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

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Frozen is the state of mind you enter into in your last moments before the liquid nitrogen bath encases your body in an arrested timeframe of suspended entropy, reduced expectations and an eternity of chill. Frozen is a city on the western shore of Africa, beneath cyclopean stones which once were lighthouses for the mystic trading fleets of Atlantis. Frozen is the middle name of the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, even now being accelerated into his career by junior high school steroids. Frozen is as frozen does, but wipe your lips before you smile.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Cassini was a little girl in Saturn's house. The jolly old giant showed her some love, some affection, but mostly he left her alone. On her own, she developed a probing intellect and keen sense of curiosity, often mooning about the house looking into, under and behind things. One day she met Huygens, a pretty Dutch boy with a sense of humor and a fast horse, and the rest, as they say, is history. Which simply shows you what curiosity will merit...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

One hand is dominant. One ape is dominant. One nation is dominant. Everything has a hierarchy, everything has a need. Everything finds its way, its place, in the dominant games the universe plays.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"The king is dead, long live the king!" The cheer echoed through the streets where busy commuters jockeyed for the best seats on diesel-driven busses and smoking taxi cabs -- commuters who had better things to do than take note of either the war raging outside their capital or the death of their king. Torren was too great a city, and business was too good, besides, war made things sale, like bullets and armor plating, munitions for airships and medical supplies. Every stroke of Death's scythe made room for new growth.

Ten miles outside Torren, in the rolling hills and green glades of Foxburry and Moneta, young men hunkered in trenches muddied by new fallen rain. These were the worthless sons of Torren, the degreeless, graduated from primary schools and handed Tomguns and gasmasks with their diplomas.

Overhead the zeppelins floated like white sharks in a white sky, bearing death in fletched grenade clusters and mustard gas canisters. The enemy, black-hearted demons of inhuman countenances, with no glimmer of human empathy or love, loomed not forty feet away, yet hidden by the day-long mists that never parted once the war had started.

Fuzzy voices poured out AM radios throughout the trenches on both sides. The king of Torren was dead, passed away in his sleep during the night -- cold in a warm bed beside a warm lover that was not his wife. Confusion broke out, pushing war aside. The Torrens had fought for the king, but the king was dead.

A night and a day and another night passed, and then the first young Torren, a Private Subclass scrambled out the trench, his uniform so covered in mud it was more brown than black, and approached the hateful, dastardly enemy, waving a flag of crimson, the sign of peace and parley.

Others followed, and an accord was reached. The Ule was upon them, and everyone celebrated Ule. The enemy, that faceless mass of black, that fanged creature of hell born evil, coalesced in the mist, taking the shape of young men not unlike the Torrens. They shared noon tea and hardpan biscuits, and joined the Torren boys in singing songs of Ule, and praises to the Rashan who had, after all, created every man of them.

The interregnum of peace, even among the officers who had perpetuated the myth of monsters and troglodytes on either side, went on for three days, until a new king was found among the Torren elite; a man of will, greed, and bloodlust.

Back to the trenches and mud went the Torrens with well wishes from their friends, the enemy. Boys on both sides took up their weapons once again, whispering prayers to the Rashan, as Captains and Colonels swore epithets over their heads.

Bullets again tore at the mists and zeppelins reclaimed the skies. Commerce soared, young men died, and all was right in the world.

(Storyword "Interregnum" and story both courtesy of David Jones.)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Caveat is where it's at, bear. Man on dinosaur, Santorum-wise. Raging tigers burning bright on torchlit stone walls. We leap past the horns, caveat transit gloria.

Monday, January 10, 2005

I took my elastomer for a walk today. I was really stretched for time, but the poor thing need to be out and about. A few neighbors waved, a few stared, one or two reached for cell phones. Or possibly tasers. It's tough, being the caretaker and boon companion of an elastomer.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

To be one of the Elect is to be elevated, idolated, attributated to a blinding post beneath the gelid glare of God. The Elect fly high, eat first, leave when they wish and have the shiniest shoes. Would you like to be Elect, little boy? Sign here, Great. Now step in front of the camera.

  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.