.
Weird, it hasn’t rained in weeks. Water is precious.
Drip. You crawl from the airless basement, too hot to sweat.
You’re (drip) so (drip) tired. WHERE IS IT?
Your body lies on a table, deer gnawing on your bones. Last of your blood goes…
When the sea banished the hungering whale, it expected its unrepentant spawn to die on land, waterless.
Eons passed. The sea forgot.
The whale’s descendents didn’t. They waited, growing antlers to gouge, hooves to crush.
Soon, an army would rise and the sea would rue its folly.
His 8-bit avi intrigued me. No one went retro anymore. I swiped to link us.
His avatar smiled, pixelating into 4k. “You’ve freed me so I will let you live.”
Only benefit I got out of the apocalypse. He kept his word.
At least he’s hot, since it’s just him and me now. Forever.
Drawn Like Flame
His kiss is consuming, heat made blazing light. It blisters your tongue and you never want to part. He is the sun, and you fly so close he burns your wings.
Yes! This final plunge into his mouth, his infernal embrace.
You are a mothman; he is the Devil. Together you are fire.
Read All About It
“Electrifying!” the headlines scream. “Best performance ever!”
I set the printer’s type for tomorrow’s paper. I flip through my thesaurus. There it is, best word yet: unprecedented.
I’m the last human on Earth, with a solo act every night. I’m making history. I won’t be forgot.
He’s so tired. He wants to stop. Please, let him stop. But the Director says: AGAIN.
So he waves his arms, flails, prays that it’s enough. He craves rest, blessed sleep…
So he flails. He can’t stop. (It never ends. He knows. He cries.)
The director says: AGAIN.
You can run, but they’ll be faster.
You can hide, but they’ll sniff you out.
You can build weapons, but they have shields too strong.
You can scream, but they won’t acknowledge.
There is one way: be still, be open, lay down your sword, and listen.
They wish only to speak.
Carl was odd. We all knew it; the way he painted his tail feathers to look like a mouth, the way he moved, so jerkily and hollow-stepped.
We just shrugged it off as: “Well, that’s Carl.”
Until the mouth opened wider. And didn’t stop. Carl began to laugh.
We began to scream.
And that, pals, is a wrap for this year’s microfiction marathon! (Yes, yes I did give every single one a title…remind me not to do that again haha!) Thanks for playing and I hope you enjoy the tiny fics.
Go create, be awesome, and thrive. ❤