Procrastinate 

I’m sitting at a cafe reading one of my stories when a fly landed beside me. There was nothing particularly special about this fly, maybe it was a bit more colourful than I was used to, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It acted like a typical fly, cleaning itself with its front legs rigorously while staring at the window trying to figure out why it can’t fly through it. It must have found a solution, or maybe it got inpatient because it dashed right into the window and landed back on the table again, next to my computer. 

It started cleaning itself again, the wings this time. It doesn’t look unclean and I wonder if he really needs to groom itself all the time or if it is just an instinct whenever it is idle. Why do they clean themselves with their feet, it’s the dirtiest part of their body, surely? But then again, I don’t know anything about flies. It made another dash at the window, unsuccessfully and landed this time on my shoulder. It started cleaning itself again, furiously.

I did not swat the fly. Instead I let it be as I walked out from the cafe and waited until it realised it was free and I wondered if I should go back to reading again.

Talk to me on Twitter if you want – most of my short, brain-stormy, ideas happen over there.

The Unspoken Contract – Short Story

When I was but a toddler, I remember stumbling down a dark hall. I don’t recall how I had escaped from my caregiver, or what drove me to explore, but I had learned how to walk and I was determined to see what was at the other end. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure if it’s my memory or if the caregiver told me this story later in life… In either case, this is how I first met my father and it would be the closest I’d ever see him smile.

We lived in a large house; more rooms than anyone would ever need, but it was ancient, and it was ours. Our family had lived within those walls since forever, and would continue to do so, forever. I remember how I leaned against the wall to keep my legs steady. It was a revelation to me as it enabled me to walk longer than I had previous. But as I marvelled at the speed I was moving, something obstructed my path. A door opened a few feet in front of me and a stranger came out. He had huge frown plastered on his face; his eyes were shadowed and deep; his chin was clean shaven and tidy. He didn’t notice me right away and looked around the hallway before he closed the door behind him. Our eyes met and his mouth quirked. Both of us just stared until someone came rushing down the hall towards us. His mouth turned into a frown again and a young lady picked me up. I don’t recall her name or what she looked like, but she bowed apologetically and hurried down the hall with me on her shoulder, hissing something at me. My father spun around and I saw him disappear around the corner – and thus he was out of my memory, for another couple of years.

I didn’t know what a parent was. They said I had a father, but the word had no meaning to me, for all I ever felt was that he was a stranger, at least until I learned what a father and son was supposed to be like and I wanted that relationship too. Mother had died on my birth and I think father blamed me for her death, though, he never said so outright. Even so, a child loves their parents, no matter what. An innate instinct in all animals, for a child cannot survive without their parents, at least, that is how I saw things. How else can I explain the yearning I felt for a stranger’s love?

My first attempt was to seek his approval by drawing a picture that I remember being very proud of. I didn’t hesitate to run straight to my father’s study to show it to him. The office was empty when I came and it took a fair amount of willpower to enter it. He had never expressly told me I was forbidden to go inside, in fact, he hadn’t expressly told me anything. The office was tidy and there were shelves with books from wall to wall. There were some papers scattered around. I placed my drawing on top of the papers and hurried out of there as fast as I could. I waited several days for a response. It never came.

However, I wasn’t deterred. The drawing wasn’t good enough, I told myself, and I endeavoured to make another. My grandmother, (who was also was my tutor,) encouraged me to show my next drawing and I went back. But this time, the door was locked. I wondered if I should wait for him, but the mere thought of standing face to face with my father made me queasy and I instead slid the drawing under the door and disappeared. I did this a couple of times before I gave up. Maybe he didn’t like drawings? He certainly didn’t like mine…

My grandmother was my only light, in those days. She gave me everything that a parent should. She was attentive to my needs and she gave me her unconditional love. Besides both being my parent and tutor, she would often tell me stories, and there was one particular story that would change me for years to come: I remember it being a cold night. The house was quiet and everyone was huddling wherever there was a fireplace. Me and grandmother sat alone in the parlour, wrapped in blankets as the last sparks from the fire settled into ember. She had been talking for a while, but I hadn’t been listening. The disappointment was still fresh in my mind. Eventually, she noticed my mind’s absence and wondered what was wrong. I asked her. “Why does father not love me?”

Even then I saw that she wanted nothing more then to tell me he did, but she couldn’t, because it wasn’t true. Instead, she glanced up on the wall, where an old sword hung above the fireplace. She lifted me up on her knee. “You know who this belonged to?” She said and pointed at the blade.

Strangely, I hadn’t noticed it before, being a mere six or seven years old I was not tall enough to see it unless pointed out to me. I shook my head. She told me that it once belonged to a great man; an ancestor to our family that lived hundreds of years ago. His name was Hall and he lived in a time when a race called Goblins pestered the land. “Ugly little creatures,” she said. “They enjoy making life difficult for people, but Hall was a brave soul and he would stand up to their tyranny. He and two loyal servants went after the Goblins that lived in the dark forest to the west. For two days they were gone and only Hall came back alive. He would not speak of what had happened in the woods, but he didn’t have to, for the Goblins didn’t bother the people anymore and they haven’t ever since. Hall became a hero and they say that as long as a Wholehart lives on this land, the Goblins would not dare to leave their forest to bother people again.”

I imagined my eyes gleamed then. I felt pride of my ancestor and I said. “Do you think father would be proud of me if I became as brave as Hall?”

Grandmother smiled softly. “I’m sure he would.”

Nothing else was on my mind, then. I wanted to be brave and strong, like Hall, and I headed to the nearby grove to pick out a stick that was about my size. I swung it wildly, like a blade, and without direction. I would see clearly, in my mind, the Goblins fall before me, until they fled back into their forest. I was a master. I knew I wasn’t really, but I become stronger, and could swing it for longer, and hit it harder each time. It was only a matter of time before I would make my father proud, I told myself. But swinging a stick around wasn’t enough, I needed to grab my father’s attention, so I made sure to practise as closely to my father’s office window as I could. If he ever looked out, he would see me for I made sure he was there when I trained. But the window never opened, nor did I see any shadow looming that would indicate that he was there, watching. After almost a month, I grew tired of swinging the stick around and I began to feel stupid doing so. I didn’t see myself as a master anymore, and all I saw was a child playing. I needed the real thing, to prove that I was worthy. That evening, when I was sure everyone was busy preparing for supper, I snuck inside to the parlour where the blade hung. I stared at it. It was so shiny and I stood in awe, knowing who it had belonged to.

To climb the fireplace was easy, it was another matter to lift it off the frame. I made careful not to touch the sword’s edge, but as I fiddled with it, a maid saw me and pulled me down to the floor. She scolded me, telling me I could’ve got hurt. But I didn’t care what she said. She saw my indifference and dragged me off towards grandmother, the only one, beside my father, I really cared about. The maid smiled as she saw the terror in my eyes as she dragged me away. Grandmother was busy talking to another maid and when she learned what had happened, she didn’t shout, she didn’t have to, I already felt ashamed. With just one look she could make me regret anything because I didn’t want to disappoint her. I promised not to do it again and when I went to bed, that night, I laid awake, thinking up another scheme to get my father’s attention.


This is but a first taste of a longer short story which you can continue reading for free over HERE

© Christopher Stamfors

Lost Soul – Very Short Story

It was dark, really dark. There were grey metal walls surrounding me. There was equipment… What were they again? I did something with them – once… Yes! It’s the hydraulics, and, that… that’s for the cannons! The cannons… Wait…

I looked around myself again, saw a hole in the wall. The hole was contrasted by the total blackness around me and I peered out. A large shadowy figured dashed by and I staggered back into the dark.

When I regained my bearings I thought: there were more of us… I turned my head upward and shouted. “Guys? Where are you?!”

As I ran blindly along the corridors I wondered: what were their names again?

I reached a set of stairs and hurried down. Why was it so dark? There was this one guy… James was his name. He — He introduced me to Mary!

Mary…

My heart raced as I pictured her. Suddenly the metal around me creaked. I wasn’t safe here. I have to reach the surface… Where is everyone?

The boat creaked again and my footing tilted to the left. We were sinking!

I rushed upwards, stopping momentarily to shout down the corridors in case anyone else was left but there was no answer.

As I made my way higher, I saw some light above and I hurried my steps. The higher I climbed the brighter it became. Then, the ship creaked ones more and it became ever darker as we sank. No… No! I cried, but there was no use and soon there was only the void.

The ship touched the seafloor softly and spurt sand all around. I saw nothing around me but I knew then that I was dead. My breath was gone as no air would escape my lungs. I had truly been left alone… Why?

As I pondered, things changed around me; the clear grey metal became murky; all manners of creatures swarmed and installed themselves in their new habitat. Life was abundant, but I took no notice as I pondered my fate. Then, after some time, I saw a light coming closer. They were two shining bright eyes that stared right at me. It stopped and inspected me. Could it see me?

I moved closer and saw two men huddling inside the bright-eyed creature. I looked curiously at them but they didn’t stay for long and search another end of the wreckage. When I was alone once more, a yearning stirred in my heart. I needed to go back… I set forth into the unknown dark waters until there was darkness no more but her lovely scent and her hand in mine.

She scolded me for making her wait this long.


© Christopher Stamfors

The Comfort Bear – Very Short Story

We sped onto the highway, me and my family, as we were eager to get home after a weekend at my grandmother’s. I don’t particularly remember what happened that weekend, but my parents told me I had fun. It wasn’t too young to remember either because I remembered vividly what happened next. It seemed like any other trip as we rode along the highway, me not paying attention to the outside and playing with my Game Boy I had got a year earlier.

I still have the thing as it can survive most anything…

Out of nowhere, a motorbike driver came into our lane and crashed on the front of our car. The windshield shattered and the motorbike driver flipped over the car and crashed behind us. Luckily he didn’t land in the other lane.

I was frozen in fear at the initial crash, what else could you do, especially as a child? But I believe that is how most people would react no matter their age – when you’re not in control. Indecently, my father had the wheel and he turned into the railing. I had never lost my breath so hard since that day – it was like all the air escaped my body and I gasped desperately to refill my lungs.

My parents had a similar reaction because it took them awhile to stumble out of the car and check on me. I remember the eyes of fear and blood trickling over my father’s face. He didn’t take note of his own injury and asked if I was all right. I answered weakly that I was. My mother lifted me from my seat and we leaned against the car while my father hurried to the motorbike driver.

My father told, years later, that the helmet had saved the driver’s life and was the only thing that had held his brains together. I’m glad he didn’t share that detail with me at the time. There wasn’t much my father could do for the driver, however, but he remained by his side even though he was the cause of the accident. We heard later that, apparently, one of the bolts to the back wheel had been missing; a mechanic supposedly forgot to put it together and the wheel came loose on the road.

It took a while before I could express my fears as I was still in shock; but the tears eventually welled, out of nowhere and I bawled loudly in my mother’s arms. She let me cry as much as I wanted. She told me later that she wanted to cry too, but I cried for the both of us. The police came before the ambulance and they must’ve heard there was a family involved in the accident because one of them gave me a teddy bear, fresh out of the wrapper. It’s apparently common practice in Holland and still is.

It’s probably a good practice… It did comfort me a little.

I still have it somewhere in a trunk at my parents, along with all the other childhood items I kept. It took a long while before I relinquished that bear – longer than I care to admit. It invoked such strong feelings whenever I saw it – conflicting feels that I did not understand, at the time. But, whenever I did recall that horrible day, it never let the bear escape my embrace.


© Christopher Stamfors

I post Short Stories every week. Please check out my other fictions HERE.

That’s Mine! – Very Short Story

A tall man goes to a bar where he orders a beer. When he’s about to take the first sip, another man storms in and cries. “Sir, I believe that’s mine!”

So bewildered was the tall man that he halts the mug at his lips and is soon snatched from his hand entirely.

The other man gulps up the beer in one heave and lets the empty mug rest beside its previous owner.

The tall man opens his mouth to say something, then shuts it, then opens it again, before he closes it for a while longer.

Should he be mad? Undoubtedly, but what if it indeed was the other man’s beer? How unlikely it may be… He decides to let the matter rest and instead, after collecting himself, ask. “Was it any good?”

The other man turns and says. “Best I ever had.”

“How come?”

“Because it was yours.”

The tall man gawks and without trying to make sense of it all, he ask. “I’m sorry, do we know each other?”

“No, but you will, soon enough.”

Before the tall man could say anything, he watches the other man leave, and without any reason to do so, he follows him out the bar and to a dark alley. Not many people was out at this hour, mostly because of the drizzle and the autumn chill, but he continued on. At around the around a corner, the other man disappears into a one way street. The tall man hesitates and looks into the dark alley, wondering why he was following this man?Maybe it was all just a trick to get him alone to be mugged, or worse? But as he stood there, he was compelled forward, too curious to how this story would end, even at the cost of his own safety.

It was the last time our hero ever set foot upon this earth.


© Christopher Stamfors

Tales of the Old Coot – Very Short Story

Rain drummed on the copper roof, dripping through that which was missing to hold it together. Water streamed through the cracks onto the moulded wood, soaking through the third floor, then the second, onto the first. The musky smell that had been overpowering upon entry subsided as he ascended the stairs to the top floor. The wind was fresh but chilling and howled in between the gaps where the wall had once been whole. A mist came out his breath as he looked through old books, vials and trinkets. The vials still stood neatly on their shelves with green mould which fused the glass to the wood. The vials were filled with colourful substances as wide and varied as a prism. He didn’t know what they were for and he didn’t care to find out, it wasn’t why he was here, after all.

He searched the wall until he found a shelf filled with books. They were also neatly stored, except on the lower shelves, where they had been torn out in a flurry.

He grinned hungrily at the sight.

There was always something valuable to salvage in these ancient towers, especially in old spell books. Even if only half the formula was readable he would still get a fair price from a collector or a scholar, which the city had many. But a frown touched his lips as the pages turned into a slush as he opened them. The tower was old… too old, it seemed. He should have known it was too good to be true to find such a tower so close to a village, seemingly untouched. He glanced through a gap in the wall and looked down at his vessel – it was still there.

And why shouldn’t it? He was alone, after all. Though, there were the tales…

He shook his head and continued rummaging. He’d stayed one hour too long with the old coot, her tales getting to him. Course, the forest was haunted in one way or another, they always were; stories to keep children from getting lost in the woods or adults away from treasure.

He glanced through the gap again and saw his boat still there on the shore waiting for him.

He considered leaving then.

With his eyes fixated on the vessel, the building howled louder than it had ever before and he shot to his feet. He stood frozen with his blade half drawn, listing. The howl died as the wind did and he swore beneath his breath. He swore again, louder. He stomped on the floor to create noise but stopped as he saw the mushy footprint his shoe had created. The silence; the gloomy surroundings; and the stories, they were getting to him. He kicked the pile of books on the floor and rummaged much more carelessly.

“There’s got to be something…” He murmured to himself.

“Worthless… Garbage… Disgusting,” he announced as he found them. Everything in the tower seems to be one or the other, often all three at once.

After an hour of searching, and the floor littered with items, he sat by the pile and looked at them. This was pointless after all, he thought, letting silence engulf him, once more. Then, there was a faint growl, reverberating through the wood and his body. He stood, slowly, and looked out the shore – his vessel was still there.

It was time go.

With careful steps, he made his way down the first floor and to the outside. He jerked his head around and watched the tower, seeing how it was crooked and parts of the wall littered the surroundings. He wondered why he’d dared to set foot in it and then remembered the promises it had held; it didn’t seem as bad when it held potential treasure… He pushed the vessel into the muddy water and climbed aboard. The mist went thick the further from the tower he went, surrounding him in a dark, yet luminescent, green. Another growl echoed as he went, creating waves in the water. He turned nervously and saw a faint murky light shining, spiralling up and down the tower that was now fully out of sight. Maybe there was something to those old stories, after all?


© Christopher Stamfors

Featured image by ChrisCold

God of Truth – Very Short Story

Step by step he climbed the stone stairs that reached towards the heavens; blocks forged by an unknown maker – an unknown civilization – in the Latin American jungle. Taking a breath to rest, James marveled at the precision the blocks had been placed. Without cement, or anything else to bind the structure together, they have managed to build something to stand the test of time. It was truly doing more with less; creativity fueled by limitation.

How they were able to build such magnificent structures with simple stone tools was simply baffling. As he stroke the stone blocks that had turned green after centuries of neglect, James felt the sun’s warming rays on his neck as it rose above the trees.

It was another day, another opportunity to unearth the mysterious of this place. For so many years they’d believed the Aztecs and the Mayans were the creators of the pyramids, when in reality, there was another people predating them both – the architects of the entire Mesoamerican world.

Continue reading “God of Truth – Very Short Story”

Chamber of Knowledge – Very Short Story

The darkness, all engulfing. The silence – thought to be everlasting – penetrated by a continuous thumping. The muffled noise drew nearer as the walls of limestone slowly cracked until it crumbled into bits. Wind gushed inside, drawing fresh air into a surrounding that had laid dormant and stale for untold millennia. From the opening, a man appeared. Wrapped with a piece of cloth around his mouth and his hair turned yellow by the dust, his flashlight scanned the interior, revealing only more darkness in its depths. Making an effort to remove the rubble from his path, two more people appeared; one a man, the other a woman. The woman, named Olga, clutched her husband’s arm, who was named Ivan, both grinning excitedly as they entered.

“Amazing, professor!” Ivan said. “You were right all along.”

The professor, having gone deeper into the darkness, ignored Ivan’s remark. Unconcerned with their approval, the professor just stared into the nothingness.

I was right… I was right… he repeated in his head.

Continue reading “Chamber of Knowledge – Very Short Story”

Duke Junior – Very Short Story

My father was a very kind man. Every year in midsummer, instead of going to the King’s annual banquet, he made sure to arrange a huge party for his subjects at his own expense. I lived in another noble house at the time, such as all young noblemen do to acquire knighthood, and had never experienced one of my father’s celebrations – not one that I could remember anyway. As a result of being away from my family, I had been taught to despise my father’s practices. But I had also heard great things about my father and I was determined to give it an open mind once I returned a man and a knight.

Despite the ridicule my father suffered because of the celebration, he kept doing it year after year and in the end, I couldn’t take it. I couldn’t take the contempt the other highborn showed us, things that didn’t even seem to face my father, which made me all the more angry. Why doesn’t he care?

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Once Upon An Endless Journey – Very Short Story

The village looked like a dream, sitting by a large lake in the middle of nowhere – the trees growing tall and dense. I had not planned to seek civilisation while traversing this remote region, but upon finding the road that led me here, my inner voice told me to follow it; and like most of my adult life, I listened.

The voice guides me to paths I never knew existed, choices I never realised was available to me…

… Well, I should probably leave it at that. As it is the reason for my journey, to see where these “imaginary” roads can take me.

At the outskirts of the village, I passed a few quaint looking houses, all in red, as was customary on the countryside.

And upon entering the town, I immediately encountered a large crowd gathering at the centre of town. The town was buzzing with activity and vendors, which suited me as it made my presence all the more inconspicuous.

Continue reading “Once Upon An Endless Journey – Very Short Story”