Microfiction is the art of storytelling in the space of a single tweet. In 2021, I wrote about this strange form of storytelling, and then I wrote 21 of these tiny stories and posted them to @DeferredWords. You can read them below.
If you enjoy this sort of thing, you should check out another Twitter account, @DailyMicroFic, who has been doing this a lot longer than I have. Through them, I discovered the the #vss365 hashtag, where you can find lots of people writing very short stories on Twitter, 365 days a year. See vss365today.com for more info and daily prompts.
Our Time Together
We can live forever, as science has shown. We just can’t remember everything. Still, the new external drives let you view those memories, like old-fashioned home videos. So I don’t see why you’re so offended that I decided to offload our time together.
They say we are weak and timid, only useful for the Warp. Our Warp bends space and brings their soldiers to new worlds. Our Warp brings the victorious conquerors back home.
My Warp brings them to a dying planet. My Warp brings me back, alone. Who’s timid now?
The sorcerer-kings were mighty and cruel, but even they failed to foresee the Starfall. The unmagicked found that slave pens hold sorcerers as well as peasants, when fitted with star-metal bars.
Sorcerer-gladiators in deadly combat were truly a sight to behold.
They say there’s a universe for every choice we make. I made a wrong choice, and I can tell you there isn’t.
There’s a gray ghost place where wrong decisions go. I was lucky to escape, and hop back into myself.
But what’s to stop others from hopping in too?
Princess, Under the Moon
In the kingdom, the Pure have unmarked flesh. Others receive the caste tattoos at birth.
With the right pigments, caste can be covered. That’s how the outcasts entered the palace. That’s how they took the princess under cold moonlight and covered her with ink.
One day, Angela looks into the bright blue sky and enlightenment pours into her. She discovers she isn’t herself, just the universe seeing itself from a certain point of view. She is one with everything.
It turns out dying is like that for everyone.
When Dana used the voice, they always obeyed. She told her love to marry her, her children to love her, her boss to give her a raise.
When she worked up the courage to ask instead, they all said “No.”
She went back to telling. But she knew she was alone.
It wasn’t my fault. I tried to ignore them, their laughs and looks and judgements. They wouldn’t stop, so I stopped them. There was no evidence. I was careful.
Now I see them, in mirrors and dark alleys. The girl, the crone, the woman. Their knives are so, so sharp.
The caravan merchants said it’s bad luck to disturb desert bones. The ghosts said they just wanted to go home.
We left them, and they weren’t too happy. They’ve been raging in the sandstorm for days. Soon, I fear we’ll all be desert bones.
It was rough when the Senate switched from voting on bills to all-out warfare, but John was elected to do a job, and he was going to do it.
Suppressing fire and a well-timed grenade broke the enemy formation. He won the day, and passed that vital gun control bill.
“No More Kings”
Seto didn’t want to, but he led the rebel army to defeat the evil king. When they tried to sit him on the dead man’s throne, he sighed and broke the crown.
He rode into the mountains and lived in solitude, while petty warlords spilled blood across the kingdom.
The Last Game of Go
In the year 3000, the last Go players gather on Proxima Centauri B. It’s Silicon Megacube vs. Quantum Determinator. The perfect game will be played, before it’s retired forever.
Suddenly, an explosion! It’s human terrorists, demanding the right to imperfection.
The corn was all wrong. The ears were too big for July. And they pulsated.
Jessie ran to the house and found Ma in a trance. She yanked her outside, past farmhands walking the rows glassy-eyed. They escaped, but the stalks were spraying spores in black clouds.
A million overlapping universes unravel into darkness. A man, a confluence, can bind them back together. Elemental chaos stalks him, slavering.
His lover, his knight, would save him at the cost of infinite worlds. He lets her go, and chooses self-sacrifice.
Gary left. The job, the wife, the kids. He wanted to taste other ways of living.
He studied with mountain monks. He bloodied his knuckles for money. He hauled crab traps in frigid waters.
When he came home, he apologized. But they didn’t want him anymore.
Carlos and Esteban
Esteban didn’t vote for his brother. He knew what Carlos was capable of. After Carlos won, there were no more elections. There were police. Soldiers. Smoke and fire.
Esteban knew his brother. Mama’s grave, every birthday. He breathed slow. He pulled the trigger.
The space between stars is vast. That’s why only wizards can visit other worlds.
Xoknar brought his staff, his sword, and his robe of many pockets (each filled with something useful). No alien beast would maul him. But he forgot his spell to make air.
The First Time
After the meteor, we moved underground. It’s dark, but it’s safe and warm. Sometimes I sneak up top. I’m not supposed to. I collect treasures from Before.
The people up top are scary. Like beasts. They almost caught me, once. That was the first time I killed.
She wanted to die, until the vine got into her veins and taught her to love everything. She drank the sun. She gave others the gift, but only if they wanted it.
Patriots called her an enemy plot to make them weak. They killed her, to show that they weren’t.
Moon and Sea
The goddess Moon and the goddess Sea are lovers. Moon caresses Sea with silver light, and Sea glints coyly. Moon dons seductive cloud, and Sea darkens, obscuring shoals.
Ships crack open like old bones, full of rich marrow. Sea laps greedily. Moon watches, eyes bright.
Jungles of Minnesota
None of the climate models predicted the red jungle that slithered over the globe, from Melbourne to Minneapolis, strangling, stinging, biting. We barely survived until winter ice slowed the growth.
This morning I listen to the drip, drip, drip of the spring thaw.