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–and sends him to buy an expensive sound system, then go home.

Previous snippet: He checked his phone for a text, a call, an email–anything to tell him that Harry was on her way.

Nothing.

After a half hour, his rear numb, he pushed himself up, gathered the bag he’d tucked under his legs for safe keeping, and climbed the steps to his building. He’d be careful not to touch anything complex, and avoid all the electronics he could. Maybe he could make this apology on his own.

He couldn’t wait out here for hours–if Harry was really concerned about the danger, she’d have texted him back by now.

“How dangerous can they really be?” he muttered as he trudged warily to his room.

Seth set out each box with the sound system components Harry had listed, arranging them so the pictures and logos faced up, creating the prettiest circle he could.

“I’m really sorry,” he said to the empty room, keeping his eyes fixed on the boxes, “I didn’t mean to—I didn’t mean to upset you…”

Not a bad start, except for the stumble where he’d almost said something about their stupid rules.

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“I brought you a gift, to apologize for my mistake,” he tapped the boxes, “so I’ll just leave it here for you, and—”

Something fizzed and crackled, and then, with a shower of sparks, the overhead lights in the living room and kitchen burst, a melody of glass sprinkling the linoleum. A few of the sparks settled on a stack of magazines on the living room table, and flames flickered to life.

Seth swore, smacking at the magazines with a towel on the nearby counter, sending sparks everywhere, scorching the table-top and his hand. He yelped, and lunged for the sink.

He wrenched both taps open, and the faucet emitted a rattling groan, but no water.

What could he use? He hauled open the fridge, yanked out a jug of juice, and poured it over the magazines. That got the fire out, finally, but left a sticky mess of orange juice swimming with ash and pieces of scorched paper.

Behind him, he heard a raspy chittering.

*    *    *

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.

20 responses »

  1. He’s in deep trouble and even though I’m miles away in real life, you’ve captured a story to give this writer the shivers. Hurray for you with your remarkable way of story-telling.

  2. Author Jessica E. Subject says:

    I don’t think they’re happy with him. Love the snippet!

  3. Oh dear, so far not so good! I wonder what he said that annoyed the gremlins? Should have waited for Harry…another excellent snippet!

  4. Ed Hoornaert says:

    If this is how gremlins say thank you, this dude is in trouble!

  5. Hywela Lyn says:

    Well, not quite the result he’d hoped for! This would make a great film,, I could visualise the mess he’d made with the orange juice, trying to put out the fire!

  6. Carrie-Anne says:

    I knew the gremlin would be coming back soon!

  7. nancygideon says:

    Seems they weren’t impressed by his “sincerity”.

  8. Oh dear- maybe they can read his thoughts?

    • That would be scary! But, no, they’re not telepaths. It’a more like… if every gift you’d ever gotten was neatly wrapped and presented in a certain way… and then one day someone just threw an unwrapped present on the ground in front of you.

  9. SueBarr says:

    Uh oh… apology NOT accepted.
    BTW – there’s a formatting glitch just prior to your snippet. At least on MY computer there is. Thought you should know.

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