• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Queen Wrinkles

A whole world on a single page!

The short story morsels of One Page Worlds are flash fiction adventures of all flavors. Every Wednesday will feature a complete story in one page, or the first page of what could be a novel or novelette.

Sharing the fun and geekery is the best part of writing! Please tweet or comment with your guesses on what genre, character, and job is central to each tale. Enjoy touring new universes each week with One Page Worlds!

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“Wrinkles is always queen of the con,” Regena croaked, tugging her bulldog’s leash. “Doesn’t matter how I dress her. We end up on stage and at panels. I’ve designed pet clothing for thirty years and Wrinkles has been with me the whole time. You must recognize me if you’ve got any memory at all.”

Fear poured from Greg’s gaunt face. “You should have stopped every pet and clothing designer from coming.” Wrinkles woofed-almost a laugh-while the convention’s head of security continued. “Do you see how many pet owners are here? They didn’t just bring dogs and cats. Weirdos are getting in with ferrets, foxes, and bobcats on leashes. If I let you on that stage, you’re dead and we’re screwed.”

Another woof shook from Wrinkles’ jaws. Cosplayers and fans skidded on the convention center’s polished tile floor, many waving at both Wrinkles and Regena. Regena’s thin veil and sky blue robes brushed her skin as she waved back. She smiled at the raiment and crown adorning her bulldog’s flabby fur. “See? Famous.” She pointed at the throne room setup on the stage behind Greg. “We’re late for our costume sewing panel. It’s in the main auditorium and this is the door in. Let us through.”

Greg flung his lanky arms out, barring them. Sour sweat dripped from his hair to his polo and the floor. “Someone else is here. They picked a place with no real armed forces to start. They’ll take over if you go in there.”

At this, Wrinkles chuffed.

“Is it Animal Control or those activists?” Regena said, sneering. She jabbed Greg’s ribs with an elbow. “They’ll see how much we care about our snookums. Let. Us. Through.”

Greg puffed his chest out and whipped his radio off his belt. “Need some help at M Gate. We’ve got too many of them in the aud already, and this lady’s—”

Regena kicked him in the shins and Wrinkles ran at him, claws clacking on the tile. The bulldog charged right through Greg’s wobbling legs, tripping him. He landed on the taut leash and grunted, then snatched at the scrabbling dog and missed.

Wrinkles had already torn off of the leash and dashed down the aisle, weaving between cosplayers whose pets all seemed to be missing. She leapt onto the throne and spun on four paws to face the crowd.

A towering man in king’s garb slid from the shadows behind the queen, his tongue lolling out. Just like hers. And the thousands of mutating animals behind her.

The bones beneath the queen’s flabby skin writhed and expanded, her doggy grin dripping venom instead of drool. “Put them all down.”

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