• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Taking Is The Only Law

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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Your bare skin ripples beneath a layer of sweat. Pigments change from drywall white to oaken as you charge downhill through dense woods, racing to get away from the new hospital’s construction site. Rotten branches snap underfoot, gouging the calluses there. Overbalancing on the slope throws off momentum. You pant like an animal and stutter-step to stay upright.

A shriek twenty yards back. Words puncture the air like needles in the ears. “I deserve what you have. Don’t think you can keep it.”

She can see you. She wants your skin.

No time to stop and force the pigments to change faster.

Pigments don’t adapt to the surroundings as fast when exhaustion rears up and drains you. Leg muscles pull and burn, straining to keep pumping. Fears invade with each light-barked tree that whips past. They appear more and more like her.

The pigments along your arms slither under the skin. Changing. Light. Dark. Light.

Confused by the immature forest and patchy cover.

One screech, much closer now. “If you can’t use it, you shouldn’t have it.”

A snap that wasn’t a branch. Pain eats through your thigh the way teeth dig at the last meat on the bone. Head over knees into the brush near the bottom where rocks of all colors pepper the beachfront. Blood seeps from every stinging cut on your skin.

The glass-still top of the lake fifteen yards away is uniform in the dusk.

Safe to swim in. To hide in long enough to gain freedom.

Her weight crushes down on the wound.

Agony and involuntary shuddering rip a scream from your throat. Only leaves and clouds above.

The doctor’s sharp-boned face wavers in front of you. Her handgun is held tight in one hand. She jams the barrel against the last tattered shred of the hospital gown around your neck. Baring teeth as white as her torn lab coat, she hisses, “I’ll get more out of your power than you did.”

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