Worms & More – New Release, Science Fiction Short Story Collection Available Now
What if the living were already dead? What if worms purified worlds? What if you missed out on the age of teleportation? What if alien hitchhikers traveled in mind instead of in body?
Expanding the concepts of everyday possibilities, the author of this must-read anthology sets focus on one core purpose: Satisfy the curiosity that resides in every reader of science fiction and fantasy short stories. Immerse yourself in the minds and activities of dynamic characters caught up in extraordinary events.
Worms & More: One writer, many stories. Some previously published — several written for this collection
A collection of Rm Harrington Science Fiction Short Stories
Some of the stories in Worms & More are free-to-read on this website. However, many are new to the collection and can only be viewed via purchase of the collected works. Unless you happen to have Kindle Unlimited. In that case you can read the ebook version of Worms & More for free on Amazon.
Sample from the featured novelette in the collection:
Worms & More, From Airbornes: Bjorn and the Floating Nests
Chapter I: Surface Burns
They woke to the rumble of a surface quake.
Smoke and fire seeped through a splintered gap in the floorboards of the main living room, but the bulk of the first wave centered in the girl’s bedroom.
Pine logs along the east wall groaned as the wood twisted and then splintered free of the bindings. The rearmost section of ceiling and roof heaved upward and then drooped but held. Furniture bounced across the room like building blocks on a trampoline.
Icy winds rushed through new gaps in the sod insulation. A throat-closing reek settled throughout the cabin. Everything was burning, breaking apart and collapsing.
“Essentials, nothing but essentials,” shouted Nukilik as his two daughters burst into the living room already dressed and carrying outdoor clothing in hand. One tall and one short, they moved through the darkness like stick figures outlined by the red haze of an open fire pit.
Nukilik pulled on his winter boots and stood up, but his wife, Amka, was already out the door and making certain her girls were not injured. For a big man, Nukilik was quick, but Amka was quicker still.
From the loft came three tightly wrapped bearskin bedrolls and then the boys jumped to the main landing. Thump. Thump, thump. Running and shouting from all sides. From outside came the electric sizzle of nearby lightning followed by the boom of overhead thunder. Like thieves shifting through flickering light, they all snatched things out of the food cupboard and off the walls: coats, supplies, and weapons, staggering as the floorboards continued to sway and buckle, and then going out the front door, each one shouting a name in the passing:
“Tulugaak,” followed by, “I got Kallik.”
And then, just as the entire rear of the cabin vanished into a growing and glowing rip in the floor and ground, out came both parents one behind the other.
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Outside, flames consumed ice. Calamity everywhere: Winds howled; sleet and snow swirled; molten rock spewed from beneath the ruptured ground. The nearest neighbors, Kanalik and Philip, came running and shouting, but a sudden parting in the ice sucked them down like leaves drawn into the swirl of a blazing campfire. Many others were also missing.
To Nukilik, his wife, three sons, and two daughters, the world appeared to be melting. Flames, smoke, wind, thunder, and lightning came from everywhere.
During the scramble to get out of the cabin, Amka had snagged up several critical items, including a spider-silk guide rope. They fled north, but when they were far enough ahead for a brief pause, they formed a human chain and tied off one to another with Nukilik taking the lead position. They went Upworld not because it seemed a better direction than any other, but rather because the angel from old had declared north as the only path to safety. It seemed foolish. There were no humans in that direction. Upworld was a region long left behind, a deadly wilderness occupied by wild beasts, genetically altered humanoids and malformed bio-mechanicals that were left over from the old war.
“Got to find a place with clear vision,” Nukilik shouted, thinking for somewhere that might have less wind. “If we get separated, make your way to the bridge at Silla gorge.”
Tied in second on the guideline, Nukilik’s middle son, Cupun passed the message to his younger brother who sent it down-line until it finally reached their mother in the rear.
Nukilik was a big man in mass as well as height. When he moved forward, the rope tightened, and no one lagged. Because they slept at the ready for instant cold, everyone had gotten out with enough boots and clothing. Survival in freezing winds came naturally to ice dwellers.
Although there was no time for inventory, Nukilik felt confident that both girls had snatched up ready-packs from the hooks near the doorway. Long-term survival lay in automated salvage of all possible gear and weapons. But there were no guarantees; they could be sorely short on supplies.
The village was gone, sucked down into one of the random hellholes that continued to open from all sides. Other stragglers could be nearby; perhaps merely just beyond the spray of snow, ice and fire, their voices lost to the howl of the wind and the rumbles from the ground.
More people could increase their chances of long-term survival, but right now, Nukilik banked only on himself and his family – and perhaps the Marlin he had snatched down from above the bed. If memory served correct, the magazine contained four bullets and maybe one additional in the chamber. There would have been more, but by the time he had reached the living room, the quake had already taken out the shelves along the left sidewall. Most items had been on fire or scattered beyond rapid recovery, including the only boxes of extra ammo.
He was pretty sure that Kallik, his youngest son, had saved an aged Gransfors mini hatchet. It was the lad’s favorite tool. No one, not even Nukilik, was more accurate with a hatchet than Kallik.
He also thought one of the girls, perhaps Adlartok the oldest, had salvaged a bow with arrows, as had his wife. Hopefully, Cupun had laid hold to his Heckler & Koch P7. The kid was quicker than raindrops on a clear night and almost always slept with the pistol near his bed. And, of course, Tulugaak, the oldest boy, would have a knife as well as the only electronic fiber-spear that had existed in the village. Thus, Nukilik determined that things at hand would be enough for the short run of it. After all, everyone in his family was competent at defense, hunting and long-term survival.
In some places, the snow was waist deep. In others, the ground was bare, wet and blackened by fire. The winds seemed confused by the rapid environmental changes, sometimes blowing cold and icy and other times gusting with the choking stench and heat of a timberline forest fire.
But the further north they traveled, the more they gained on the calamity. Quakes, lava and storms typically moved slowly. Nukilik was surprised that the destruction had caught the village off guard. They had watched it coming but had also expected months of readiness time. Now the plans for an orderly exodus were no better than roadside waste. Like midnight revenge against all things known and trusted, the destruction was here. And it was getting worse, just like the angel had prophesied.
None of them knew that they were on the outskirts of the most comprehensive cleansing catastrophe in the history of the planet.
End of sample chapter from Worms & More
Worms & More
Working Notes For Bjorn and the Floating Nests
The airbornes live on a cloud-covered earthen platforms in the sky. Here, all structures are made of wood. Wooden windmills provide power. Wooden airships enable movement from the nests to the earth.
One huge single tree grows up from the earth, supporting the entire nest platform, it’s branches fully integrated into their culture. Homes are crafted from a mixture of living branches from the main tree and from harvested wood carried up from the earth. Homes are open air yet contained with a certain measure of harvested wood. The airbornes nest among the branches, yet they engage in human type activities.
From the floor of the platform, great tubular trees with twisted branches extend high above, spreading out green pads like lilies pads to draw sunlight from the outer edges of the clouds.
Other plant life consists of submersible floating plant types with long tenticles attached to the ground. Grass is more on the line of seaweed.
Ideas for types of plants here…
Look and behavior of the airbornes
The airbornes look somewhat like Clearnose Skate Rays. However, they have no need for nostrils and gills but rather breath through the blood vessels near the surface of their transparent skin. Thus the nostrils found on the underside of a real Clearnose Skate are replaced by eyes in the airbornes.
For detailed description of a Ray’s body, check here…
Like rays swimming in water, the airbornes use their Pectoral fins for flight through the clouds. However, these creatures also have arms and hands, perhaps three fingered and with opposing thumb-claws. When not hovering via their pectoral fins, they stand upright on spiny bird-like legs. Like all fish-type creatures, the airbornes must remain in a moist environment.