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

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The heart is unknowing, clouded by hope and fear, grief and reason, faith and trepidation. Still, unknowing, it forges onward through deserts and temples, a red-armored knight tired beat by lifelong beat, searching for answers in every campfire and raging inferno, staring into the heart of the sun and the cold eye of the moon. Unknowing is the state of the heart, because certainty means no surprises, no joy, no wonderment.

Friday, October 22, 2004

"Arrant nonsense!"
"Wh-- Wait. What?"
"Arras. It's like, oh, a curtain. Or a divan or something."
"No way. Challenge."
"Dude, it's like, Shakespeare."
"I don't care if it's Eminem. That's too stupid to be a word."
"Oh, man, are you in trouble when I find this in the dictionary."
"Curtains for me, huh?"
"Stilettos, good Polonius, stilettos for you."

("Arras" suggested by RuthN)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The sun was so high and bright over our square of silky green grass that I joked I could hear the radiation buzzing in my ears. We hoisted big umbrella, a patchwork comforter from the secondhand store, and a light lunch of day old bread, sliced apples and purified water. Something in Tamera's eyes -- those liquid violet orbs -- told me I might get laid if I kept the mood up -- I had no intention of letting that slip through my porcine digits. We basked in the shade of mid-afternoon, feeding one another dainty bits of our repast, I playing the part of gallant storyteller, recounting my passage from Runcink to Earth as my hands played out the tableau along her bronze thighs up to her tight, hairless navel.

"Have you ever made love to a pig?" I asked her, a grin stealing over my jowls, as our petting became more intense, for she had oft made light of my people's resemblance to that proud agrarian animal.

"No," she said, returning my smile with a wicked along her bronze thighs up to her tight, hairless navel.

"Have you ever made love to a pig?" I asked her, a grin stealing over my jowls, as our petting became more intense, for she had oft made light of my people's resemblance to that proud agrarian animal.

"No," she said, returning my smile with a wicked curve of her full lips, "but I've had my fantasies."

Our passion was unbridled, wild as the feral Quiplot hunting his jungle home. Some passersby might have noticed us, for I am often loud with my snorts and grunts, but such was my ardor that I took no notice any human, save the dark-haired beauty folded in my arms.

When it was done, when the scent of her sex and my sweat were thick upon the air and our strength was spent, I lay back in the shade, my chest throbbing for breath, my hearts pounding out of sync.

Tamera dressed with haste, sliding into her tight jeans with some difficulty, her air that of embarrassment and, though I had never experienced it after lovemaking, I sensed some disappointment.

I stroked her hair and she gave me a weak smile.

"Something bothers you, sweet human?" I said, using my most gentile voice.

She hesitated, then said, "It's just. . . well, you're not very. . . large, are you?"

Now I have coupled many times, and not just on my home world, among my own kind, but with many different females of varying species and, dare I say, body types. Never had I received such a complaint, not once since first I discovered the carnal pleasures of sex.

I was momentarily without words. But, like any male of any species, my voice soon returned, and with it, my indignation.

"I've had no complaints," I said, managing to keep my voice level. "In fact, on my home world I am rather a large specimen, if you must know."

There was no hint of a smile, nor any sign of joviality in that lovely woman's eyes, when she said, "In a sow's ear."

("Agrarian" storyword and story by guest author David Jones)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The Rosarian is a follower of the Rose Knights -- possibly a squire, possibly a scholar, possibly a lover forever trailing after the bright fire of their thorned armor. The Rosarians chronicle and negotiate and plead, carrying supplies, burying the dead, all for the chance of a few moments in the shining presence of their sunstars. To be a Rosarian is to be absolute in devotion, true in faith, and a lover of all the colors of the season.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Old tales tell us of the bastard golden leopard, offspring of the illicit mating between a lion and a pard. But it is not the degenerate leopard that bears the markings, it is its pardine parent, supple coat rippling with the marks of her shame, the adulterous union with one not of her own kind. Unnatural, the pard seems to wear her spots with pride, rosettes of black and gold against a dusty yellow background, as she prowls the forest in search of prey, indifferent to what some may think her spotted coat means. She knows its beauty, and all who look upon her must agree.

("Pardine" by guest author RuthN)

  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.