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Eat My Shorts by Jonathan Westbrook
Copyright © 2013

Eat My Shorts - Available now.

If you’re a reader of short and flash science fiction, then you’ll love this collection of stories. Whether you’re rocketing through space to distant planets, defending yourself against an attack from zombies, or romping through time to Ancient Rome, Eat My Shorts is the perfect companion to satisfy any science fiction fan’s appetite.

Either by taking a nibble or swallowing them whole, the forty delicious entrées found within these pages are sure to delight your sci-fi palette. Save room for dessert too with author notes at the end of each tale describing the rich ingredients which made up each of these tasty treats.

Order your copy:

Available through Print On Demand.

Available through Amazon.com as paperback.

Available on Kindle. Special bonus story included.

Available through Barnes and Noble as paperback.
Available on Nook. Special bonus story included.

To whet your appetite, here are some of the titles included within:

  • An Apprentice of Time
  • Boogeymen
  • Box Mystique
  • Flight Hackers
  • Get Off Your Assets
  • Goodbye Gods
  • Gynecian Proclamation
  • Kiss and Tell
  • Our Days are Numbered
  • Siren Song
  • Zombie Sighting

Excerpt from Boogeymen:

Zackary Wilkes was a first grader who enjoyed science projects, art, and recess, and like typical first graders, he hated math and reading. And even though he professed that he did indeed read all the words in his collection of The Marvelous Marvels comic books what he really did was just look at all the pictures, so his mom made him read to her at bedtime for practice.

One night, the six-year old had a hard time concentrating on a story, which he had read to his mom many times before. He was antsy and didn’t know if he should ask what was on his mind but did so anyway. He tossed his book aside and sat up. “Mom, are the Boogeymen real?”

“It’s the boogey man, but he’s not real—he’s only make-believe, like in stories,” she responded. Could he mean the Taandiabs? She thought not, considering they hadn’t been in their neighborhood since before Zack was born. “Where did you hear about the boogeyman?”

“Some kids at school. They said they’re coming back.”

“Well, don’t you worry about what the kids at school are saying, okay?” His mother didn’t want to lie, but she and her husband decided he was still too young for him to know the truth.

“Okay mom.”

“Alright. Sleep well my little prince. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Annie Wilkes gave her son a kiss on the forehead, rose from the bed, and was about to turn off the light and shut Zack’s door, when he caught her.

“Mom, can you leave the light on tonight?”

“Sure I can.”

“And mom? Can you not say, ‘Don’t let the bed bugs bite,’ anymore?”

Annie wanted to complain—they had always said their good nights with that sign-off, but she agreed and brought the door to a soft close.

In sock covered feet she padded down the hall and into the master bedroom where her husband Tom was sitting on their bed busy loading a tactical shotgun. “The kids at school have been talking and Zack is clearly upset. What did the agency say?”

Tom, a husky man in his early thirties, didn’t look up from his task, which he had performed every night for the past eight years before going to bed. “They reported some isolated incidences, but they suspect they are nothing like the packs they used to be.”

Annie sat down on her side of the bed and began to sob. Her husband of twelve years stood the shotgun against the chest of drawers, went around to the other side of the king-sized bed, and consoled his wife by wrapping his arms around her. “Everything will be fine. The doors have been bolted for the night, the alarm is on, and the generator is all gassed up.”

“It’s just that … having a curfew at dusk is bad enough, but to think that they could be coming back and that it could start all over again is just too much.” Annie tried to put the thought out of her head with a sip of water and a dose of TylenolPM, which she mixed together in her mouth before swallowing so the dry pill wouldn’t get stuck in her throat. “I’ll be better in the morning,” she reassured herself. “It’s always better in the morning. Good night,” she said to her husband with a small peck on his lips.

“Good night, sweetheart.” Tom tucked his wife in before he double checked all the locks on all the doors and windows. He rechecked the panel on the alarm display and adjusted the shotgun just so, in case a need arose for him to grab it quickly, and he lightly tapped the box of shells on the side table next to his head—all in reassurance that everything needed was in its place within arm’s reach. He switched off the light, lay down on top of the sheets with his clothes still on, and eventually heard the gentle snores coming from Annie’s side of the bed. Then, and only then, did he allow himself to fall asleep.

But not everyone in the house lay asleep—Zack couldn’t because of his new found fear of the Boogeymen, or as his mom had corrected what the older kids at school had told him, the boogey man. Whatever the name was, he was frightened of the stories.

The older kids said that they could smell your blood from a mile away. That they stalked you like starving lions. That they hold you down and rip your throat out. That if you were lucky, they left you for dead, because if not, you became one of them. “Oh that’s just werewolf stuff,” Zack had told them. “It’s only make-believe.”

“Nope,” one of the boys replied with all the seriousness he could muster. “My dad told me they come from a terrorist attack, biologic warfare, and that they were once humans like us, but they ain’t no more. ‘Something’s in the water,’ my dad says. And he knows!”

Another boy chimed in. “Yeah, they got claws as big as crowbars and fangs as sharp as razor blades.” He bared his teeth and clawed the air in front of the six year-old’s face.

The young Zachary Wilkes noticeably leaned back from the older boys.

The first kid continued, “The army tried to stop them, but they’re too smart. They learned how to hide real good and they only come out at night, like Boogeymen.”

Zack lay in bed with the covers pulled up to his eyeballs. He peered out at all the dark spots in his room, and his toys and s tuffed animals, which were perfectly normal during the light of day, seemed to stare back at him with warning. And that’s when he heard a scraping sound at his window.

He didn’t dare move. He held his breath. And the noise eventually came again—only louder. In his mind he pictured black claws fingering the smoothness of the window pane—they could smell his blood through the glass. In his mind he saw twenty Boogeymen outside his window—attracted to the light, but still he lay quiet as a mouse.

When his window smashed in, he let out a scream and bolted to his parents’ bedroom, where his father already had the shotgun in hand and was headed out to the hallway.

“Stay here!” Tom exclaimed to his only son as he slammed the door behind him.

Annie was out of bed too. “Over here Zackary. Quickly!”

As soon as he reached his mother’s embrace the house alarm went off with a deafening blare and Annie ran with her boy to the far corner of the room. They both shook with fright. Annie cradled Zack’s head and stared at the closed door. Zack, not wanting to look, had his arms around his mother’s waist and his face buried against her stomach—the warmth of his own breath against his face made for little comfort. Above the drone of the alarm they both heard three shotgun blasts.

Minutes seemed like hours until the house alarm was shut off manually. They could hear the familiar beeps of the downstairs keypad from the one in the master bedroom. Annie let out a sigh of relief. Thank God Tom is alright, she thought. But neither she nor Zack moved from their corner embrace. Annie just stared at the door and Zack listened to the pounding of his heart in his chest.

Footsteps on the stairs. It has to be him, Annie thought. Footsteps in the hall. Please let it be him, Annie prayed. Footsteps to the outside of the door and the door knob began to turn. Annie held her breath, and Zack, feeling her do so, turned his head to look behind him.