From Embark! (YA Fiction)

       Alena laid down in the grass, the night had completely set in. She threw down her pack with a swift toss beside her. It collapsed in a heap, but a silver ball escaped from the top of the bag. Alena attempted to grasp at it, but it rolled quickly out of her clutches.  The ball moved effortlessly through the grass for a few feet and then began to take a new shape. Its contents folded over on itself at fluctuating hinges and edges, a steely frame emerging from the sphere. Alena huffed with agitation, “I don’t have time for you tonight…” Stubby legs and arms protruded out from the frame, with deep lines that outlined the metal appendages. It now took a near aggressive stance standing in the grass without any support. The legs were small rectangular wedges that carried the newly emerging body with surprising balance. A head began to rise among the turning and churning of pivots, first through the stomach and then the shoulder joints.  The small rectangular prism locked into position and a voice chirped with enthusiasm, “I am Tiny Man!”

        The robot pumped one of his bionic arms, followed by a short jump and kick that brought Tiny Man’s legs suspended above the tips of the grass for a nanosecond. It was the same dramatic routine with each reboot—not Alena’s idea. With a fluid landing and apparent gusto for fleeing the containment of Alena’s bag, Tiny Man checked his surroundings with a swivel of the head. “Where have you brought me tonight Miss Thomas? The temperature is pleasing.” He strode in circles as if analyzing the field’s conditions, his circuitry pulsating with hues of blue and red.

        “We’re at Lookout Point Tiny Man, and…” Alena selected her words carefully. His emotional software took every word to his metaphorical heart. “…you managed to get yourself free.”

        “That I did Miss Thomas! In a turn of luck your rucksack toppled with enough force to propel me from my cloth container. A small probability I will add, given the care that you take to protect me.” He pounded his tiny claw-like hands together with a clank!, and bowed. “I am very grateful for your constant care.”

        Alena’s smile passed through Tiny Man’s visual scanners, which made his circuit boards glow a dark purple. Alena gave Tiny Man the ‘I need to protect you’ speech whenever he asked why he didn’t get more time to spend in the ‘free world’ as he called it. It was Alena’s way of saying ‘you’re in the bag because you’re a meddling repair bot who has a horrible track record of getting me into trouble’ without harming his sensitive, imaginary soul. “It’s really not a problem. I’m glad that you’re getting a chance to stretch your legs.”

        “Miss Thomas, I really don’t stretch. I bend.” He made his knee joints open and close to demonstrate.

        “It’s an expression that we use to signify someone having the chance to escape from a setting or environment that is possibly tedious or stressful. Function, Add to memory,” Alena said.

        A blue light flashed behind his head and an automatic response was drawn out from Tiny Man’s vocal module. “Adding to memory…complete.” Alena struggled to make any updates or improvements to Tiny Man’s central engineering, but her pride and joy was the lexicon drive that facilitated his language abilities. Daddy’s close friend, Jean Paul, helped her install it to give Alena a personal project that she could take responsibility for. It was right at her level—a good mixture of personal interest and research to build for her portfolio. For a repair bot his size, Tiny Man had incredible functioning on many levels of communication and emotions. He could hypothesize about a cause and effect situation, identify non-verbal cues, and even do a decent job of maneuvering through sarcasm. Alena’s favorite function (or malfunction depending on how you looked at it) of the lexicon drive was Tiny Man’s talent of complimenting people in direct and obvious ways. It made for interesting interactions with the citizens of Cerulean. “Your nostrils are like two tiny caves. Beautiful!” “I’ve never seen such hair that so resembles a bramble bush. How unique!”  Most of the townsfolk and regulars knew of his antics, but to those who hadn’t received a Tiny Man compliment, the reaction was consistently memorable for Alena.

        “Well, I feel like I’ve had a good chance to stretch my legs tonight. Sometimes I need to get out of that old house and feel free. Kind of like you and my bag Tiny Man, right?” Alena watched Tiny Man strut through the blades of grass, who decided to sit down for a moment. He sat cross legged and looked from side to side. There was an air of innocence and wonder that made Tiny Man a charming companion when he wasn’t asking his constant questions. “Should we get back home Tiny Pants? Daddy will be wondering if his supplies came in,” Alena said.

        Tiny Man moved one robotic arm in front of his legs in a sweeping motion, signaling to his lower half. “Although you continue to use variations of that phrase involving my name, it still contains no trace of meaning, and as you can easily see, I have no need of pants. Secondly, your father knows perfectly well that his supplies are in. The magna-trains keep the same schedule every week and every month. Why does he need you to report back to him?” Tiny Man shook his head in near disappointment. “Humans can be a headache. I wish you could input an instruction manual for homo sapiens to my main hardware.”

From Microwave Horror Story (Middle Grade Fiction)


My life is seriously messed up. You think you’ve got problems? Really? Kids bullying you? Parents getting a divorce? Dog died? Didn’t make the middle school basketball team? That’s nothing. Try moving into your new house, only to find a possessed microwave that sucks one of your friends into another dimension. Yeah, like I said, my life is seriously messed up.

That’s only the beginning. The stupid thing can’t make up it’s mind. Sometimes it spews monsters into our world, and me and my friend Spike have to either kill them or figure out how to stuff them back into the microwave. Then it goes scary vacuum  on us, and we try not to get pulled into whatever place it takes its victims. I can’t make up stuff like this man. I’m not that smart.

Before I tell you all about the worst year of my life, I have to start at the beginning, back before Hillsdale. I didn’t always live like this, constantly tortured by a kitchen appliance. There was a time when my parents and I lived a normal life. My sisters tortured me with Barbie dolls and poured their teapots all over my bed. Idiots.

From Neighbors in the Supernova (YA Fiction)


The darkness enveloped him. He quaked and shivered with cold, his teeth clanging together in quiet chatter. It was if every molecule in his body was slowing down, losing the fight to survive. Soon there would be silence. Soon his body would become another fragment of the oblivion.

There was no deliverance.

He was dying. Blood ran from his thick neck, slithering down the remains of a tattered garment, and pooling around his shoulder. If he could see anything, it would be a hazy, nebulous picture void of meaning. He lost consciousness. Back again. His breath was a slow wheeze, the air being compressed and forced from his mouth.

“Please end this,” he whispered into the black. It would be faster than freezing and less painful. He pleaded for death to come and claim its next victim, begging for the long sleep to take him. “Please…”

How much time passed since his pleadings, it was impossible to know. What is time on the cusp of death? It is suspended, nearly balancing between two realities waiting to tip into the next realm. In his current state, barely breathing and bleeding steadily, comprehension could not be realized. A deep sigh. He implored the darkness again, this time using the name of a woman. “Please…Meredith…come and take me please…”

He must have lost liters of blood by now. How could he still think? The synapsis in his brain were firing slower and slower. The end had to be near. The suffering would stop, and he would be free. His spirit would be released into the fabric of cosmic elements, forever tied to the entity he longed to understand while alive.

The supernova. Black holes. The great void. Destructor of solar systems and stars. The bridge. The collapse. His cells would live for eternity. A quantum of his being would become a minuscule participant in the ocean of emptiness. The thought oddly comforted him.

The end was near.


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