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Here’s the start of a new WIP–working title “Discovering Gremlins. Seth had a bad day at work–hit his head and saw a monster, which he dismissed as his imagination. That night, a shadow follows him home, and his microwave catches fire–in the morning, he breaks his phone, his shower sprays water everywhere, and the subway car he’s on lurches and makes an ugly noise.

Previous snippet: “My water’s busted,” Seth said, “it’s spraying everywhere.”

The maintenance guy swore, and hurried down the hallway. Since he had a key, Seth simply trailed after, and disappeared into his room to finish getting ready for the day over the sounds of clanking and vicious muttering.

He hurried out the door and down the street with what should have been eight minutes to spare, and instead had to run and jump through the closing doors, the car inexplicably early, instead of its usual tardiness.

All the seats were full, so he grabbed a strap and consigned himself to the minor discomfort of standing the whole ride. He listened to a podcast, letting it shut out the world, until he could escape the stifling metal box onto the streets. About halfway through the trip, the car lurched, and emitted a grinding metallic screech that cut through the words cushioning him from reality.

Seth blinked, tapping the pause icon on his cracked screen.

Everyone else was looking around, many with earbuds in their hands, so he hadn’t imagined the noise. He waited, and when nothing happened for a good long moment, he restarted the podcast.





Just as Seth was sinking back into the flow of words, the screech and lurch repeated. The lurch shook the car hard enough that Seth toppled onto the lap of the guy sitting behind him. He pushed himself up quickly, muttering apologies, while around him other people regained their footing or grabbed for spilled briefcases.

And then the lights went out, and the car slammed to a halt in a symphony of screeching brakes. The crowd let out a collective, and heartfelt groan.

A few moments later, weak emergency lights flickered to life, emphasizing the shadows without really casting out the darkness.

“Pardon *static* -ruption, folks,” a voice blared from the speakers. “Ser- *static* will resume *static* -teen minutes or less.”

Seth was more than an hour late for work.

*    *    *

Gremlins have camouflage magic, and a way of making people who catch just a glimpse forget them. This is good for humanity, because they’re powerfully ugly, and react violently to being discovered. But when Seth hits his head and lands on the floor right next to a gremlin, he sees it… and it notices that he’s done so. Things are about to go downhill for Seth.

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

24 responses »

  1. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    Those gremlins are not going to make his life easy. I wonder what else they have in store for him. Great snippet!

  2. This gremlin doesn’t give up, does he? I wonder what it’ll take to get him to stop the assault? But in the meantime, I’m enjoying your inventiveness! Great snippet!

  3. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I guess the gremlin did this. It sure is mad at him.

  4. He’s in deep doodoo getting deeper every week. Interesting for the gremlin having fun.

  5. Ed Hoornaert says:

    How can he possibly fight a gremlin he can’t see? Interesting situation.

  6. I would say that at this point he should just play hooky, but I feel like that would go terribly for him too haha 😉

  7. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    How can he stop the gremlins? I have to know. 🙂

  8. My favorite bit from this excerpt: “…emphasizing the shadows without really casting out the darkness.” Made me glad I’m not in that car. 🙂

    Great premise, btw!

  9. Hywela Lyn says:

    I wonder what he did to make that gremlin so mad – I’d hate to be in his shoes!

  10. Alexis Duran says:

    At least the gremlin isn’t trying to kill him. Or maybe it is and is just inefficient? Hope he realizes these aren’t random events soon so he can start finding a cure.

  11. Great snippet, I really like the static over the intercom, it’s a nice touch.

  12. E.D. Martin says:

    I love the premise of this story!

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