The ink keeps smearing.
Johann, dinner! Kommst du hier! His wife’s voice, sweet notes on spring breeze.
The ink hides in the whorls of his fingertips.
Just one more try. A finer sheet, smooth but dense.
He leans into the crank. There’s an art to the turn of the handle.
Juliet Hubbell teaches English Literature and Humanities at Arapahoe Community College. Her short story “The Owl” won the 2015 Montana State Fiction Award. Rick Bass called the story “mysterious and powerful.” Her work has appeared before in Hektoen International: Journal of Medical Humanities, Workers Write, JAMA: Journal of American Medical Association, ACM: Another Chicago Magazine, Progenitor, and Midwest Quarterly. Her rendition of a medieval Black Forest fairy tale, “Saarbrucken Witch”, won the 2013 British Fantasy Society’s Short Story Contest. She is an active member of both the Lighthouse Writers and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and attends writing and publishing conferences annually, including the Association of Writing Professionals conference.
It was my lifetime’s work, but tonight I finally understood the folly of it all.
My invention didn’t work.
Jumping into the river, I realized my error. As I went down for the third and final time, my whole life flashed before my eyes. I had found my time machine.
Steve Coverdale is an Englishman living in Nova Scotia. He is currently writing his first novel about a football player who lives forever.
In all of the world there had never been another one like it.
It was magnificent.
It would cure world hunger.
It would bring peace.
It would make humankind safe forever.
A pity that it was in the jacket pocket with the hole as he passed by the open sewer.
Christian doesn’t normally write, but he has some artwork at http://chrigeloz.deviantart.com.
A glowing box with a door poofed into the middle of the world’s first patent office with an electric flash. A haggard man burst out of it.
“Sir, quickly! I’ve come from the past to claim a patent!”
“Certainly,” said the patent officer. “On what?”
“I call it Chewing Gum!”
“Wow, that thing’s huge!”
“It’s my latest invention!”
“I’m really proud of it. It can burn almost anything as a fuel source. Gas, wood, flour, cigarette butts, human flesh…”
“How about this mud?”
“It’ll run on mud, yep.”
“That’s so awesome. What does it do?”
“…It burns things.”
Editor’s Note: This story is based on a call on Twitter for a noun, an adjective, and a verb. @mochrie_rocks responded with mud, huge, and run.