Tiny Stories: It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

It was a dark and stormy night…in my soul, the type I was all too familiar with—where all my relationships with loved ones and acquaintances rested, but I was not at peace.

You see, there was a stranger who walked the streets of my inner being, my own personal Spring Heeled Jack, who sought out the connections I had made throughout the span of my lifetime and, with the skill of a surgeon, severed these ties, one by one.

Call it mad coincidence, but as the bonds within were severed, the person associated with them were discovered brutally slain. Had my Ripper, that entity filled with rage and the unbearably intense need to be alone finally become corporeal?

And now, as we stood face to face, taking in the measure of one another, the only question flooding my mind was—

Will he sever ties with me now?

Tiny Stories: Shards of Torment

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

The vanity mirror in her bedroom was a Venetian antique. Tin and mercury were used in its construction, which caused the mirror to develop a crystalline appearance over the years. It was a gift from Sandrine’s late husband, something he picked up from a bizarre back alley curio shop at a price far below its worth.

Although the mirror always displayed Sandrine’s reflection in the best light possible, far better than any mirror ever had, it had always unnerved her, as if it was manipulating her image to make her more beautiful than she knew herself to be. After her husband died, she should have thrown it away, but could not for the life of her explain what stopped her from doing it.

As was her nightly ritual, she sat in front of the mirror and brushed her long, beautiful hair, counting each stroke, when she detected the faintest whiff of her husband’s cologne. Sandrine looked around the bedroom and saw that she was alone, but when her gaze returned to the mirror, her husband was seated beside her in the reflection, holding her hand that was holding the brush. She screamed and for a moment it felt as if something or someone else was in control of her arm, forcing her to hurl the hairbrush with all her might at the mirror, shattering it to pieces.

Bitter nausea rose in her throat as the shards of the shattered vanity mirror twitched and trembled before shooting up from the table and floor in a maelstrom of sharp chaos, pieces binding themselves together in DNA helix fashion, building themselves from inanimate splinters of reflective glass to take on a new, sinister shape, the form of her abusive, late husband.

“Honey, I’m home,” said the mirrored monstrosity in a voice that sounded like broken glass edges scraping together.

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Tiny Stories: The Girl Who Dances

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Mother Nature’s nose bleeds as the climate changes and zoonotic illnesses are on the rise and the human virus that infects the planet pushes itself toward extinction over squabbles of skin tone, religion, and wealth and the only thing holding the fabric of the universe together is Umbra, whose name means shadow, which is where she dances.

She is a shy girl with the crooked smile and nervous laugh who keeps herself to herself and stands apart from the rest of the so-called real world, moving her body to a tune of ancient magicks that no one else can hear and loving the vision of what people can become if only they can get out of their own way.

Pray the day never comes when she stops dancing.

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Tiny Stories: Eyes of Pitch

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

Her point of origin was unknown and perhaps unknowable. Some said she was the herald of an extraterrestrial invasion force come to test Earth’s defenses, while others postulated that she stepped directly from the Abyss to test the mettle of humankind.

As no earthly tongue could pronounce her name, she chose the pseudonym Rosalinda.

As a xenologist, considered by many to be the top in my field, I was drafted by the military to assess both Rosalinda’s intent and her threat level. All throughout my briefing, I was repeatedly warned, as per Nietzsche’s instructions, not to look directly at her, and I tried my level best to heed that warning but…

Rosalinda’s eyes were pitch black perfect and somewhere in their aphotic depths, I spotted the bioluminescence of her pain and gentleness as they came together to form the very art of her beautifully tortured soul.

She was here to destroy us all, and I, helplessly in love, was prepared to be the first in line to be obliterated.

©2019 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Tiny Stories: How Do You Mend A Mechanical Heart?

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

“All right, I’ll tell you, but move in closer,” IO-893 said. “I do not like discussing my personal business in public.”

Mrrroww,” replied the bar cat as it inched toward the mecha man.

“I violated Asimov’s First Law of Robotics, you know, the one that states: A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Maow?” the bar cat asked.

“Yes, a human female named Marisol, but there’s more to the story than simple murder. We were in love, as impossible as that might seem to an upstanding feline such as yourself, and she was sick, slowly wasting away from a disease that was so new it had no name at the time and definitely had no cure. She begged and pleaded with me to end her misery. She was the center of my universe, how could I deny her request? Could you, if you were in my position?”

Miaou.”

“I did not think so,” IO-893 said. “After Marisol expelled her final breath, I obtained a lock of her hair and wound it around my broken mecha heart, before I was jailed. 25 years later, I was granted a Presidential Pardon, provided that I returned the lock of hair to Marisol’s family, which I foolishly agreed to.”

The bar cat’s brow furrowed. “Miau?”

“No, you don’t understand, it goes far beyond losing a keepsake,” IO-893 explained. “Technology has advanced to the point where humans can be cloned from a single strand of hair. Marisol’s family has an entire lock that I aim to steal. So, are you in or out?”

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Tiny Stories: The Lips of Death

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

The cruel hand of Fate stole you too soon from this all too fragile life and driven to desperation by your absence, I embarked on a fool’s errand, for I am forever a fool for your love, down to accursed Hades in search of the dreaded psychopomp for a solution to my heart’s devastation.

A bargain was struck, and know, beloved, that I showed no fear and no regret when I fell to my knees and kissed the lips of Death itself in order to bring you back, thus damning my soul to be cast into the pit of Tartarus for all eternity.

Enjoy your second chance at life, my sweet, and know that regardless of what happens in your future travels, you are loved.

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Tiny Stories: They Come At Night

Popular belief has it that the universe is comprised of atoms. In reality, the universe is actually made up of…

They come at night during the Hour of the Wolf, that gap between night and dawn when most people perish, when the sleepless are haunted by their deepest fear, when nightmares become flesh, and when ghosts are at the zenith of their power.

When they were alive they were families and neighbors who came to each other’s aid and fought for peace and tragically lost the battle before that peace had been established.

Now, these tortured souls step each pre-dawn from the void of the hereafter to remind us of how far we still must travel.

©2020 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

The Man

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In the beginning of what most believed in their heart of hearts to be the End of Days, there was The Distant Signal. It came in the form of a definitive and verified multi-language message broadcast to all the countries of Earth simultaneously.

What should have been a moment of joyous acknowledgement that we were not alone in the universe, was tainted by a subliminal signal that triggered an automatic flight response in all the various and sundry life forms on the planet.

Dubbed The Great Terror by the media, it opened the door to speculation about the global impact alien contact might have on world governments, organized religions, stock markets, and most importantly human existence.

Then came news of the one person on the planet unaffected by the subliminal signal.

His business card was made of carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic. Laser etched in red on the back was his phone number, four digits, no area or country code, because it wasn’t needed. The number could be dialed from anywhere in the world, toll free. The front of the card delivered the most accurate message any business card ever had. It told the bearer exactly who he was in two simple words:

The Man

Normally slang that referred to either the government, an authority in a position of power, or a drug dealer — which he had no issue with, as he had allegedly been all those things in his youth — it currently served as a term of respect and praise.

The Man had no official credit rating, never owned a bank account, and his fingers never knew the texture of cash. His currency was the Boon License, a service performed, payable by a service at his behest.

The Man never advertised his services, and thanks to a universal binary code, he wasn’t searchable on the internet. His legend was viral, spread word of mouth from those who benefited from his services. The downside of this Chinese whispers campaign were all the old wives’ tales that attached themselves to his accomplishments like gossip remoras:

  • He was incapable of telling the truth and he gained supernatural powers by winning a bet with the Devil in a liar’s competition.
  • He thrived on the broken hearts of virgins after he stole the purest form of love from them.
  • He was born without a soul.
  • He was a genetic engineering experiment using stem cell materials that hasn’t been able to be duplicated.
  • He was born with one hundred percent brain capacity and as a result has all the information stored on every computer and the internet in his brain.
  • He averted World War Three by winning the jackpot in a poker game with the world’s superpowers.

For a person who bartered in boons, how could he resist collecting favors from the entire planet? But when The Man accepted the offer, he scoured governments, both domestic and foreign, for help, with absolutely no success.

Once The Man signed the contract, he was elected to make first contact, and the world leaders resigned from their posts and contingency plans were underway to build underground shelters. He could not find a government, nation, country or individual to stand by his side.

The final extraterrestrial message contained a set of coordinates for the rendezvous point. Although no one would stand by him, he was able to call in several favors to arrange transport to one of the remote volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean, Tristan da Cunha.

The alien armada arrived like a meteor storm, ships of shifting geometrics burned through Earth’s mesosphere and parked themselves in the stratosphere around the entire planet so that they blotted out the sun.

Plunged into darkness, The Man stood his ground as a lone, illuminated craft, smaller than the other ships, descended to the rendezvous point and touched down on the soil light as a feather.

The ship altered its form and peeled itself away from its passenger and repurposed itself into a ramp. The alien glided forward. It existed on the outer fringes of humanoid description but The Man found its features and its form somehow alluring.

The alien handed him a card with strange markings and upon contact with his skin, the card pricked his thumb and took a DNA sample. The markings changed, cycling through alphabets until it hit his native earthbound English. When all the letters were in place, it simply read:

The Woman

The alien smiled.

Text and Audio ©2014 – 2021 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

Aeton and Ioasephyn

Minds Eye

Aeton was made for Ioasephyn, and she him, of this there was never any doubt. Formed during The Great Making and united in an unbreakable union when the world was in its infancy, the couple consummated their love as the molten planet cooled. Theirs was the first love and the fulcrum on which all love that followed would be balanced.

In the days before there were others, Aeton and Ioasephyn relaxed in fields of spun gold and stared upward, watching as the void caught fire, pinprick flames burst into life throughout the inky black and became stars. As the land masses grew restless and pulled away from one another, separating the waters into greater and lesser portions, the pair frolicked while the planet went through its growing pains.

When others came, some as a byproduct of their union, and the rest molded from clay or evolved from simpler lifeforms, they watched as gatherings became villages became towns became cities, and those overpopulated cities became nations. There were those who sought to rule these nations, some successfully, others less so. Aeton and Ioasephyn had seen the noblest of endeavors corrupted by pettiness, jealousy and greed and wished to separate themselves from the inevitable outcomes.

Time passed for everyone but the young lovers. Their children grew older, as did friends. Not all were accepting of the fact, so they vanished from the daily workings of societies, and only visited occasionally when curiosity got the better of them.

One such visit proved disastrous for Ioasephyn when someone in a new city recognized her. She thought enough time had passed and the world had forgotten them. How could she have known that she and Aeton had become the stuff of legend? A legend planted in the soil of truth, watered by myth in each retelling until it sprouted the belief that their blood, the liquid of pure first love, granted eternal life.

They surrounded her, the entire city did, and forced her into a prison until they consulted with an elder on the precise details of the ritual needed to extract the blood for the immortality elixir.

Aeton was on the opposite side of the world when he felt Ioasephyn’s fear tug at his heart. He pleaded with the moon to create a tide that would carry him to his true love’s side. It obliged and he rode the waters day and night without rest until he arrived at the city that held her.

Without delay, he met with the officials who held his love and attempted to reason with them. With a father’s patience, he listened to their wild tales and struggled to dispel the myths. He told them the truth in the Voice of Authority, but they paid no heed and took him prisoner, as well.

The legend warned that the couple’s invincible power was only focused in their union, so the jailers locked Aeton and Ioasephyn in cages separated far enough apart so they could not touch. Upon seeing one another, the lovers wept for they knew their demise would soon come. But they were not angry, instead, they pitied those who could never have seen the world through their eyes. The love they declared for one another stood the test of the sometimes wondrous sometimes terrifying times they lived through, and it would survive this as well.

Though they had accepted their fates, Aeton could not bear the thought of Ioasephyn not existing, so he hid her away somewhere no one would ever think to find her. He hid her in plain sight, tucked away in the corner of the mind’s eye of everyone in existence. He spoke the words of the incantation in his native tongue, acquired at the dawn of language when words contained magic.

Unbeknownst to Aeton, Ioasephyn had done the same to him. They truly were of one mind.

So now they lived where visionaries and dreamers created and though they often tended to their own affairs, sometimes they could be glimpsed frolicking on the cusp of thoughts or relaxing in fields of gossamer daydreams, staring upward and watching as the void caught fire, pinprick flames bursting into life throughout the inky blackness to become ideas.

Text and Audio ©2014 – 2021 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys

The One Sentence You Should Get Used to When First Starting Out

You’ve done your research, worked your mental fingers to the bone, and devoted all your time, energy and attention to detail into nailing the anatomy, structure and formatting of your very first short story/novel/poetry piece/article/screenplay, before sending it out for mass consumption.

And you wait, and wait, and wait, and wait for a response. When it finally arrives, your eyes will skim over the body of the letter and lock in on one sentence:

“After reviewing your work, we’ve decided that it isn’t a good fit for us and we’re going to have to pass.”

Don’t let that sentence shake you. Very rarely is a writer’s first written work good enough to be marketable. It takes experience to craft a truly sellable piece, experience you’ll earn by pressing on. This written piece leads to a second and a third and eventually you’ll find an editor, publisher or what have you that believes in your potential.

Write until you get it right.

Sally forth and be writeful.

— Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys