This 8-10 sentence blog hop is hosted by The Weekend Writing Warriors. (Click the link for the list of participants, or rules if you want to join!)

Here’s a new WIP–“Discovering Gremlins.” Seth had a bad day at work–hit his head and saw a monster, which he dismissed as his imagination, despite a shadow following him home. The next day, he breaks his phone screen, his shower sprays water everywhere, the subway car he’s on is delayed more than an hour–after lunch Harry (she of I.T. fame) pushes him into her office and tells him she can fix his gremlin problem.

Previous snippet: “Oh,” Harry  brushed back her bleached-blonde hair, “I forgot you didn’t grow up on these stories. Gremlins hate to be seen, and they’ll mess with the tech around anyone who does, until something really bad happens. Or you apologize, by giving them a shiny new toy.”

Seth read the page, “A sound system?  But I didn’t do anything wrong!”

“You can’t expect gremlins to think like us, Seth.”

“This is crazy…”

“Everything that’s broken since you saw the monster that you didn’t see–imagine tomorrow is like that, and the day after, and the day after.”

“Sound system it is,” Seth muttered, folding the note and stuffing it in his pocket.

Harry called after him, “Better take the stairs!”

 

 

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At least his red, sweaty face helped sell that he felt ill from lunch, and soon he was on his way to buying that expensive apology.

He watched the digits climb on the register’s readout grimly, thinking that if Harry was messing with him, he’d slip laxatives into her lunch randomly for months.

At least schlepping the boxes back wasn’t as difficult as he feared. Like plenty of expensive purchases, they weren’t very large, fitting easily into a single bag. He folded his arms around the bag on the subway, watching every flicker of shadow out of the corner of his eyes, and flinching at every groan and lurch of the subway car.

He texted Harry, “almost home.”

She sent back a thumbs up.

“This better work,” he muttered, stuffing his phone back into his pocket. When he stepped off on his stop, his nerves had frayed from every creak and smudge.

Perching on a retaining wall outside his apartment, he waited impatiently for Harry to appear.

*    *    *

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.

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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.

25 responses »

  1. Ed Hoornaert says:

    I wonder if the gremlin is holding off because it knows the package is for it?

  2. The story thickens. What happens next? This story is a hoot, fascinating and scary at the same time.

  3. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    Hmm, I’m wondering the same as Ed. The gremlins didn’t do anything to him on his way to and from purchasing the electronics. Do they know what he’s doing? I like how he’s super aware of every weird sound or movement of the subway car, even though it likely would not normally bother him.

    • If they’re smart enough to plot elaborate revenge, I figure they’re smart enough to know when someone might be giving them something. 🙂
      Yeah, it’s a creepy world for poor Seth!

  4. nancygideon says:

    I’m wondering about Harry… Is she about to inherit a reeeeally nice sound system?

  5. Alexis Duran says:

    Great tension in this snippet. After all that’s happened to him, no wonder he’s hyper-alert. Hope the bribe works.

  6. I certainly hope the gremlin takes the ‘gift’ and leaves him alone now! Great snippet…

  7. I hope the gift does the trick, though I have a feeling there’s more trouble ahead.

  8. Hywela Lyn says:

    Like others I’m wondering why the gremlin seems to be lyng low. Hope his ‘apology gift’ does the trick but I have a feeling that still won’t be the end of his troubles.

  9. Carrie-Anne says:

    I also suspect the gremlin may be waiting till the coast seems clear to start striking again. It’d be too predictable if the gremlin wreaked nonstop mischief.

  10. SueBarr says:

    Hmmm… I’m wondering if I could use this gremlin angle to get that MacAir I’ve always wanted….

    • Maybe, if gremlins take commissions. You’d have to pay them to torture someone, then convince that person to bribe the gremlins, then convince the gremlins to give you the bribe.
      Sounds dangerous!

  11. Diane Burton says:

    I guess a shiny kids’ toy wouldn’t appease the gremlin, huh? This story is fascinating.

  12. Karen Michelle Nutt says:

    Harry is definitely seeing the world in a different way now.

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