Interplanetary Inspiration by Russell Conover

“Man–I need some inspiration for this week’s story.”

Suddenly a round disc about two feet wide flew in John’s window. A door opened, and two strange creatures grabbed him, tied him up, and dragged him inside. The disc flew off and up into space, zooming among the stars.

It finally landed on a red planet. “Mars!” John thought. “Amazing!” He absorbed the sights and sounds.

Suddenly he woke up from his snooze. “How’s your writing going, honey?” his wife asked.

“You know, I think I’ve been inspired. By the recent news. Yeah–that’s it.” He turned to his computer.

The Medium by Ann-Louise Truschel

“I can feel his presence, Lon. Your father is in this room.”

“Is he saying anything? Is he talking about the attack?”

“Yes, I can sense his distress. I can feel his pain – acute pain. He is screaming: ‘No! No! Why are you doing this? What have I done? Please stop hitting me!’”

“What else is he saying?”

“He’s saying, ‘Stop, Lon. Please stop! Don’t hit me again.’”

“And if I were to pay you $2 million from my inheritance if I don’t have to share with my sister, Elaine?”

“Then I’d hear your father say: ‘Stop, Elaine. Please stop!’”

Hip and Hypochondriac by Emma Baird

Wincing, Caroline swallowed back a handful of pills with only a small sip of water. She felt them stick in her throat. Urgh…

Chromium for blood sugar stabilisation, milk thistle for liver detoxification, pantothenic acid for adrenal fatigue, raspberry ketones for weight loss, biotin for grey hair prevention, l-glutamine for cravings control and horny goat weed for, er… well, take an intelligent guess.

[Health guru number nine’s advice had included the last supplement.]

She jumped up and down. She jangled.

“And what have I ended up with,” she wondered to herself, “except for the world’s most expensive pee?”

Happy Anniversary, Darling, by Gordon Lawrie

For their anniversary, they’d bought each other printed tee-shirts. She’d bought him a black shirt with a Harley-Davidson motorbike on the front; he’d bought her a specially-made white thing bearing his own face, gazing upwards Ché Guevara-style.

“Oh, how lovely,” they said in unison, although she’d opened her present first.

“I thought you might wear me out,” he grinned. “Get the joke?”

She reflected on the passing of another year. Five years of marriage, five anniversary presents: a mop, a toilet-seat, a year’s car insurance, and last year’s humdinger, a budgerigar. All things considered, she’d got off lightly this time.

The Snow Monster by Russell Conover

“Holy Toledo–look at the snowstorm from last night!”

“Wow! Looks like it’s covered the ground, the cars, and … wait. What’s that?”

To their astonishment, an odd figure was rising off of the car. The figure did NOT look human, either, with six arms, a circle of legs, and teeth about six inches long.

“I am the monster of the blizzard, here to haunt you for the rest of your lives. Ooh, ooh! Scary, huh?”

“You want scary? Try driving the interstate, with its lunatic drivers, through THIS wintry mess during rush hour. That’ll toughen you up, ready or not!”

The Leaving by Ann-Louise Truschel

“It’s time for me to leave now.”

“No, Mom. Not yet. Let’s talk some more.”

“I can’t, Ron. You knew this day would come. Let me go. It’s time.”

“It’s just that knowing I’ll never see you again … I’m not ready.”

“But I am, Ron. We talked about this. I told you that when it was my time to go, I would leave this earth willingly. I’m not going to change my mind now.”

“I’m going to miss you so much.”

“I know, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to be one of the first settlers on Mars.”

The Hit List by Emma Baird

Martin had his hit list – a list of the things he’d destroy should he be elected world leader.

It changed from week to week. This week, for example, it included HSBC bank for its tax evasion advice, the Daily Telegraph for its editorial policies and Jack White for his fussiness about guacamole.

The list was an exquisite mix of the moral high ground and his own pet hates, which tended to include celebrity wrong-doings.

Next week, a megastar was about to be caught with a tax-dodging HSBC account while giving an interview to the Telegraph on his charidee work.

Perfect!

The Red Planet by Gordon Lawrie

And another… inspired by something in this week’s news.

The Red Planet by Gordon Lawrie

They’d travelled eight months through space. It felt odd finally being on Mars, but they weren’t disappointed.

“Everything’s so incredibly RED,” Dave said.

“Just like the brochures,” Ginny said. “Sun, sand, and…”

The other three completed her sentence. “Sex.” Their colonising mission was to procreate: they weren’t returning to Earth.

Every convenience had been prepared for them – even Skype to let them communicate with home. Mandy typed in her Mum’s number on the touchscreen and waited. And waited.

“We apologize that we are not able to post your comment right now due to a system upgrade. Please try again later.”

Friends by Gordon Lawrie

“Waaaahhhhh!”

She raced through – was he injured?

“Darling?”

“It’s not fair,” he yelled. “Eric won’t be my friend any more. Nor Emma, Russell, Jan, Jane, or that new girl Tammy.” He stamped his foot.

“What did you do to them?” she asked.

Silence.

She repeated, “What did YOU do?”

He tried to look away. “I called Eric a ✷✷✷✷✷✷✷✷✷✷†.” She waited. “I called them all that, actually.”

“That wasn’t nice, was it? I wouldn’t want to be your friend either.”

“Harrrummph.”

“Go and sit on the naughty step. And I’m taking your iPad away. You spend far too long on Facebook.”

(†Password protected. This is a family show.)

Libby by T. Mezera

“How many?” Libby asked.

“Approximately ten thousand,” the doctor replied, steadying his gaze on Libby’s reaction as she slumped back into her seat.

“Ten thousand dead?” Libby repeated without really questioning his answer, rather at the absurdity of such a reality.

“What am I going to do doctor…how do I even cope with this?” Libby asked.

Doc leaned forward and rested his arms on the desk. “I know all of this is shocking, Libby, but brain cells can reproduce themselves. If it were me, I would begin weaning from ‘The Real Housewives.’

Libby gasped.