Monthly Archives: January 2011

Two Orks


There are two Orks guarding this treasure, but they're not in the picture.



Two Orks

     By John Wick

Two orks sit in a small, square room with a treasure chest and wait.

The first ork asks, “What are we doing here?”

The second ork says, “Shut up.”

The first ork asks, “But, I mean, what are we doing here?”

The second ork says, “Who cares?”

The first ork asks, “Are we waiting for someone?”

The second ork says, “Shut up.”

The first ork stops asking questions.

Two orks sit in a small, square room with a treasure chest and wait.

Not . . . The End


Hi, my name is Ken St. Andre.  I’m a game designer (Tunnels & Trolls, Wasteland, Ogreocre, and many others you’ve probably never heard of) and a gamer.  So is John Wick  (7th Sea, Legend of Five Rings, Houses of the Blooded, and more).  These days he’s much better known as a game designer than I am.  You have to expect us to write stories about our games, or at least stories that could have some game context.  That’s what you got today.


The Hero

by Ken St. Andre


Preface: I don’t know where this came from–perhaps a dream.  If I dream anything remotely interesting, I usually try to write it down. Talk about your small stories! But, at least this one has a moral.

This looks like a quiet place to stop and rest, but . . .


I paused by a forest pool to refresh myself and my mount.  I was kneeling and using my cupped hands to drink the cool, refreshing water when suddenly I heard a shout, and a man rushed out of the trees at me, his hands upraised as if he wanted to throttle me.

It surprised me, but I fear no man.  Lightly rising to my feet, I side-stepped his mad rush and drew my rapier in one clean motion.  As he turned to attack again, I foined at his neck and drove the keen blade through his bearded throat and out the back.  He fell down in a geyser of blood.  I dodged back so that none of it would soil my clothing.  He gasped and burbled, but he couldn’t speak and in about a minute he bled to death.

That was unpleasant.  I searched the body, but he had nothing on him but a peasant’s filthy ragged clothing and a poor knife of blunt iron–nothing that I would want, and nothing to tell why he attacked me.  Come to think of it, perhaps he had simply been happy to see me in that godsforsaken forest.  Now that I had a moment to think, I realized the shouts hadn’t sounded that angry.

Well, I had no way to bury him.  I dragged him away from the pool and left him behind some bushes–carrion for the forest wolves.  Filling my water bottles, I rode on and presently reached the city of Paris.

And the moral of the story, lads?  Never rush a fighting man, and stay out of my face!



Adventure of the Deerstalkers



Sherlock put on his hat and agreed to an outing.


The Adventure of the Deer Stalkers

      By Dan Lambert

 I have told many tales about how my friend, Sherlock Holmes, has solved some of England’s most vexing mysteries. I have never (until now) put my pen to the task of relating the tale of how one of Holmes’ idioms made its way into his vocabulary. I will break with that tradition today. We know Holmes’ idiom about eliminating the impossible. But here I will reveal the origin of another of my friend’s oft-repeated phrases. The phrase itself I will save for the end.

It was midmorning, in the Autumn of 1888.  Holmes had been wearing a path in the floor of our flat at 221B Baker Street. It was one of those periods of London history that Holmes deplored.  The city was devoid of criminal activity. I, too, was feeling the effects of boredom, being between marriages, and finding my medical practice to be excruciatingly slow. A story in the Times gave me a splendid idea for a diversion. The story was about a new statue being dedicated to one of England’s most beloved literary figures: Robin Hood. I had often jostled Holmes with predictions that the Crown would erect a statue in honor of him some day. Holmes’ usual response was that if such a statue were to portray him wearing that ghastly Deerstalker cap and Inverness cape, he would be the first to sneak in under cover of darkness and pull the abomination to the ground.

The idea I proposed to my friend was a mid-afternoon hunting excursion to Sherwood Forest. To my delight, Holmes agreed, and we were on a train within the hour.

Later that afternoon, we found ourselves in Sherwood Forest, the hunting grounds of that famous outlaw. Once there, I unwrapped a package containing artifacts I had purchased from a Belgian trader in Kabul: two beautiful, finely-polished shotguns.

Donning his much-maligned but necessary deerstalker and cape, Holmes loaded his shotgun, and led the way into the forest gloom.

 “Come, Watson,” he called.  Soon, we spotted a sixteen-point stag, and I promptly shot the beast through the heart.

At least, I thought I had shot the creature through the heart. In fact, I had merely dealt the stag a far from grievous blow. My marksmanship skills had apparently worsened since my army days.

     This stag, whom Holmes came to nickname “Moriarty,” eluded us for nearly an hour.  During that time, we had only Moriarty’s blood spoor to guide us, like a gory trail of bread crumbs in some variant on that German tale about the children and the witch.

     It was nearly sundown when we caught up with Moriarty.  We stopped short when we saw where the stag’s trail led us.  The spoor led directly into the entrance to the den of a cave bear!  As we approached the mouth of the cave, I imagined our hard-earned stag in the belly of a bear.  As we inched closer, our guns at the ready, I could hear the brazen glutton snoring from within the cave.

     Holmes whispered to me his intention to enter the lair.  “But Watson,” he admonished, “I want you to stay here.  If you spy me making haste from that cave, I expect you to provide covering fire.  And not to insult you, Old Boy, but please endeavor to let your aim be true this time.”

     Bracing my shotgun against a nearby oak tree, I aimed and waited.  Holmes crept into the cave, shouldering his own weapon as he went.

     After a few breathless minutes, Holmes returned from his excursion.

     It turns out that the bear had, indeed, devoured our beloved stag, although one part of Moriarty survived.  Holmes had managed to find it whilst searching the floor of the bear’s den.  The bear had spared part of Moriarty’s left foreleg: the creature’s hoof, to be precise.

     Holmes had managed to pocket this treasure and steal away with it, all the while managing not to awaken the sleeping bear.

     I learned all this immediately upon Holmes’ return to my sheltering oak.  “Holmes!” I exclaimed.  “You’re alive!”

     Putting his forefinger to his lips, Holmes admonished me to keep my voice down.  “Yes, my friend, I’m alive.  I’m afraid our game was not so lucky.”

     “Don’t keep me in suspense, Holmes,” I whispered.  “What has become of our game?”

     Holmes reached into the pocket of his coat, and, handing me the stag’s hoof, said with a grin, “Our game, my dear boy?  I hate to tell you this, Watson, but the game’s a foot!”



You can groan all you want now, but flash fiction frequently ends with a pun.  And, Sherlock Holmes is a beloved target for such activity.

I’m not always going to put myself first on the menu, but I am always going to try and give you at least one story by me each day.   Let’s leave Holmes and Watson heading back to London on a train and jump to the 21st century for my cautionary tale.   What if they weren’t wiped out by a huge meteor strike, but left the planet voluntarily before the cosmic axe fell on them?

It took the aliens a long time to find the United Nations Building in New York.


Message to the United Nations
     by Ken St. Andre

    The aliens looked an awful lot like dinosaurs.  They had very large brains, and wore a sort of shimmery metallic sarape for clothing–at least that’s how they showed up on television.  They did the usual thing for aliens, and seized control of all television broadcasts around the planet.  Astronomers said that there were close to a million ships in earth orbit out about the distance of the moon.  One minute space was normal and empty; the next moment radar showed it full of a million huge spacecraft–give or take a few thousand–it was real hard to get an accurate count.

    The alien on television had a very short message, and it repeated constantlly.  He obviously used some kind of mechanical translator, as the sound accompanying the picture was a combination of hisses and whistles and clicks.  An inflectionless metallic voice broadcast in English alternating with Chinese.

     The message was short and a bit perplexing.  It said, “You understand the concept of property.  Good.  Prepare for a message from the owner.”

     The message filled the airwaves for nearly a month.  It saturated the broadcast spectrum, much to the dismay of people on Earth, who had to find alternate means of communication.  Then a ship came in for a landing.

     The ship was like nothing ever seen on earth before–an eight-sided truncated pyramid made of a glowing green stone with a base one mile square.  It came down, quite slowly actually in New York City not far from the United Nations building.  As it settled a kind of klaxon sounded–so loud it could deafen a person in a single blast.

     Of course, there was no room for it to land, far too many buildings in the area in which it was settling.  It hovered for over an hour above the highest skyscraper.  All attempts to communicate were ignored.  Then it began to settle again, and it crumpled the steel tower of the building like it was soggy cardboard beneath a brick.

     Anyone with half a brain had already evacuated the area.  Now the rest of the population began to stream out of the landing zone.  Panic, confusion, chaos–and of course the U.S. Army had to arrive with tanks and jets and coptors and missiles.

     And as the ship came down, slowly crushing everything beneath it, and all communications failed, the military opened up with everything it had, all to absolutely no effect.  The bullets bounced off.  The explosions blew back into open air.  The ray weapons fizzled out.  And the ship came down.

     In the middle of the barrage, a great mechanical voice boomed out.  “Stop that!”  Seeing that their weapons had no effect at all, the Army stopped shooting.  Maybe someone remembered that there were a million more ships like this one in orbit.

     The alien ship finally reached the ground, and it settled down, down, down through the earth until it reached bedrock.  And there it sat for seven days and nights.

     Finally a portal opened in the smooth skin of the ship, and a ramp extended, and out floated a small army of dinosaur-aliens, 81 of them to be exact.  They were enclosed in a light blue forcefield, and they rode on platforms of green stone, and they didn’t touch the ground.  They made their way to the entrance to the United Nations, and used some sort of tool to dematerialize an opening in the building wall large enough for their party to float through.  Ignoring all the people who tried to block or guide them, they went directly to the assembly station.

The President of the United Nations put it as gently as he could, but finally had to ask, “Why are you here?”

The alien dinosaur barked at him.  “Exactly what we wanted to ask you!  Why are you creatures here?”

“This is our home planet.  We evolved here,” said the human.

“Wrong,” snapped the dinosaur.  “We evolved here and had a high civilization on this world more than 70 million years ago.  When we developed a star drive, we set out to explore the galaxy.  Now we have returned, and find that our planet has been infested with mammals.  And you’re ruining and polluting the world!  That has to stop, and we’re here to tell you we want our planet back!”

“What? You want the planet back?”  The delegates erupted into a maelstorm of shouting and noise.

“Since you seem to be marginally intelligent, the Galactic Council ruled that we could not just come in and wipe you out like the vermin you are.  But we can evict you,” snarled the dinosaur.  “This is your formal notice.  You have one hundred years to leave the planet, and if you’re not gone by then, you will be thrown off the planet with all the force at our disposal!”

The End

Creation, Evolution, Destruction, Slurp

Creation, Evolution, Destruction, Slurp

     by Ken St. Andre

     He was a minor god, living his humdrum life in the world of the gods, but he woke up one morning determined to create a world that day.  He entered the numinous room and gathered the material from which he would make his mini-universe.

     First he took the Sacred Container and filled it with the Water of Life.  He purified the Sacred Water for two eons.

     Then he took the Sacred Powder from the Sacred Rectangular Tin of Crimson and White and with the Holy Spoon of Creation poured the Earth upon the Sacred Water where it floated in a massive mountain.

     Let every nanosecond of god time equal 1000 years of world time, he decreed.  And evolution began.

     After 5 billion years, the god began to stir the mix.  The sky-towering mountain sank into the sea, and became one gigantic continent.  And still the waters swirled in divine agitation.

     The continent broke into many parts and became hundreds of islands, each continuing to melt into the sea in one cataclysm after another.  With one billionth of a second equal to 1000 years, the destruction of the earth was vast and slow, but inexorable.  A time came when all the land was gone.

     And then the god lifted up the world and drank his morning cup of coffee.

The End

It was the most beautiful world the minor god had ever made.


You have to admit, that may be the most trivial fiction you’ve ever read.  I’m very pleased to tell you that I have something just a little deeper for my second offering of the day.  Some people have started to send me flash fiction–or, at least, very short fiction at the email address I set up for the purpose.  If you’d like to see your work published here, please send it to:  It’s that simple.  Send it!  If it isn’t utter crap, I promise it will get published here at trollfic.  Even if it is utter crap, I may publish it.  One man’s slagheap is another man’s gold mine.


This is the skull of a Templar Crusader named De Molay. Is he the man in the story?


A lonely man in the City of the Gods

By M.Scott Verne & Wynn Mercere Copyright 2011

D’Molay sat at his hearth, staring into the flames. They moved and flickered, almost like they were dancing for him, or worse, beckoning him to join in their dance. He closed his eyes and managed to look away for a moment, trying to think of something else. Distraction was provided by the goblet of run sitting on the table. A swig from it swirled in his mouth then burned its way down his throat, sharp and sweet. He carelessly dropped the goblet on the floor. It rolled slowly away from him and caught the light from the flames, causing him to look upon them once again. “Well, that’s the last of the rum,” he said to the empty room. D’Molay’s voice was low and gravelly. He hadn’t said a word for hours, and he hadn’t drunk this much rum in a long time.

That desire to stare into the flames always came when he was near a fire and wasn’t in a rush to get somewhere. There were many flames in the City of the Gods: funeral pyres for high priests and treasured slaves; eternal flames devoted to various gods; candles or torches to light temples and dungeons; and fire hearths, much like his own, used for keeping warm on cold nights. Fortunately for him, he was usually in a rush and time allowed only glance at their heat as he passed them by. 

Opening the small wooden box next to his foot, he took out the silvery object and felt it in his hand. Without even looking at it, he knew its every edge and groove like it was a part of him. He smiled wanly. Once, long ago, it had been. D’Molay squeezed it one last time before tossing it into the flames.

The metal object sat atop of the fire logs, blackening as the heat and the flames did their work. D’Molay watched like a man entranced. He wanted to see every detail of what the flames would do and how his once treasured item might survive the heat.

After a moment, the scorched object seemed to relax on the top of its burning log bed.  Then it started to lose its shape and a trickle of brightest silver spilled over the log and disappeared into the glowing red coals. Finally, the whole mass of gleaming liquid metal flowed down the log and emerged at the bottom of the hearth’s black andirons. The silvery liquid formed a misshapen puddle on the ash-covered stone inner hearth. A few stray drops of the metal added themselves to the slowly congealing glob as it started to take on a grayish hue.

A tear formed in the corner of D’Molay’s eye and ran down his cheek as he beheld the fate of the object that had been the last vestige of a life that had no use for him here. He wiped his eye with the back of his sleeve and stood up. Well, that answers that question. It was made of pewter, not silver. The bitter thought echoed though his head as he walked across the room and headed upstairs for bed.

Unpublished Prolog from City of the Gods: Forgotten

See more at

Last Man Standing


He doesn't look nearly tired enough for this story.


Last Man Standing

By Ken St. Andre

The shouting had all died away.  Now all Narrli could hear was the heavy pounding of his own heartbeat in his ears, and the labored gasping of his own lungs, and the wheezing of his foe.  Through a haze of red he saw the blue glint of an axe blade descending toward his own head in what would be the killing stroke.  With a desperate effort he pulled his shield up to block, and got it there just in time.  The axe blade crashed through the leather and wood of the shield, forced his tired arm back, and crashed against his steel cap, but not hard enough to penetrate or even knock Narrli down.  In the next second Narrli brought his own battered sword around in mighty cut that severed the Viking’s wrist and jarred the bretwalda from his grip.  Reversing his stroke, Narrli swung his sword up through the Northman’s bushy beard and knotted neck tendons, half severing the head.  The big man toppled sideways and went down, spraying Narrli with a blood shower—perhaps his tenth for the day.

Narrli looked around for his next foe, didn’t see one immediately, let his sword tip drop to the earth and leaned on it, gasping, trying to catch his breath.  His shield hung down on his overtired arm beside his leg—the big war axe still embedded in it.  The three point stance helped considerably with the wobblyness in his knees.  If a foe had approached him then, he couldn’t have lifted his arms to save his life.

However, there didn’t seem to be any foes.  As he stood there, getting his breath, waiting for the ringing to fade out of his ears, enduring the dull bruised pain in his head from being hit a few times too often, his vision began to clear.  The battlefield was littered with bodies, islanders and raiders mixed in a maelstrom of death.  Narrli had heard of such battles, but never expected to be in one where he was the last man standing (the sole survivor).  At the moment, and considering how much his battered body ached from what seemed like hours of fighting, he wasn’t sure whether he was glad or not.

Then to Narrli’s dismay, one of the fallen pulled himself to his feet only fifty feet away from where the islander stood.  Judging by the horns on the man’s helmet, it was one of the Vikings.  

The two men stood glaring at each other across the battlefield.  “Just us, then?” said the Viking in a dialect close enough to his own for Narrli to understand him.  “Hey, islander, let us see who the gods truly favor today?”  The raider, armed with shield and seax started plodding toward him.

If Narrli had to swing his sword one more time today, he thought his arm might just fall off.  “Viking, all this killing has made me terribly thirsty.  Why don’t we just call it a draw and go get a drink somewhere?”

“I wish you had not mentioned drinking,” said the Viking as he stopped about ten feet away.  “I could really use one.  But who won the battle?”

“The way I see it, I’m the last man standing,” said Narrli, “so we islanders won the battle.”

The Viking scowled.  “On the other hand,” said Narrli.  “You are the last man standing on your side, and I wouldn’t contradict you if you said that your side won the battle.  If we fight, one or both of us might get killed, and that would ruin the storytelling.”

The raider thought about it for a minute.  “You must be a child of Loki the Cunning,” he said at last in admiration.  “I guess the longship is mine now, and there’s plenty to drink there.  Let’s go get that drink!”

The End


Not much actual fantasy in this story, but since it is set in Viking times the possibility of fantasy exists.

Questions for discussion:

1.  Do you think the two men became friends after the battle?

2.  One man can’t sail a longship by himself?  What became of the wounded Viking after the battle?

3.  Did one of the men kill the other in his sleep?  If so, which one?

4.  Since the Vikings were raiding an island settlement somewhere in the North Sea around the Orkneys perhaps, and most of the men came out to fight, could Narli or the Viking or both of them go back to the village and live the life of Riley as the only grown men on the island?

5.  Does that island settlement become easy pickings for the next Viking ship to come along, or would they manage to get reinforcements from some other nearby settlement in time?


You see?  Flash fiction can make you think.  Or if it’s not real thinking, at least it is speculation.  🙂


My plan is to run at least one of my own flash fictions here every day for the forseeable future.  I had this little story standing by, and it’s kinda long for flash fiction, but not too long.

I want to feature your fantastic flash fiction also.  Come on, all my talented friends.  Send me your shortest stories, and let’s put them up here.  So far I’m getting about 20 hits per day.  That’s not much, but think about it.  That’s 20 more people who read your story and see your name than there would have been if you didn’t participate.  If you can send a picture to go along with your story, that would be great, but if not, I can probably “borrow” something from the internet.

I have set up a special email account to receive your fiction, and I try to check it every day.  So far no one has sent me anything there, but I live in hope.  You can send your story to:  Jump in!  The water is fine.





by Michael K. Eidson

“Look,” said Rogar, “a bridge, out here in the middle of nowhere.”

“It’s not in the middle of nowhere,” replied Beliza, adjusting her black leather and chain mail skirt. “It’s between two mountains. It’s obviously a Troll bridge.”

“It must be ancient,” Rogar said as they drew closer to the structure. “All the Trolls are dead. Aren’t they?”

“There’s one way to find out.”

“How’s that?”

Beliza sat on a stone at the near end of the bridge. “Walk across it to the other side.”

The End . . . for Rogar.


Your story doesn’t have to be about trolls to get into Atroll’s Flash Fiction.  Any kind of fantasy will do.  Here’s another tale of mine.

Just a Dream?
    by Ken St. Andre

I thought it was a good party.  It had all the
ingredients for having a good time.  Hamburgers.
Girls.  Ice cream.  Girlz.  Champagne.  Grrlz.  Music.
Babes!  Woo Hoo! 

Yes, it was a good party.  But it finally ended some
time around four in the morning, and since it was my
house, I was stuck there at home, alone, with a big
mess to clean up.  I put all the loose trash and
discarded pieces of clothing in trash sacks.  I piled
all the dishes in the sink.  And then, head spinning,
I crashed.

And I had a very strange dream. 

I dreamed I was the Sun.  There were no pictures
really, just a sense of warmth and light.  And I was
in a conversation with other stars–actually something
like 100 billion different conversations with all the
other stars in the galaxy.  We weren’t speaking
anything like English, of course, and I only really
followed one conversation in my dream.

<<Have you ever wondered?>> I radioed, <<if we’re the
only form of intelligent life in the universe?>>

[[Not really,]] answered Alf, one of my two closest
neighbors.  [[Why do you ask?]]

<<Mostly because somebody else just recently started
talking around here.  Haven’t you noticed?  I think
there has been plenty of time for the signal to reach

[[I did notice, but I thought it was you.  The new
signal, which is pretty weak, but very, very fast and
chaotic, seems to be coming from you.]]

<<I’m not making it!>>

[[It certainly seems to be coming from you.  I thought
you were humming or something.  Where else could it
come from?]]

<<You know how our sense of gravity allows us to
experience other objects?>>


<<I have a lot of small cold objects orbiting me.>>

[[That’s common.  That cold matter is the condensed
remnants of our older comrades who have died.]]

<<One of them is producing all the talk.>>

[[Preposterous!  Those chunks of rock are too small
and too cold to ever develop a mind and

<<I think so too, but you can’t deny the signal

[[There’s a signal alright, but you’re making it.
That’s the only logical explanation.]]

<<I’m not making it.  Why would I do that?>>

[[Just to mess with my mind, I guess.  I wish you’d

<<I am not doing it!!!  You’re making me hot by not
trusting me!>>  And in my dream I felt as if I was
getting really really hot–maybe hot enough to nova.

Then I woke up.  The house was on fire, and I barely
got out alive.



That’s our flash fiction for today.  My thanks to Mike Eidson for contributing.  I’m going to be here a lot.  But, I’m serious.  If you’d like your flash fiction published here on Atroll’s Flash Fiction, then send it to me at:  There’s no money in it, and not much glory, but you’ll be published and getting a little free publicity from me.



Flash and let the world decide

Hi!  I’m Atroll.  I guess you could call me an internet troll, although I’m not going to be badmouthing people, places, or things.  I think internet trolls get a bad rep, and I’d like to change that.  Badmouthers, hate artists, other cantankerous people really shouldn’t be called Trolls.  Trolls are an ancient an honorable breed who guard bridges and serve as shock troops in fantasy armies.  They really have better things to do than hang around the internet.

Except for me.  I’m on the internet a lot.

Do you know what flash fiction is?  It’s not fiction about D .C.’s superhero character the Flash–though it could be.  It’s not about Marvel’s  Spider-Man character Flash Thompson–though it could be.  It’s not fiction about Flash Gordon–though it could be.

Flash fiction is short fiction that tries to get a point across, or evoke an emotional reaction, or make you smile or laugh.  It’s generally short on plot and characterization, but it makes up for that with cleverness or good writing.  It’s a story told in less than 1000 words.

Actually, shorter than 1000 words is better.  The shorter the better.  Here’s a flash fiction that I just made up for this blog.


     by Ken St. Andre

The northernmost bridge in the world spanned a nameless gorge high in the mountains near a glacier.  No path led to the bridge.  No path led away from it.  But there it was connecting two mountain flanks that would have been a day’s travel apart if one  had to descend to the bottom and then climb back up.

The last Troll in the world waited below his bridge, as he had waited for hundreds of years since he built it.  Trolls can be patient.  Now he heard voices–conversation.  Someone was coming.  More than one someone. 

“Look, Jon!  I believe that’s a bridge.  What the hell is a bridge doing way the hell out here?”

“Dunno, but it’s a very handy.  It will save a lot of hiking on our way to the top of Karn’s Krag.”

“Maybe it’s a Troll’s bridge.  The area is certainly wild enough.”

“Bwa ha ha ha ha!  Trolls!  There is no such thing as Trolls.  Do you believe in Trolls and Fairies and Santa Claus, Bill?”

“Nah, not really, but if there ever was a Troll, wouldn’t this be the perfect place for one?”

The two mountaineers started across the bridge.  Their footsteps echoed like thunder in the ears of the Troll.  When they reached the center, he sprang up to meet and eat them. 

“Do you believe in Trolls now?” he asked them.  But the only answer that he got was screaming.

The End.

So, that was flash fiction.  Maybe it isn’t very good, but I’m not going to make that call.  Did it make you smile?  It made me smile.  I like to think of that lonely isolated troll finally getting rewarded for his centuries of patience.

Do you have flash fiction inside you that wants to get out?  Have you been rejected by the internet flash zines?  Well, to hell with them and their pretensions of literary excellence!  Send me your flash fiction.  I’ll publish it here in this blog.  We don’t need our own website and zine.

A word of warning: I’m open to any fantasy-themed fiction.  But I won’t publish filth or incoherence.  You  have to be able to write and tell a story.  That’s really not too much to ask.

So, you want to see your flash fiction on the web here?  Send it in an email to:

Let’s do it!