• Jabe Stafford

Go Bite Some Other World

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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“Some kind of mouth’s suckin’ up the sky,” gearman Chad screeched. He pointed a brass finger overhead and all the hikers with him followed it. The powder-blue atmosphere tore like flesh between the skyscraper-sized teeth, displacing the air for miles around the workshops dotting the Ink Marshes. The boardwalk bucked and shook. Water and ink sloshed over the boards, soaking the group’s shoes and tainting their clothes black from the waist down.

Ozone and sludge filled Chad’s nostrils. He savored the odors and the adrenaline that cranked though him. The gearman’s skin gleamed metallic along every inch that wasn’t covered by his sweaty wife beater. While the hikers panicked and fled, Chad shrugged off his windbreaker and flicked back the hammers on each of his brass knuckles. Ten gun barrels spun on geared joints to replace his fingertips.

Chad snarled at the horror tearing holes in his sky. “They built me here in the Ink Marshes. You don’t get to eat them.”

A hundred cog-smiths fled the workshops to escape the tentacles unrolling like fleshy springs from the bite wound in the stratosphere. The rip gushed air and tore wetly along the horizon. Fangs pierced the sky again, deeper, sinking into tributaries and digging into mud flats. Distant workshops drowned in the flood surges.

Squatting low, Chad braced himself against thick posts and cracked his knees. Clockwork mechanisms spanning from foot to hip whirred and revved. His pelvis rotated downward, legs exposing their locomotion devices. Chad shot toward the space beneath the gaping maw, the gears and treads ripping away his pants and propelling him despite the slippery boards.

Seven other gearmen cranked through the Ink Marsh toward the eldritch maw. They slogged through mud and sprayed up dirt as they ascended hillsides for a better shot.

Chad leapt off the ink-steeped boardwalk a second before the first tentacle swept the length of the walkway. Wood cracked and shattered. Splinters the size of spears scythed toward Chad’s legs, clanging off the brass.

His devices were smelted to withstand far worse. They launched him skyward in a blast of ink-fueled force.

Teeth bared, Chad aimed ten knuckle grenades at the invader. “Go bite some other world, ya bastard.”

Every gun barrel in Chad’s fingers kicked at once.

Seventy more cracks rose up around him.

The rent in the skies stopped widening.

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