The Things We Love May Fight For Us

Rated PG-13 for some strong language and tense situations, with some disturbing imagery and sexually suggestive themes.

6,400 words.


 The Things We Love May Fight For Us

by Rick Cook Jr.

Tracy woke in darkness, buried under the crushing weight of corpses. She tried to cry out, to struggle, but couldn’t move, couldn’t use her power to save herself. Where was Shane? What had awakened them?

She shifted and tried once more to break free of the bodies of her companions, managed to thrust a fist up into nothing. A hand grabbed her by the wrist and yanked, so that she came tumbling up out of the bodies into harsh red light.

They weren’t corpses. They were her friends and enemies, piled and forgotten into a box last year when Olivia had grown too old for them. A box of forgotten toys. Continue reading

Reaper’s Pincushion

Time for another writing prompt! This one’s from Chuck Wendig again, Let Fate Choose Your Title.


Reaper’s Pincushion

by Rick Cook Jr.

I hate it when it’s the pediatric wing. But the job’s the job and I’m not ready to give it up yet. Continue reading

The Deciding Factor

Been a good long while, but I’m back with a writing prompt from Reddit:

You have died. While waiting to be judged, you are offered the chance to clear one entry from your file before the decision is made.

There were no other parameters so I took a couple small liberties, as I am known to do. Hope you enjoy!


The Deciding Factor

by Rick Cook Jr.

I was staring at a physical manifestation of all the deeds of my life. It was curious, in that it seemed much smaller than I expected, maybe the size of a petty criminal’s rap sheet. As I flipped through the pages and came to what should have been the end of this small file of paper, the pages just kept being there to turn. And the stack of read pages never grew larger as I flipped pages onto it. Curious.

“Clear an entry? What’s that mean?” I asked. Continue reading

Carbon Empathy

Today’s Flash Fiction comes to you thanks to two people: Chuck Wendig for the prompt, and JC Hemphill for the opening line.

The challenge was to choose an opening line from the submissions on the previous week’s prompt challenge (there were quite a number to choose from), and write a flash fiction piece of 1,000 words or so using that line as our opening line. So everything but the first line in today’s story is original by me. I’d really like to thank JC Hemphill for the excellent sentence and I hope a dozen people write flash fiction using it. There were a lot of good ones to choose from, but this one caught my fancy more than the others. So let’s get this party started, eh?

Carbon Empathy

by Rick Cook Jr.

“I met a man made of smoke today.”

I almost slammed on the brakes when my five-year-old son said that. As it was I practically drove off into a ditch less than two blocks from the school after his first day. The front tire bumped the curb, I over-corrected into oncoming traffic and my heart skipped a beat as we dodged a plumber’s van and righted us in our proper place.

“A man made of smoke?” I asked. We had run from one of them before, and I thought we’d given them the final slip.

“Yeah, he was walking around at recess talking to everybody, asking questions.”

I grabbed my cell phone and dialed home. “What kinds of questions, sport?” Continue reading

An Artist’s Legacy [430 words]

This is in response to a writing prompt over at Reddit, in /r/writingprompts. As of this posting it was the highest rated story for that particular prompt. The prompt was simply “In this world, you can instantaneously teach somebody a new skill and trade or give them a precious memory of yours, but once you give it away, you lose it yourself.”

An Artist’s Legacy

by Rick Cook Jr

I’m old and my time is coming to an end. The Department of Traded Skills has advertisements everywhere, targeted at people like me.

Sell your experience on the DoTS market! Apprentice and Journeyman rates comparable to your experience! Master rates pending evaluation!

Don’t want to wait for those drum lessons? Shred like Neil Peart in a fraction of the time! In the fine print it reads: Results not guaranteed to make you a rock star.

Somewhere out there Mozart still composes. Continue reading

Whispering Luck [2,500 words]

This short story is posted in Supernatural.


Time for another piece of fiction prompted by Chuck Wendig’s weekly Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s is titled “The Who, The Where, and the Uh-Oh”.

Whispering Luck

by Rick Cook Jr

The day they killed me was the day Lucky Joe’s stopped being so lucky.

I could tell you the story of how I died, but let’s just say I was doing something stupid and dangerous against just pure dangerous and I lost.

But I’m still here. Locked to Lucky Joe’s, or so it would seem. If you remember Beetlejuice, you have some idea of what happens when I try to leave. Only instead of badly-animated graboids it’s a keening, wailing, sucking darkness.

Sometimes, like now, I stand at the doors to the outside world, staring at the blank abyss, and I want to step in. My brother must be beyond that. Maybe my first girlfriend who I’d later found out died in a bombing in Iraq. My grandparents, my ancestors.

Or maybe it is just the nothing it looks like. Continue reading