• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Viewchanger

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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“Destroying is easy,” I hiss. “When did you ever use your shape-changing to build?”

The seagull caws and re-shapes into a macaw. “I don’t need to build anything. There’s birds in every habitat on the planet. Why build when I can survive anywhere?”

I swing both legs off the girder’s side forty stories up. The H.C. Building and its solar panels are nearly done. Traffic coughs out exhaust along Twentieth Avenue below, adding to the smog I’m breathing even this high up. We’ll all need to get used to a lot more smoke than that if so few people help build what’s needed.

Pumping its wings, the macaw snatches Pete’s hardhat in its beak and tosses it over the edge.

Pete hurries toward me from along the girder, points at his bright yellow vest and snarls at me. “Dake. That’s my hard hat. I earned this job. You think I want my head caved in by some collapsed beam?”

I shake my head and toss him the hardhat off my own head. “Here. I’ll wear yours.”

Pete catches the hat and barks a laugh. “What, you gonna dive down and pick it up? We got five more hours up here today. I’m reporting you for not wearing the right equipment.”

Pete descends a ladder and vanishes among plywood and tarps.

The macaw circles above the H.C. Building, cackling. “Dake, Dake. See how easy it is for me to affect things, Dake? Building takes too much effort for too little payout.” The parrot lands next to me on the girder and adds, “In the old days, they’d say, ‘The game ain’t worth the candle.’”

Repressing a shudder of vertigo, I cross both arms. “You went through all the effort to learn magic and shape-changing only to prank anyone you come across?”

Feathers ruffling, the macaw re-shapes into a peregrine, dives forty stories, and returns with Pete’s hardhat clutched in its talons.

I put it on. “This isn’t another prank. This is you helping me build.”

The peregrine shrugs. “Eh, destroying is easy.”

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