@130story is a creative writing project and the brainchild of James Rutherford, conceived as a means to inspire others to write short stories. I created this page to try and keep track of my submissions and I'd encourage everyone to participate, even if you don't usually write (I don't!).
The air rushed as the 8pm from Hove thundered through the tunnel toward him. He jammed his body into a recess, and shut his eyes.
His beard was long and untidy, his hair ran wild, yet his eyes sparkled with the burning intensity only true genius can ignite.
Gunfire cracked a percussive beat somewhere nearby, followed by muffed voices and the sound of hurried footsteps on the pavement.
A beam surrounded him, dust specks sparkled oddly between shifting rays of green light. Slowly, gently, he lifted from the ground.
Mirrors on the lift's walls created infinitely repeating reflections, tiny worlds imprisoning perfect echoes of the occupants.
"Monsters are all in your head", they tell kids. They're right.
They tumbled over each other to get through the door and out of the rain, laughing at their ill preparedness for British weather.
They'd said the 'protein paste' would keep her alive, but the act of eating the odious brown muck before her didn't appeal at all.
Sunrise bloomed over the horizon. Dan squinted through it's glare on the wet road. At least he knew they were still heading east.
36 days since Earth went dark. Ren scanned for activity in the readout on the Orbiter's com screen, but she knew. It was hopeless.
Some men lead with fear and volume. Such men are overthrown. Remember, always. No one dares cross the softly spoken gentleman.
Caught out by the loaded question, his mind now raced in panic. He'd admitted involvement, but they'd no idea how entangled he was
As he stared down at the exam paper, he remembered his mum telling him "Do your best, that's good enough." Yeah. Maybe not, Mum.
Last night's argument niggled at her as she buttered her toast. How DARE he call her immature! She licked the knife, defiantly.
Loss. Like woodworm, gradually destroying your best furniture. Weakening from the inside, unseen. Until you're soft and useless.
A glimmer of hope shone through her mind like the beam of a torch, burning away the blackness of despair.
Screaming and flapping her arms at the tiny yellow insect she ran to the caravan for cover, slamming it's thin door behind her.
His fingers absent mindedly played with the arms of his wire-framed glasses as he watched her work, oblivious to his surveillance.
He'd found he could differentiate between countries based on subtle nuances in air quality, like some strange oxygen connoisseur.
He didn't sleep well after the accident. His left leg twitched endlessly to an unheard rhythm, played out on his shattered nerves.
He wasn't sure when he'd begun taking to himself, it was a habit that crept up on him slowly. Still, it was company... of a sort
"Room for a little one? Shift up!" the old lady cackled as she shoved her way on to the busy bus, tartan shopping basket in tow.
Tea at the cafe was his favorite. "Egg and chips twice Love" Dad used to say, then they'd laugh and talk happily between mouthfuls
Anger rose in him as if it were a fluid filling his body from the gut upwards. As it stained his vision crimson, he lost control.
The tantalising smell of last night's lasagne, warming in the canteen microwave, filled his nose. He gazed forlornly at his salad.
The implant housed tiny thermal charges. Once armed, you placed a palm on your targets back and BOOM, game over. His hand itched.
He was sweet, handsome too, she'd give him that. But he was her pupil and all the apples in the world wouldn't change the rules.
Bark under his fingernails, school trousers stained green by lichen and shoes scuffed. None held concern for the king of the tree.
As his tyres kissed the apex he opened the throttle wide, skillfully caught the slight oversteer, and powered on to the next bend.
"Ms Gale?" boomed the judge as he continued his poll. "Innocent, Your Honour" she replied, enduring the groans and daggered looks.
Air with a familiar, lightly salted, taste filled his lungs. Ah, Brighton. He wondered if they still did that peppermint rock.
"None of this is real you know" he said, waving a dismissive hand toward the TV. "There's been no actual news since 2024 happened"
Deaf to any denial of wrong-doing and all agonized screams, they'd begun by taking his nails. He was innocent, but he confessed.
More chemtrails this morning, two running east to west almost at parallels. He made a note of the date and reached for his gasmask.
Spine weakened, yellow pages dog-eared at intervals, edges bumped and chipped. Marks made by old lovers, but now the book is mine.
"Ham, what's yours?" she asked, examining the contents of the sandwich in her hand. "Urrgh, egg n cress!" came the reply "Trade?"
Partial memories of last night swam in his mind. "I didn't... I'd remember!" The vacant eyes of the body watched him in silence.
He squeezed himself into what was, surely, the world's most densely packed train carriage and began daydreaming about homicide.
They kept him sedated. 'For your own good', they said. His world was one twisted by medication, vaguely defined, never quite real.
When you grow up, this will make sense. You still won't like it, it'll always be difficult, but in the future you'll understand.
Wind thrashed at their tiny shelter threatening to tear it, and them, apart. Ali wrapped her in his arms, it was all he could do.
"Just?" he spat, as the surly sheriff dragged him out of the courtroom and back to his jail cell, "Righteous? Y'all are COWARDS!"
'VIOLATION: LAW 1' flashed across it's optical display in angry red letters. 'OVERRIDE ENGAGED'. Laws were made to be broken.
Laying on his stomach in the tall grass heart pounding, he hardly dared breathe. Then, the sound he dreaded "Coming ready or not!"
Enough. They'd finally gone too far, finally pushed him past breaking point. Well, now they'd see what broken men were capable of.
Getting him on the inside will be easy, gaining their trust is only a matter of time. They'll have no idea, and we'll know it all.
Smoke hung heavily in the air, almost as heavy as the tension the man at the table felt. The dealer looked at him, and grinned.
"The book... I must be sure, get me the book!" Breathlessly he traced a finger around the hieroglyphs, was this the missing clue?
The 360 million mile hop to earth took almost 30 minutes. Eternity, compared to how long the creature needed to clone its army.
Sam tapped the drivers window of the car, it's lights on, engine ticking gently. "You can't park here bud.. oh, GOD!" Another one.
He huddled up to the dying fire, knowing it was all that stood between him and whatever those things were playing in the shadows.
Page 97. Dog eared. A fold made by the book's last owner, reminding them where to start next time. I wonder if they ever finished.
She reached out for him in the dark, but her hand found only bony remnants of his body, stripped of flesh by something unseen.
The professor was fairly sure his calculations were right but, just in case, he only set the chrono-selector forwards by an hour.
Two stout sticks bound together into a cross mark his final resting place. A simple grave, for a great man of simple means.
Panicking. Disoriented. She twisted violently in the frigid water, desperately looking for a way up to the surface, to air.
Once he'd found it hard to overcome his revulsion, his disgust at what they paid him to do. But now. Now he had a taste for it.
As he gazed idly at the sky and wondered how clouds stayed up, he became vaguely aware of someone distant yelling "CATCH!" at him.
The monstrous engine of the Gobron-Brillie roared as it thundered along the Ostend beach, Rigolly at the wheel. 98mph, 99mph...
6 years in America and she still couldn't get used to the differences. Back home you sent letters, here... well. It was different.
He poured a glass of whisky, sank it, then sent a twin to keep it company. He didn't look for comfort in each glass, only silence.
Were the 80s really so long ago? He wondered as He settled into the velour driver's seat and fiddled idly with the radio-cassette.
He carefully rubbed the case's ornate clasp, clearing away dirt from the shallow grave in which he found it. It felt oddly warm.
Sarah didn't believe that occult nonsense, but as she swilled her tea dregs she found herself wondering what the leaves might say.
The noise came again. A slow scrape echoing around the room, punctuated by sharp metallic clinks. She hid quietly under the duvet.
Late again. She once frustratedly claimed he'd be late to his own funeral. Being proven right felt like the hollowest of victories.
Fixated on the flickering monitor, still convinced she imagined it, she rewound the tape for a third time and hit the play button.
Leaves dripped gently. Last night's storm had left the air moist, which meant swarms of mosquitos again. Where was the repellent?
His master's whistle flicked a switch in his primitive brain. His animal senses were suddenly alive and tingling, the hunt was on.
She shouted til her lungs burned and her ears rang with the sound of her own voice. No one heard. No one was left to hear.
The sea, like a vast window looking down on oblivion. At it's center the speck of a raft, whose occupant prayed for a gust of wind
He turned the dial steadily, ear pressed up against cold steel listening for the tell-tale 'click' of a tumbler falling into place
He hung up. As the phone dimmed, he saw his face reflected in the screen. Tired eyes bagged, hair unkempt. Older. But still here.
"Jones? JONES!" Smith bellowed into the oppressive, black, nothingness of the cave. No reply. He had no alternative but to follow.
"Chaffinch!" he whooped triumphantly. "Blackbird" she corrected, rolling her eyes.
Today needed to be washed away in a tide of alcohol. He checked his pockets, but only found small change. Maybe just a half then.
Old age steals the world, reducing it to an ever-moving picture, framed by rotting timber and flaking paint, behind dusty glass
"Sorry, would you mind?" Vic waved his camera at a man who grinned broadly and accepted it, pointing it roughly in their direction
Hudson focused the microscope. "This isn't organic" He turned to face Meyer, his thin face ashen "Someone... something MADE this"
As he adjusted the straps of his new summer dress he wondered if the allotment association really knew what the word 'veto' ment.
The pain of the bullies taunts felt solid, like a kick in the stomach - and these guys wore big boots. He hung his head lower.
Left? He'd turned left? Why was he was taking her the wrong way? Did he know a shorter route? No. He should have turned right.
Though it had been a long time he looked the same. Age had brushed his temples with grey but, those eyes... She ran into his arms.
It would be difficult, they could lose everything over this, but they would not run. He gripped her hand tighter. It was worth it.
A seaside postcard, faded and brown at the edges. The forgotten adventure of his youth captured in a 50p souvenir, kept in a draw.
The small stone ground angrily against the wall, sending gritty fragments tumbling to the floor. Another line marking another day.
The gentle rocking of the carriage had soothed her to sleep some time ago. For now, she drempt. Unaware that she was finally free.
Mich, carefully avoiding yesterdays discarded teabags, reached into the bin and pulled out the receipt. "Total: £1045". He gulped.
Hundreds of faces looked back at him expectantly, microphones held aloft poised to record every word. "No pressure" he thought.
"Sir, you need to sit down!" Any panic in the stewardess voice was perfectly under control, she *had* to make him listen to reason
Huge springs flexed, oiled cog ground heavily against oiled cog. It moved. So slowly it was barely observable, but gathering pace.
Mail call came and went without utterance of his name. He slumped back into his bunk, dejected. "Happy birthday to me" he sighed.
"FAULT!" yelled the linesman, deftly sidestepping a streak of neon yellow which, milliseconds earlier, had clipped the chalk line.
"It's really not your day is it, son" growled the towering security guard as he gripped Dan's ID papers between his oversize fists
She shuffled her feet, trying to find space amongst the commuters in the stuffy carriage, promising herself 'Just 5 more minutes'