Raincoats and Rolling Pins

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/345131.html) “Why do I have to be the one to take the soup over to Grandma?” Conor eyed the wicker picnic basket on the table, a deep frown pulling at the corners of his lips. “I only came here to visit, and I really need to get back into town before work tomorrow. Doesn’t […]


Café Miel

by Aosora Hikaru (青空ヒカル) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/339825.html) “Hey, August.” I glanced up from my plate, the half-formed thought about how delicious my food was dissipating into thin air. I made an inquisitive noise around my mouthful of food, but otherwise didn’t stop eating while I waited for Cam to continue. “How do you feel about roleplay?” […]


Eight to Five (twenty-two and a half inches)

by Aosora Hikaru (青空ヒカル) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/334628.html) The sun had just started to set after practice, blazing reds and blinding oranges across the early fall sky, and Seth was glad that the auditorium was to the east of the athletic fields so he could put it at his back. He trailed behind the group of students […]


Love or Sympathy (But Never Both)

by Aosora Hikaru (青空ヒカル) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/332559.html) She’d moved the files around in front of her about twenty times now, Nora was sure. It was another criminal case — murder this time — and as the public defender assigned to the case, she had quite the burden. It had been hell to find a jury, since […]


Be Careful What You Fish For

by Aosora Hikaru (青空ヒカル) illustrated by Iseya Misu (伊勢谷 美寿) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/330221.html) Kiran always made time for fishing on the weekends. After a long week of cubicle work and numbers and math, he always looked forward to the placid waters of Lake Huron just outside Harrisville, Michigan. His catches were rare and that was fine; […]


Ectoplasmic Manifestation

by Aosora Hikaru (青空ヒカル) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/322339.html) thunk. Seth looked up as the paper landed on his desk, folded up smaller than their student ID cards. He glanced over to his left at Tanner, who laced his fingers behind his head and reclined with a smug smirk on his face. “The fuck, dude,” Seth hissed as […]


Smuggling, and How to Make Interstellar Exploration Work For You

by Aosora Hikaru (青空ヒカル) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/315849.html) The computer chimed and flashed a confirmation of the set faster-than-light course on its nav screen. I leaned back in my seat and let the autopilot take over, then yawned and stretched. “Come on, you haven’t been awake that long,” a voice from behind me teased. “And I didn’t […]


The Way That The Sunshine Gleams From Your Wedding Band

by Aosora Hikaru (青空ヒカル) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/302353.html) She had a black eye again. Veronica always tried to convince me it was nothing, always with the excuses, or always with makeup applied just so, but I always knew the truth. She knew I knew, but we played the game. I never acknowledged what I saw, and she […]


Woodward Avenue

“Don’t mind the mess,” I said as I opened the garage door. “I don’t come out here very often.”

Nick shook his head with a sad frown. “I don’t see why not, if you’re telling me the truth.”

I grimaced as I wiped my forehead with the back of my hand. Summer had decided to come early — very early — and the June day was burning hot. “It’s complicated. There’s a lot of memories tied up in this.”

“Yeah, but it’s a Chevelle, dude. A goddamn 1970 Chevelle SS. You’re a fucking idiot to let it rot for five years.”


What Jack Ketch Knows Knot

“Let me down!”

“Only if you ask nicely.”

“Fuck you, Tracker!” The man caught in the trap spat, spinning on the rope around his ankle. In the alley, his curses echoed betweens the buildings, the only light from a single streetlamp on the corner.

“That wasn’t very nice at all,” Tracker murmured. He crossed his arms over his chest and watched the man continue to turn. “You haven’t even introduced yourself. Obviously you know who I am.”

The man flailed his arms in an attempt to face Tracker. “Go fuck yourself. I ain’t telling you nothing.”

Tracker shrugged, the leather he wore squeaking. “Your call. You can either tell me who you are so I can cut you down and take you to the police, or you can keep cursing at me and I can leave you there for the police to find.” He glanced down at the watch on his wrist, then back up at the trapped man. “It’s only about two-thirty right now, so chances are good they won’t find you for a while.”

The man continued to thrash on the rope for a few more minutes, then scowled, the expression growing deeper each time he rotated to face Tracker again. “Bruiser. Let me down now.”

When Tracker said or did nothing, the man let out a frustrated growl. “Please.”

“That’s more like it.” Tracker stepped forward, grabbed the rope, and pulled a knife from his belt. “You might want to brace yourself.”


Double Shot Red-Eye With Room

I have an expensive coffee habit.

It’s not that I can’t make it at home, or that I think the coffee at that cafe is the best coffee in the world. See, it’s the barista. I have developed a burning crush on this barista, who is the hottest person I have ever laid eyes on.


Second Chances

Tim hadn’t brought his sunglasses with him to the work picnic. His glasses only made the glare worse, so he squinted against the glaring afternoon sun and looked around for a place to take refuge from the noise and excitement for a few minutes.

It was a beautiful Saturday, and his company had organized a lovely picnic to keep up morale and boost cooperation between teams. Tim found it hard to want to tie his leg to a financial manager’s in the name of “cooperation,” but he was a good sport about it and even came in second in the sack race.


Through Uncharted Seas

The way the moonlight reflected off the metal was beautiful. Asher took a step back and pushed his glasses up his nose, then blew out a sigh of relief.

The robot was complete. At least, he hoped it was. The blueprints had given way to a sculpted titanium “skeleton” which had been buried beneath polished silver “skin.” The wiring itself had taken three months. The engine, and all the handcrafted gears contained therein, six. Asher had built other things before, invented other things of his own creation, but this was definitely the biggest and most-involved invention he’d ever created.

And now all that stood between him and either an unnervingly lifelike automaton or a fiery death was an empty boiler and a pitcher of water.

“Here lies Asher Baumann,” he murmured as he picked up the pitcher. “Inventor, madman, flaming idiot.”

It took a few tries to get the ignition going to heat the boiler, and Asher had begun to worry he hadn’t set the thing up right, that somehow he’d made a fatal flaw in the blueprints and why hadn’t he tested this before now–

The boiler roared to life and Asher held his breath for far too long, waiting for the telltale sound of water boiling. The steam started to seep from a few gaps in that silver shell — he’d have to solder those later — and then the gears started to click.

And then those eyes, the beautiful turquoise lenses he’d so carefully selected from countless crystals, illuminated the workshop.

“Oh, God,” Asher murmured.


Sensual in Such Non-Conventional Ways

A few words uttered, a rush of power, a plume of smoke… A newly empty space, previously occupied by a beautiful woman.

A gasp ran through the crowd and Jo grinned, an eyebrow cocked in challenge. I dare you to challenge what you have seen. I dare you to doubt me.

She gave a few more moments to let the tension build, allowing enough time for a well-rehearsed dramatic reappearance to have the maximum effect. Another puff of smoke, a dramatic wave of her hand, and a rush of air from the audience’s collective letting out a held breath echoed through the auditorium.

Cassandra stepped forward and Jo made a broad sweep of her arm. She is whole, the gesture said. I have done the impossible.

“Jo the Magnificent, ladies and gentlemen!” The announcer bowed low, sweeping his arm toward Jo on the stage.

She bent forward in a deep bow herself, then stood and took the hand of the woman by her side, and shouted, “And, of course, who could forget the lovely Cassandra?”

The cheers of the audience were deafening as Jo bowed, Cassandra dipping in a deep curtsy. The curtains rustled as they fell closed, and the ladies stood up to meet the announcer.


Riverfront Blues

DEEJAY ONE: Good morning, Detroit! You’re listening to WROX in the morning. I’m Johnny Danger–

DEEJAY TWO: I still think that’s a stupid pornstar name if I ever heard one.

JOHNNY: And that would be Bobby Killjoy, the wet blanket.

DEEJAY TWO: Hey, call yourself whatever you want. Whatever gets you the chicks. I’m Nate Rodriguez, and this is Rock Your Morning on WROX. Coming up: what does your choice of beer say about you? Find out in the eight o’clock hour.


“Good show, man,” Nate said, clapping his hand on his co-host’s shoulder. The coffee had been better than usual this morning, and he smiled as he inhaled the deep aroma, then took a careful sip.

“You too. Hey, wanna grab some drinks later?” John smiled over his shoulder as he coiled up the wires from the headphones.

Nate turned back from John’s chair and shook his head. “Sorry, can’t.”

John bit back a laugh. “What, do you have to wash your hair or something?”

“Yeah.” Nate rolled his eyes and took another sip of his coffee. “That’s it. Not even the fact that it’s not even after three yet and you’ve just asked me to go to a bar.”

“I said, ‘later,’ but whatever. I’ll see you tomorrow, dude.”

“See you.”