10 Short Stories in 10 Weeks

The Traveler of Hickory Hills

by Ryan Olsen

“This is the best day ever!” Herb exclaimed as he threw his hands into the air with triumph.

Herb arrived back at home as he parked his Studebaker in the freshly paved driveway. He was just promoted at work and couldn’t wait to tell the world. Not only that, his lawn needed a mow with the brand new gas powered lawnmower he received from his doting wife for his birthday last week.

“Dear! Honey! I’ve got swell news to tell you,” started the increasingly enthusiastic Herb. “Mr. Humphrey pulled me into his office after my big meeting and offered me a promotion! I’ll be the VP in no time!”

“Let’s celebrate tonight,” said his wife Haley with a giant smile. “We’ll go to your favorite restaurant and make our way over to the soda fountain for a banana split.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Sculptors

by Ryan Olsen

The sun was shining through the makeshift window I made from duct-taping broken bits of bottles and shards of larger windows. The green, blue and clear tints cast dim rays of light on the dirt floor next to the dusty bucket I now call a sink, shower and dishwasher. If you squint, it is as close to stained glass as you can now get. My friend James calls it a “work of art” with his sarcasm he picked up from me that masks his pain.

James used to be a happy-go-lucky fella that could find joy in most things. The son-of-a-bitch would whistle a silly tune as he walked the three miles to get his daily allotment of water. As I grumbled when the shambles of a government we have left decided to horde and ration water, James was enthusiastic we commoners could even get some. Until his kid became a victim of The Sculptors, you couldn’t meet a more genuinely happy person.

The Sculptors are something we have to deal with. And that is the cold, hard truth. Unlike the mythological boogeymen in classic tales like Werewolves or Vampires, The Sculptors are normal people driven mad by the horrors they saw after a few nations thought it would be a great idea to use their Ion Cannons on each other like using a magnifying glass to fry some ants. The resulting damage from the Earth destroying weapons and manmade chaos that erupted even faster than the cannons could reload created the conditions that put some people over the mental edge, the rest of us found our own coping mechanism.

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