Xeno Hemlock
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Posts tagged short story
A Look Back on the Prudence Arc of Death's Last Days with the Dying

I have to admit that at various points of “Death’s Last Days with the Dying” hesitation crept in my mind. Before I announced it to the public, I wondered if I could keep up with releasing a memory daily as much as I could. With all the day job obligations and writing aspirations on my shoulder, was it necessary to add one more on my stack? At the same time, despite picking a drabble (a 100-word story) as the format for my flash fiction output, the length of it was not an automatic advantage. The 100-word restriction proved to be challenging at times (and fun too, of course, so much fun 😜) and would make you doubt your weird choice of restricting yourself when you didn’t need to. Upon thinking deeper about it though, what’s a writer’s life without one or few challenges on his writing journey.

Now that season two, the Prudence Arc as I christen it now, has wrapped up a couple of days before, I’d like to present three things I enjoyed about writing it.

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Lost Christmas (a "Dead Republic" Story)

An explosion 50 kilometers away jolted Kiko awake. The windowless walls of his room didn't give him a view of the destruction outside. It didn't matter. Kiko had seen the aftermath of a Kraken unleashing its power too many times. 06:59. He glanced at the metal wall clock near the door before grabbing his black coat from a steel chair near his bed and storming off the corridor.

“Good morning, General,” a stern lady in a dark blue uniform joined Kiko's walk. “Coffee? Is it going to be black or with some cream and sugar in it?”

Kiko regarded the lady and kept walking. “Thank you, Mafalda, but that Kraken's enough to be my caffeine this morning.”

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Death, Drabble, and Dying

Q: Hey, I saw the title. So what's with the DEATH?

A: He, she, it, or whatever, Death I mean, is none other than the protagonist of this story.

Q: What's with the DRABBLE?

A: This project will be written in drabble form. 

Q: Wait, what the hell is a drabble?

A: Here.

Q: And what the hell is with the DYING?

A: Exactly! This drabble series is about Death's last days with the dying.

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Walden and Hyde (and Other Short Stories) Special Edition Now Available

I'm happy to announce that my first fiction book Walden and Hyde (and Other Short Stories) is now available on Amazon. This Special Edition of the book contains early drafts of all the short stories and extra author notes, giving insight on the conception and evolution of this collection. I also invite you readers to have your own interpretation and analysis of the themes and messages of the work.

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Lucky (A Short Story)

Lucky. That’s what they called me. So I named myself that. My father, the owner of the hotel, he in the dark gray suit, said I should be that. My mother, standing next to my father as his business partner, reiterated I should be that. Their friends, faces I only glimpsed, for they kept twisting and turning, some yawning, some smiling, agreed I should be that. Two teenagers standing next to Mother, a brother and a sister, but siblings we were not, nodded that I should be that. The odd man in a white, billowing robe, splashing water on my bed, curtains, dresser, mirrors, and lamps, uttered a rigid invocation and prayed I should be that. They showered me with gold and silver coins, some clapping and some repeating my name, Lucky. I would bring them money.

Then they bolted through my door never to be seen again.

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Who is Gina Watson?

My name is Xeno Hemlock and I have a confession to make. I killed Gina Watson, twice, and I loved her. But who the hell is Gina Watson?

Well, she was just the most important woman in my life for the past three years.

WARNING: Skinny Love and the Bagel and I Killed My Friends and It Thrilled Me spoilers ahead.

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I Dislike Looking Back but Today I Am Doing It

I'm not a friend of looking back. In fact, there are a few "looking back"-related things and events that make me cringe:

  • high school reunions

  • conversations about the "good old days"

  • discussions, that have no productive purpose, about past miseries and misfortunes

  • trying to reconnect with people I've fallen out of touch with

Now before you try to accuse me of being a grouch, look at things from my perspective.

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My Top 10 List of Neil Gaiman's Short Stories

I'm going to tell you a secret: I hated Neil Gaiman.

This was back in college when I was teaching computer classes in my alma mater. One of my students mentioned a popular comic book he was reading.

"What?" I asked my student.

"Sandman, the comic book series," he said.

"Who?" I asked, meaning both the character and the author.

"Neil Gaiman. Don't you know him?"

"I don't." I shook my head and started secretly hating Mr. Gaiman then. Of course, I was jealous. At that time, I already knew I wanted to be a writer but I didn't have the confidence to share my dream with anyone. Something about talking about a famous author bruised my stupid ego. (Boom, boom, boom)

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When the Oppressor Becomes the Oppressed (Tales of the Universe's Weird & Wicked Sense of Humor #1)

Every time she refused my invitation, the following thoughts flashed in my head:

  • "Ugh. She's so boring."
  • "Excuses. Excuses again. She's being selfish."
  • "I should take off my blinders and see her for what she really is - uncool."
  • "Maybe it's time to admit this friendship is one-sided."

She had to write because there's a looming deadline and money must be earned. Her primary job's salary wasn't sufficient. We were both breadwinners. I should've understood that but I didn't.

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