• Jabe Stafford

One Page Worlds - Goddess Of The Hook

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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“Do goddesses traditionally tend bar in this realm?” The tentacle lady asks.

Glancing sidelong, I see four patrons place bills on the maplewood bar and stand. The veteran, the twins, and Jackie. I squint at the neon-lit clock next to the exit. Nine fifty. They never leave this early. All four of them ditch their booze and their waters, cross the dimly lit span of standing tables, and head for the door.

“See ya Sucker Punch,” Jackie calls before snapping the door shut behind them.

I breathe the tentacle lady’s funk and try to speak first, but she spits, “Sucker Punch. Do all earth-realmers name people after techniques of violence? I must admit I hadn’t thought devouring your reality would be easy, but if everyone can perform the techniques they’re named after, I might have a—“

“Sucker Punch ain’t my real name,” I reply, pointing at my blonde locks. “Sandy’s what they called me back on the coast. Got my start at a seaside pub near a sandbar on The Hook. She just called me that ‘cause she saw them suckers on your hand.”

A hiss, half snake and half otherworldly, purred from her chest. “Sso it was a warning.”

I shrug one shoulder. “How’d you know I was a water goddess?”

The tentacle lady slides her hands farther out of her blazer sleeves and onto the bar. “Could be because I saw you refilling those twins’ water glasses without actually pouring any. Or maybe my eldritch upbringing taught me to recognize threats to my next meal.”

One of her hands slips onto mine. Something sticky coats the skin there.

I leave my hand where it is, clenching the other into a fist. “You ain’t interested in bar food. This here dive bar’s my territory.”

She cackles. “A bleeding heart pretending to be a predator. I saw how you looked at that redhead before she left. Not even love could stop my ancestors from consuming your—“

Four spears of ice-my friends’ abandoned waters-pierce the tentacle lady’s skull.

I smirk. “One hole in your head for each friend of mine you would eat.”

I turn the inner goddess off and the ice melts into slush, splashes to the bartop.

Drawing a rag from beneath the bar, I yank my hand out from under the tentacle lady’s suckers, then sweep the icy, inky fluid off my bar.

The corpse laughs. “Sucker Punch. A much better name than Sandy.”

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