Short Stories | In This Future Or The Next

Category – Short Stories

The Figure In The Woods

In the outskirts of a large city, beneath the glow of a white moon, the cool wind whistled through a crack in Ean’s window. He opened his eyes and watched the moonlight on his floor, making a grid of four squares as it passed through. There was a knocking, too, just outside, in the woods, maybe, or in his backyard.

It wasn’t the first time he had woken up with the knocking, or the whistling, but it wasn’t a common occurrence either. He had first heard it exactly one month before. He didn’t think much of it then, and he didn’t think much of it the nights after that, but the last week had been different. There had been a voice too, a woman, it seemed, singing a melody in the distance.

So he sat up on his bed and listened. In the silence, quiet sounds stand out. The branches of the trees swayed with the blowing wind, a song in itself, but not the one he searched for. Crickets chirped sporadically. A car moved through the road a hundred yards away. Knock, knock, knock, faintly in the woods. Knock, knock, knock.

Below the silence and the silent sounds, and below the darkness and the soft white glow, a melody. Ean sat motionless in bed, not wanting to disrupt the distant singing. He stood up and opened the window, and gazed towards the black pathways below the trees. The cold entered his bedroom and he shivered.

A neighbor’s dog barked and another car passed by, and for an instant the disruption of the quiet flooded out the melody, and he cursed. Something called to him. He didn’t yet know what, but he wanted to find out. Ean slipped into a pair of flip-flops and took a scarf from a drawer. He wrapped it around his neck, and he stepped out the window into the cold.


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The Space Beast From the Magnificent Experiment

In the dense atmosphere of Venus, beneath a bronze sky, on a floating fortress left behind from the wars of a distant past, a lone man walked towards his destination. He crossed the hallways speaking quietly to himself, leaving behind a lingering echo.

“It’s not right. It’s not right. It’s not right.” He had been repeating the same words since the day had started, but it was only until he entered the hallway he had begun to say them aloud. Each step brought him closer to the office where the general was waiting for the day to end.

“What are you still doing here?” The general asked as he saw the man in the white coat approaching. “Your transport left an hour ago.”

The scientist stopped at the door and when he spoke the muscles in his throat did not obey him, instead he choked with a puddle of spit.

A moment of silence passed and the general spoke again, knowing why he had a visitor on the last day on Venus. “It’s not up to me, and it’s not up to you, either. You think I don’t care. You think so because I gave the order, but truly, it doesn’t depend on what I want or wish.”

The man standing at the door remained silent, listening to the reply of the question he meant to ask, but couldn’t.

“Is it possible it was a mistake? Yeah… it is. In fact, it’s probable that this whole operation was a mistake. We should have never come here. People died, you know? It’s easy for you to ignore this because you weren’t out there like the rest of them. People died. Why didn’t you come here to beg for their lives? Why are you here now, soul-hurt for the only living thing whose life is a mistake?”

“It’s not right…” The scientist shook his head.

“It’s not. Nothing’s right. Look… I understand okay? It didn’t ask to exist. It didn’t ask to be a part of this. It had no choice, but it’s dangerous. We cannot control it. We cannot guarantee anyone’s safety if we take it with us.”

“Then don’t take it with us! Just let it go, it can survi-”

“And,” the general interrupted, “it’s not up to us. You and I don’t get to decide. Get that into your head. The last transport to Earth leaves in two hours. I’m leaving on it. It’s your last chance to leave. No one’s coming back here, doctor. It doesn’t matter what we do, this place is uninhabitable.”

The scientist took a deep breath. “It’s not right…”

“I know.”

Having listened to the words of the general, the scientist walked away.


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The Journeyman

Painting by Ketunleipaa


The end

It was the 28th century. People around the world screamed, some in joy and some in anger, as the news spread that the ‘Global Transhuman Initiative’ had been approved. Protesters poured into the streets chanting for the sanctity of the human body, cutting themselves, letting their pure blood soak the streets. Riots broke out and fires were ignited, but it made no difference. Humanity had voted. It had decided it was ready to take the next step: Technology-guided evolution. Directed by humans for humans to give each individual a say of what he wanted to become. Athletes would get better or artificial muscles, thinkers would get never-tiring brains, and for the truly adventurous their minds would be transferred into artificial, near-indestructible bodies.


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El Camino Donde Me Quedé

Esto pasó hace muchos años. No era ninguna fecha especial. Bueno, en aquel entonces no me pareció nada fuera de lo normal, pero, en retrospectiva, supongo que sí lo fue.

Había salido de mi casa para visitar a mi hermano. Él vivía a unas dos horas, allá donde según las cosas eran mejores… según. Ya había ido yo muchas veces, pues lo visitaba almenos una vez al mes. El camino ya me lo sabía y hasta mi camioneta yo creo se lo había aprendido. Cada piedra del camino me era familiar, y cada que cambiaba algo yo me daba cuenta. Por ejemplo, una vez que iba por el camino noté como que la tierra estaba revuelta de una manera en que no debía estar revuelta. Así como a veces la comida en la panza de uno se revuelve mal y a uno le da un noséqué, pues así fue. Me dio un noséqué, pero no le presté mucha atención. Pues me creerás que al otro día en las noticias salió que un carro se había volcado ahí, en ese mismito lugar. Así de bien me sabía el camino.


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The Whistling

The Whistling

Somewhere inside the large desert that was Earth, under a full moon and a clear sky, the last man watched the stars from inside his small home through a broken window. Sometimes he would count them, sometimes he would stare at a specific few and follow them across the darkness until he fell asleep; And as he did he would listen to the whistling of the wind as it passed through the cracks and the cavities of the mountain behind the house that he had built.

Some nights it was quieter than others, but it was always there. And on occasions, when the wind was strong, it almost seemed to speak, yelling out long drawn out words that he would try to understand. Perhaps it was the world telling whoever would listen its secrets. Perhaps it was just the mountain, saying ‘good night’ to the sole remaining climber to climb its walls.


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The Singing Tower of Mystery


In a distant planet of a distant stellar system, under the dimming light of an orange star, a man stood silent, staring at his fallen ship. He didn’t know what had happened, he didn’t know how he had ended up in that alien planet, with his fate almost sealed, with his crew dead and buried.

“This is Captain Van Kelt. The Tero 4 has suffered a catastrophic accident. Its wreckage lays now on planet SE-8388. If anyone is out there, I ask only that you come back for our bodies, for I’ll be long dead before these radio waves reach you. Have a good journey, my friends. Over and out.”


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Ruben Malvarma, The Galactic Penguin

Image created by John Erickson

Image created by John Erickson


Darkness engulfed Earth. Acid and ash rained over the continents. The wind screamed as it passed through the cracks and the holes and the windows of the decaying cities. A sad melody rang over its atmosphere reaching every corner of the world to remind its non-existent inhabitants of the death they had endured.

A beep echoed in the cockpit of the Starship Sphenis, eighty thousand light-years away, on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy.

Uh… Ruben what was that?

“What was what?”

Didn’t you just get a message? I think I heard a beep.

“We’re in the middle of something.”

It could be from the empire.

“Just answer the question.”

Fine… well, are we stopping by planet Hunnon on the way back?

“Yeah, why?”

I could really use some of their-

Another beep from the command center resonated around them.

Just look at the message!

Ruben Malvarma, one of the last remaining penguins in the galaxy sighed at the voice in his head. “Okay!”

He walked across the bright room, across the metal floors and under the glass ceiling, through the myriad lights of the thousand controls and touched a glowing screen that read: “New Message.”


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Conversations of Zenitar: Rita & Leon

Part One

”It‘s such a pretty view”

Rita sat silent on the edge of the roof of the 200 story building with her feet dangling over it. The wind swayed her dark hair in a rhythmic manner and she took a deep breath of it and tasted the dirt that flew with it.

”Do you think we‘ll ever go up there?” She said, looking up at the night sky. Watching the blue marble that sat in the dark, glowing.

”Sure we will. I‘ve heard there‘s gonna be new job openings to clean Earth‘s forests. And nobody wants those jobs… but we could take them, and then they‘ll have to take us there.” Leon touched her hand on what seemed to be the edge of the Moon‘s sky.

”Do you see that?” He pointed at a slowly moving white dot in the distance. ”It‘s one of the transports. We‘ll be on of those soon, you‘ll see.”


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The Spheres of the Desert

Image created  by digital-fluids

Image created by digital-fluids


Julek Bohme was standing outside the water purifying plant on the edge of sphere #38. He looked through the thick glass towards the horizon where the sun began to hide behind the dunes of the desert. He didn’t usually think of anything while he looked outside to the sterile world, and it wasn’t odd to see him stand there hours at a time. But on that day his mind wandered through ideas of the world. Julek watched the rays of the sun create spectacular shapes in the sky as its light was reflected and absorbed by the mountains of sand and he couldn’t help but ask himself, What lies beyond those dunes? What lies beyond the desert? What inhabits the rest of our dying world?


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Journey to the End of the Universe


Tim sat in his living room in silence, listening to phone ring in his hand. Why did people feel compelled to stop him? Was the decision not his? Had he no right to want something that much? Did he somehow break a moral rule he was unaware of?

The phone stopped ringing.

It was his last day in his house. He would be leaving soon for orbit, for good, until the end. Oh, how he desired to see the white shining city again. He had seen it once before, in a dream. Thirty years and still his mind could not make it fit, it could not understand it, the beauty of it.

He remembered what he saw clearly. He was being lifted into the sky by an unknown force at unimaginable speeds. He saw myriad stars and nebulas fly past him, he saw galaxies as one would see vehicles in the road as he passed them. He felt time stretch itself and he saw space bend around him, and beyond him a white light glowed intensely. It was something he had never experienced, brighter than diving into the sun itself and yet not hurting his eyes. He could see buildings rise from within it. Huge buildings. Buildings the size of planets and roads the size of asteroid belts. The city itself seemed larger than the milky way. Unfathomable, a cool breeze wrapped around him and he felt what he had rarely felt in his life… peace. It was not like sleeping, it was not like getting a massage, it was not like sitting outside his farm during the late hours of the day listening to the mild sounds of the night and watching the dim light of the stars illuminate the sleeping animals. No, it was a peace that made all his problems fade away into darkness, it was happiness. He knew where it was and he had to reach it again. He had to… through time, through space, through the lives of all living things in the universe. To the end of times.


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