Story Words
Very short fiction, written on the fly, from words submitted by readers.
© 2002, 2003, 2004 Jay Lake

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Deign was a man of strange habits and strong will. He blew into the lives of women like a hurricane, and out of the lives of men like a tornado. It did not matter what he did, people broke and ran before him. There came a time when the People were forced to bind Deign and place him in a deep cavern guarded by paintings of Bear and Coyote, amid the issuing smokes of deepearth. There Deign sat for many years, mumbling words that sometimes were heard but rarely heeded.

Is there a moral? No, save to say that if you are the storm, be mindful of your path.

Friday, September 17, 2004

A condign soul. A condign flutter of eyes. A condign whisper. A condign kiss. A condign life.

Where is the punishment?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Epochal airplanes carry them to their various fates, reluctant and willing, heroic and fanatic, and leave the rest of us wondering: What was at the end of that bright red and gray rainbow? Here on Earth, it was three days of silent skies, followed by a new age.

(Today's storyword by guest author, Tiger Lily.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The gelid light of day shows the wreckage of the party. Broken chairs, lost shoes, half-cans of beer being sipped by unsubtle mice. Did I have fun? Was I even here? Whose house is this anyway? The sky outside is a strange color, and my head feels too small. Oh, wait, this is a dream. I have done less than this. I will awake in darkness.

But the gelid light of day will still be waiting there.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

We sing in harmony, those of us whose voices still raise at all. Heaven does not answer, the angels do not heed our call, yet still the threnody rises in the mists which remain to us. Soon, very soon, they will come back with their round chariots and their huge gray eyes and take us up into the music of their spheres. Until then, we sing in harmony amid the ruins.

("Threnody" suggested by TL)

Monday, September 13, 2004

My allopathic love is unregenerate, refractory, obstinate, easing happiness with upheaval, whispering thunder in my ear, contrary temptations to cure me of contentment -- fire for cool calm, insecurity for equilibrium -- putting cracks in the smooth surface of my well-being, a charlatan for change.

(Today's storyword by guest author RuthN)

Sunday, September 12, 2004

The camelops moves secretly through the long grass, hairy legs silent as fish within the river. Its eyes bulge frog-wide. Its teeth glitter like diamonds set in bone holders. It has hidden lusts and exposed needs, a bundle of strange and stressful nerves with violent intent and quiet madness. Thank goodness this monster is extinct, and not in your yard or mine.

  I've been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and for the John W. Campbell, Jr. Award for Best New Writer!
Award info | Me

Read the Hugo-nominated story for free at

Q: What is this?
A: A fiction experiment. Every day, people email me words. At some random point in the day, I pick a word, write a quick story about it on the spot, and post it unedited (except for a quick typo patrol).

Q: What did that word mean?
A: Look it up:

Q: Can I send you a word?
A: You bet. Include a definition if the word is deeply obscure -- or not, if you prefer. Send it to

Q: I've got something to say about this.
A: Click over to the Story Words discussion topic.

Q: Who else is silly enough to do this? I think it's kind of neat.
A: David Jones, for one. Surf over there and check him out. Drop him an encouraging word, too. He's a brave man.
A: Jeremy Tolbert, for another, with his Microscopica project. Likewise show him some love.
A: Jason Erik Lundberg with his Mythologism blog.

Q: You're even cooler than KITT the Knight Rider car. Do you have a mailing list to announce your latest hijinks?
A: Of course I do. What kind of self-promoting, narcissistic writer would I be otherwise? Email me. Occasional mailings regarding stories appearing in print and online, weird stuff in general, and appearances of the Greek Chorus.