Short Stories

Eric’s short fiction has appeared in a number of markets and anthologies, and he publishes a new free short story every month on his blog, 1500wordstories.com.

Listed below are Eric’s published short fiction works.

The Swiss Cheese Model (Science Fiction)

(All proceeds from sales go to a scholarship (run by the Society of Women Engineers) to get more girls into STEM fields. Buy it here!

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Jun’s hoverskiff wouldn’t start, which was bad, because one of her planet’s legendary storms was about to kill her. As thunderheads towered in the distance, Jun hunkered down in the pilot’s seat, gripped the handlebars tight, and twisted both grips forward. Nothing!

All four engine fans bolted to the frame beneath her seat—two vertical turbines in front and in back, wrapped in shiny red plastic shells—remained silent, which didn’t make sense. Jun had checked both blades and turbines this morning, and the batteries tucked beneath her seat had been fully charged.

Jun dug both hands into her dark curls, took deep breaths, and focused on what she did know, rather than what she did not. She knew this wasn’t an engineering issue. She knew this wasn’t a power issue. So if engineering or power weren’t the problems, what else was there? What else on a skiff could break?

 

Back Taxes (Science Fiction)

Read it for free here!

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When I opened my eyes on the operating table, I knew I’d been away a real long while, and not just knocked out, not unconscious or comatose. I felt like I’d fallen down a well so deep you couldn’t see the bottom, landed in soft sludge. Stayed there so long that dark and time were just concepts randomly combined.

Two nurses stood over me, but there was no kindness in their eyes. They looked bored. One injected me with something that made my ears buzz and my muscles twitch, and I realized I wasn’t dead anymore.

I needed answers like I needed air, but no one offered. Instead two big men walked me away. I guess there were other dead people in the queue. They locked me in a room and told me to get dressed.

 

Demoneater (Dark Fantasy)

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Lared was twelve when he ate his first demon, but that did not make him a hero. Men in stories were heroes, men who saved villages and fought dragons. He was just a frightened boy who jammed a chair leg through an old woman’s head.

Her name was Tatyana. Hidden inside a grandmother’s skin, she had lured street orphans into her home with words and sweets before devouring them. She had not counted on luring a child trained as a Demoneater. Lared had ended her life and she loved him for it.

Only a demoness could love the one who killed her.

 

Rum’s Daughter (Dark Fantasy)

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It was a cold, clear night when Rum watched his child die. Snow hung heavy on the ancient pines of Toroia Wood. Even the howl of the winter wind could not consume Bricka’s anguished cries, the pox eating her fragile yellow skin.

Over and over Rum sent his warmth into her. Each time, a little more of his anima slipped away. Her pox tore at his throat and ripped at his gut, but he would bear all the pain in the world to save his daughter. He would die if she would live.

When at last she slipped away, Rum drew solace from the silence. Her pain had ended. Her brittle skin hung on her bones like so much sackcloth. He spent some time digging in the hard, frozen dirt—the nails on his clawed yellow hands dirty and broken when he finished. When he had made her place suitable, he returned Bricka to the earth. He buried her beside her mother and joined their graves with leaves of silver fern.

Rum curled his yellow body into a ball and closed his muddy eyes. Let the winter freeze him, and the pox strip his bones. He would die here gladly, with his family, under the heavy boughs of Toroia Wood. The harsh men and bitter winter had taken all he loved. Let them take him, too.

 

Grieftaker (Fantasy)

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For most people, the grief of losing a family member followed them all their lives.  For Aise Allara, Grieftaker in training, that loss had been two-fold — her little brother, Rory, and the grandfather who had killed him. Every Grieftaker started by losing someone close to them. It was that grief, that wound in their souls, that let them access the ancient magic in tears.

Tarol, her grandfather, had not truly killed little Rory. No one thought that but Tarol himself. Even so, when Rory tripped and impaled himself on his new iron training sword — a present from his doting grandfather — Tarol Allara’s world had ended. His guilt had consumed him, driving him mad, and he had thrown himself off the cliffs outside Lerhaught.

That tragedy had brought Aise to the great glittering Tower of Tears, the place she had lived since age twelve. Her grandfather’s pointless death had convinced her that irrational, dangerous grief must be drawn out and eased by those with the emotional strength to withstand it: the Grieftakers. Women like her. They were honored, revered, and loved by all.

 

Granite and Sand (Fantasy)

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Clay was a golem, granite and sand, and he hated himself — but mostly, he hated the killing. His latest opponent was a dark-skinned swordmaster in dented iron armor. A blue lion was painted on his breastplate. King Myre’s crest.

Clay had seen many crests like this one in the past days. He had killed them all. The swordmaster’s helm was half-smashed, wrapped around the side of his chin. Blood filled one brown eye.

It was the man’s broadsword that truly fascinated him. It glowed with wicked fire, pushing back the shadow. Enchanted.

Clay prayed the blade could finally kill him.

 

Willow Grove (Urban Fantasy)

Read it for free at Fiction Vortex!

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My name is Jack, and I have a little sister. Her name is Dana. She was eleven when the faeries took her away.

It was Dana’s birthday. We had chocolate ice cream cake, rich and wet and squishy. It made what had happened to Ted in Willow Grove that morning seem like a bad dream.

I knew Dana would go looking for Ted, but I didn’t want to go to Willow Grove ever again, not after what they did to Ted. I told myself Dana wouldn’t either, and that’s why I wasn’t there to stop her when she did. I was scared.

Days passed. The police came and went. They showed Dana’s face on the news. I watched my parents panic and cry, but I didn’t try to tell them what had happened. I knew they wouldn’t believe me. They never had.

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