JM Williams

A home for all things fantasy and sci-fi.

Throwback – “Clumsy Luck”

Jan
20

“Clumsy Luck” was one of the first stories I ever posted on my blog. Back then, I had yet to figure out what my blog was supposed to be, or what blogging was supposed to be. I had imagined it would be a space to market and develop the book I was working on at the time, my first. But the blog, and my writing adventures, quickly expanded beyond that.

This story was accepted for publication on The Story Shack, but I recently received notice that the site will be shutting down for some time, if not permanently. Along with the bad news, the editor said if he resumes work on the flash fiction site, he will publish those works already accepted. I have no urge to submit this story anywhere else, so if it gets published some day on The Story Shack, then that’s where it will end up.

I also wrote this story before I really understood flash fiction. That was something new to me when I started the blog, but proved to be a good fit for blogging. The combination of wanting to develop my book and to develop my flash skills, led to The Adventures of Iric, a 20-episode flash series. What’s striking about the story below is how well it works as flash fiction, despite having been written by a flash amateur.

I hope you enjoy it.

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CLUMSY LUCK

by JM Williams

CLANG!

Bjorn shuddered as the pan bounced off the floor. He rushed down to pick it up, forgetting about the long broom in his other hand, which pushed an opened carton of milk off the counter.

Bjorn stood in the white puddle, pouting. He berated himself for always making things more difficult. Now he had to wipe the floor, wash the pan, clean up the counter…cleaning the kitchen was taking him all day. He just wanted the house to be clean and neat by the time his mother came home from work. He wanted to give her a special birthday.

Bjorn hadn’t been able to buy her a present, having wasted his allowance on toys and candy. He had tried to make something, several somethings, but they all came out wrong. He had already ripped up a half dozen ugly pictures, and smashed a disfigured sculpture. The last thing he could do for her was to clean the house. But he knew she was the kind of person that would take such an act to heart.

After cleaning the kitchen, Bjorn’s next task was to water the garden and clean the bird feeders. He found the watering can in the backyard, along the back of the house and under the wide, wooden deck. The plastic can was large and orange, with a sunflower design on its tip. After filling it, Bjorn had to heft it with two hands, carrying it to the edge of the garden.

As he stumbled through the yard, he felt the ground squishing oddly under his feet. The water in the can swished, the weight of it throwing Bjorn’s small body from side to side. Suddenly, something caught his toes and Bjorn tumbled forward. He fell right on top of the plastic waterer. It shattered under his weight, splashing him with the  cold liquid. Bjorn’s head hit the ground and buried itself in a deep hole. Bjorn didn’t bother to get up; he just laid there and cried.

“What’s your problem?” came a gruff voice from deep down in the hole.

“Huh?” Bjorn mumbled.

“I said, what’s wrong with you kid?” Bjorn could start to make out a small figure silhouetted in the middle of a long tunnel.

“Everything is so wrong today. Everything is bad,” Bjorn cried.

“You look fine to me,” the little man said.

“But I broke my mother’s watering can and I spilled her milk and I dented her pan…and, and it’s her birthday! I just wanted to do something special for her.”

“Ah…I see,” the little man said.

“Who are you?” Bjorn asked.

“I’m Gim. I’m a garden gnome,” the little man said.

“A gnome? What’s that?” Bjorn asked.

“Kind of like a fairy, but one that lives in the ground. We help the plants grow. ” Gim smiled at the boy, then raised a finger excitedly. “Wait a moment, I have an idea.”

The little man disappeared down the tunnel. After several long minutes, he reemerged with something shiny in his hands. Bjorn pulled his head out of the hole, letting the light hit the tunnel in full. He saw what Gim carried. It was a brilliant, golden ring with a bright red gemstone cradled in its center.

“Wow,” Bjorn said, staring in wonder.

“Here, take this for your mother,” Gim said. “Birthdays are special things. She is lucky to have a son like you.”

Gim offered the ring to Bjorn with two hands. The boy giddily accepted the gift.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Bjorn said.

“Just don’t tell anyone you saw me, okay?” Gim said. “It will be our secret.”

“Our secret,” Bjorn repeated.

Bjorn said goodbye to his new friend and carefully filled in the hole. He picked up the pieces of the broken water can and put them back in their place. He would apologize for that later. For now he jumped around, thinking how lucky it had been for him to be so clumsy.

THE END

Thanks for reading.

~JM

I will soon be sending out my next newsletter, in honor of the new year. It will include an exclusive video of myself, talking Iric and future projects, as well as the usual publication highlight and writing tips. If you’d like to see all that, and be part of the “cool” crowd, you can sign up to join the RABBLE on the right side of the page!

Aftermath of a Bad Decision

Jan
12
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photo by Hans Vivek

It was the worst mess Jared had ever encountered–nine years as a sanitation inspector could not have prepared him for the scene. Shredded paper was scattered all around; broken bottles were shattered on the floor, spilling their contents into a thick brown pool that smelled of urine; what were once ordered stacks of books and DVDs were now collected in a heap. The only thing that wound its way through his dumbfounded mind was the memory of a feminine voice saying, “Getting a cat will only be trouble, Jared.”

*Written as a response for the Three Line Tales Week 102 photo prompt.

I’m getting ready to send out my next newsletter, in honor of the new year. I will be including an exclusive video of myself, talking Iric and future projects, as well as the usual publication highlight and writing tips. If you’d like to see all that, and be part of the “cool” crowd, you can sign up to join the RABBLE on the right side of the page!

Thanks for reading!

~JM

Refuge — 3LineTales

Jan
05
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photo by Gemma Evans

The box truck’s paint was faded, with numbers on the side that meant nothing to Daryl. The old beast ran, which was the only thing that really mattered; that one truth had saved his life more times that he cared to count. So, he built a home inside the cargo area, a place of refuge from the maniac infested desert outside.

*Written as a response to the Three Line Tales week 101 photo prompt.

~JM

The Color of Kings — 3LineTales

Dec
23
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photo by Emily Morter

The dark lord just did not appreciate good aesthetics–color and light in particular–no matter how hard Ur-Benu tried to convince her. Why must the sky always be a gloomy shade of gray or black, when purple was the color of kings? The orc concluded that his services would be better used elsewhere, and one day, left the dark tower for good.

*Written as a response to the Three Line Tales Week 99 photo prompt.

Author’s Note: I’ve been playing a lot of Middle-earth: Shadow of War these days. It’s a game where you recruit orc followers into your army. Here’s one of the warriors I captured, the inspiration for the tale:

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There’s something about his name, and the way the deep-voiced, melodramatic narrator says “UR-BENU!” every time I click on him. Sure, he looks scary with his size, and all the fire, but he’s just a softy at heart. A fiery machine destroyer…of expectations. He is terrified of Ghuls because they threaten his kittens. Lots of kittens. He is an EPIC kitten-cuddler, his little precious-es. You really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you know.

Hope you enjoyed the story. Happy Holidays!

~J.M.

Audiostory on Tall Tale TV

Dec
19

Chris Herron of Tall Tale TV did an awesome job reading one of my Iric stories. The production quality is the some of the best I have come across for short stories and indie podcasts. His pacing, tone, voices and accents, everything about this production is just great. I cannot offer enough praise. I have been invited to submit more work and I certainly will.

Without further fuss, here is the story:

Wasn’t that great? If I were a rich man, I’d pay this guy to do the whole collection for Audible!

Thanks for listening!

~J.M.

Speaking of the collection, you can get your copy below. Both kindle and ebook versions are available for purchase.

A Miscalculation – 3LineTales

Dec
15

Caterina watched the majestic polar bears, frolicking on dirty ground that should be paved with ice and snow. Little did she know, these creatures were placed in the arctic by hyper-intelligence beings from a distant star–close enough to keep an eye on mankind, but far enough away to be safe from the effects of the apes’ habit of self-destruction. Well, maybe those beings weren’t so intelligent…

*Written as a response to the Three Line Tales Week 98 photo prompt.

It’s been a while since I did any writing on the blog. I’ve missed the past few weeks of the 3LineTales. I need to be more diligent!

Hope you liked my little story.

~J.M.

The Artifact — My Audiostory on the Centropic Oracle

Dec
15

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My second flash story, “The Artifact,” has just been released on The Centropic Oracle. This one is set in the world of Storm Hamilton and the Seraphim, though of a slightly different vein.

The story was read by the wonder CB Droege, who does it great justice. If you recognize his voice, it is because he is the editor of Manawaker Studios and did the reading for my story “The First Sighting,” which was recorded for the flash fiction podcast on his site.

If you like sci-fi steeped in nostalgia and pining for the past, you’ll like this one!

You can listen to the story HERE.

If you’d like a bit more of this sci-fi world, check out the Storm Hamilton story “The Old Bird.”

~J.M.

New Flash Story out on Roane Publishing’s Flash Fiction Friday!

Dec
02

A supernatural horror story that I have been trying to place for quite a while now finally found a home. It was just released on Roane Publishing’s Flash Fiction Friday.

I will have to warn you though, it is a bit more depressing than my usual heroic stuff. I would probably classify it as supernatural-horror-tragedy.

If you feel up to it, drop on over and give it a read! You can read the story HERE.

~J.M.

Cold Vengeance – 3LineTales

Dec
01
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photo by Patrick Wittke

Chomper stared at the snowy ground, fuming, contemplating revenge.

James is going to pay for making me look like some sort of redneck surfer, he thought. He’s overdue for a good bite, right on the butt–biting always works.

 

*Written as a response to the Three Line Tales week 96 photo prompt.

Author notes: I don’t know what it is, but that horse looks very disgruntled about something. Obviously the hair, right?

~J.M.

The Word for Planet is Asylum — 3LineTales

Nov
23

I feel guilty for not keeping up with the blog. Of course in my defense, there’s been a lot going on. Good things, mostly (See: homepage) But still, I should try to do more, lest my writing (and thinking) muscles atrophy.

So I’m jumping back in with 3LineTales this week. Here we go!

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Photo by Tobias Keller

Mancio pulled the reins left, driving the mustangs back to the path, all the while wondering if this was what it had once looked like in New Mexico–the trees, the sun, the morning mist–as described in the books he had read when he was young. Of course, New Mexico did not exist anymore, at least not how the historians described it. That was Earth–the forsaken, blighted homeland of Mancio’s ancestors; this was Mars–the last refuge of mankind.

*Written as a response to the Three Line Tales Week 95 photo prompt.