SwankiVY's Short Stories

This page features my short fiction. You can either just choose a story at random or do a little reading and research through these materials to determine what you might like the best. If you do read something and have something to say, please leave a review or send me an e-mail!

The table of stories:

After She Comes Along Baby Talk Bad Fairy Bloom Brady
Clouds The Curse Dear God Derika & Emily The Escape
Everyone's Gay in Space Final Verses Glass Dawn Goodbye Grace
Her Mother's Child In Love With Love Just Like Stephen Modern Goddess Modern Goddess 2
Moonlight The Mother Mother's Day No Longer Junior On the Inside
Problem Recipe Protector Cat That Story about Fortune Cookie Girl Uncle Avery's Garden Wind
Your Terms

If you choose a story above without reading any explanations on the factsheets below, I take no responsibility for you being appalled, offended, or just plain bored with the contents.

Read reviews of any and all stories here.

For each story listed, the title button lets you read the story (if it's published); the reviews button lets you read and submit reviews; and the about button contains story length, POV, genre, date, and story information such as characters' names and roles, setting, and a general plot that's a little more in-depth than the short "hook" next to each story, as well as my inspirations for writing the story (if applicable). If any art related to the story exists, it will be linked on the about page.

AFTER SHE COMES ALONG: A girl walks into the woods and finds that someone's been waiting for her. Written in 2014.

GENRE/keywords: GENERAL FICTION: agency, woods, destiny
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You like a quick read; you want a story that explores the extent to which one person's desires should affect another person's actions.

BABY TALK: A baby's view of a great plaything: the telephone. Written in 1999.

GENRE/keywords: GENERAL FICTION: babies, language, child psychology
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You like a quick read; you think it would be fun to read a story that gets into the mind of an infant.

BAD FAIRY: Want to read the legend of Sleeping Beauty . . . from Maleficent's point of view? Turns out she wasn't such a bad fairy. . . . Written in 2000.(Note: I based a novel on this, and it's nothing like the short story.)

GENRE/keywords: FANTASY: fairy tale retelling, medieval period fantasy, fairies, magic, dark fantasy, reincarnation
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You like "other side of the story" tales, fairy tales, Sleeping Beauty, fairies, and stories written as if they are the character's autobiographies.

BLOOM: A coming-of-age story with a difference: Kamber Valerian is trying to find her place in the nature-based, Goddess-worshipping culture she was born to. Written in 2000.

GENRE/keywords: YOUNG-ADULT FANTASY: paganism, communes, goddess, coming of age, young adult, magic, women's spirituality, growing up, elemental magic, stream-of-consciousness.
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You don't mind novella-length stories; you like speculative fiction that's set in modern times with a little twist; you like realistic fantasy characters that are easy to relate to; you aren't annoyed by present-tense writing; you're interested in elemental symbolism; you like to be immersed in a story with an invented alternate culture.

BRADY: A little high school "drama" about a girl who's lonesome by choice and a guy who's popular against his will . . . and their eventual friendship. Written in 1999.

GENRE/keywords: YOUNG-ADULT FICTION: high school, popularity, unpopularity, fitting in, relationships, peer pressure, individuality
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You like a realistic teenage protagonist; you relate to having been either popular or unpopular in school; you want to read a story about a boy and a girl having a relationship that isn't necessarily romantic.

CLOUDS: Just a simple dialogue between a boy and a girl, about aims in life. Written in 1999.

GENRE/keywords: FICTION: growing up, life goals, dialogue, clouds
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You don't mind going into this knowing nothing really "happens" in the story; you like reading poised, deliberately phrased (almost old-timey) dialogue between characters; you're in the mood for a little vignette about two kids staring at the clouds and talking.

THE CURSE: Speculative fiction story about the day the vision of the world suddenly changed, and a young boy's part in it all. Written in 2002.

GENRE/keywords: SPECULATIVE FICTION: alternate culture, communes, post-apocalyptic, near-future, mythology, legend, tradition, archetypes, human nature, quest, coming of age
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You like the sort of story where an unnamed narrator talks to you a lot; you want to read about a slightly different quest motif that more or less demystifies itself; you like explorations of human nature; you want to read an interpretation of what would happen to the world if one event simultaneously affected everyone on Earth, and how that event would be viewed in the distant future.

DEAR GOD: A very short letter-like one-sided conversation with God, from the point of view of a middle-school boy. Written in 1998.

GENRE/keywords: YOUNG-ADULT FICTION, LETTER FORMAT: god, spirituality, prayer, preteens
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You want to get into the head of a little boy as he tries to talk to God; you're in the mood for some spiritual meandering; you like stories in kids' voices.

DERIKA & EMILY: One story with two versions, different depending on who's telling it! Two girls explain their understanding of Christianity and each other . . . based on one of them leaving the religion. Written in 1999.

GENRE/keywords: FICTION, RELIGIOUS DEBATE: religion, god, christianity, alternative religions, homosexuality, the bible, debate, friendship, salvation, faith
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You aren't offended by alternative religion or alternative sexuality; you've ever questioned your faith or had serious spiritual misgivings about Christianity; you're interested in seeing what happens to these two girls' friendship when one remains committed to her religion and the other has decided she no longer believes.

THE ESCAPE: An elementary school girl retreats from the pressing reality of growing up. Written in 2001.

GENRE/keywords: FICTION OR CHILDREN'S FICTION: growing up, coming of age, childhood, adulthood, moving, friendship, elementary school
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You're interested in a philosophical look at growing up pitched in a thoughtful preteen's voice; you like stories that show fairly realistic interaction between children; you've ever felt like you're not ready for the next stage of your life yet; you like the conundrum of a child who is conflicted about whether she wants to grow up.

EVERYONE'S GAY IN SPACE: A straight man meets his gay clone and questions his identity. Written in 2014.

GENRE/keywords: SCIENCE FICTION: lgbt, gay, clones, cloning, astronauts, space travel, identity, homophobia, genetic engineering
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You're okay with unlikable protagonists; you're pro LGBT; you're interested in matters of how much identity is dependent on genes.

FINAL VERSES: Very short poetic piece about great work right before death. Written in 1999.

GENRE/keywords: SPECULATIVE FICTION: death, revelations, poems, poetry, legacy
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You want to read something very short; you're interested in (and not creeped out by) the subject of death; you like the idea of reading something about a man exploring what he wants his last message to be.

GLASS DAWN: This gives talking to yourself a whole new meaning; Dawn talks to a personified version of her childhood, and discusses her past's role in her present. Written in 1998.

GENRE/keywords: YOUNG-ADULT FANTASY: childhood, coming of age, growing up, personality, alter-ego/alternate personality
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You're curious about the role people's childhood should have in their lives; you like dialogue; you like realistic stories with a decidedly fantastical spin on them.

GOODBYE: A breakup letter . . . with a big difference. Read it and see. Written in 2000.

GENRE/keywords: FICTION: relationships, abusive relationships, breaking up, religion
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You've ever been disillusioned in a relationship; you want to read something short; you're not too squeamish about having any of your beliefs challenged.

GRACE: A somewhat metaphysical "coming-of-age" story, detailing a girl's ritual to bring her into adulthood—told by the girl's mother. Written in 1997.

GENRE/keywords: YOUNG-ADULT FANTASY: childhood, coming of age, growing up, alternative sexuality/lesbianism, magic, alternative culture, paganism, motherhood
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You'd like to read one of my shorter stories; you aren't put off by the idea of lesbian relationships; you'd like to see a slightly fantasy-oriented alternate culture; you like coming-of-age themes; you want to see the experience of a child going through a rite of passage through her mother's eyes.

HER MOTHER'S CHILD: A rewrite of "Grace." A mother who experiences anxiety over her ability to parent her peculiar daughter learns to give the right advice. Written in 2013, sold (but not yet published) to Kaleidotrope.

GENRE/keywords: FANTASY: childhood, coming of age, growing up, alternative sexuality/lesbianism, magic, alternative culture, paganism, motherhood
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You like stories featuring queer female characters; you enjoy invented fantasy cultures that don't beat you over the head with world-building; you are intrigued by family dynamics and mother/daughter relationships.

IN LOVE WITH LOVE: A woman sees a therapist because she's concerned that she does not know how to love her son. Written in 2012.

GENRE/keywords: FICTION: modern, family relationships, therapy
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You like characters with atypical world views and unusual perspectives on human relationships; you like the idea of reading a story that's mostly a conversation between a woman and her therapist; you've ever wondered about the parent-child bond and whether it's the same for everyone.

JUST LIKE STEPHEN: A young man who has always striven to follow in his brother's footsteps now has to find his own path or suffer the same fate. Set in the world we know, but with one very important difference. Written in 2005.

GENRE/keywords: MODERN FANTASY: magic, sibling relationships, alternate-world, special powers
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You like "me-against-the-world" themes; you want to read one of my better short stories; you like angsty characters; you're interested in "our-world-with-a-twist" stories; you like the occasional stupid customer story.

MODERN GODDESS: A girl with a very bad attitude comes to believe that she is apparently the daughter of God. This is her story. Written in 1997.

GENRE/keywords: MODERN FANTASY: special powers, god, religion, teenagers
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You don't mind absolutely horrible foul language and blasphemy; you're interested in the irreverant ravings of an offensive teenager who doesn't appreciate her specialness; you want to read something humorous but sort of disturbing.

MODERN GODDESS 2: The bad-attitude goddess is back with more observations, having made progress uncovering her God-given gifts but somehow having gotten no closer to knowing what they mean. . . . Written in 1997.

GENRE/keywords: MODERN FANTASY: special powers, god, religion, teenagers
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You don't mind absolutely horrible foul language and blasphemy; you read the last one and you want to know what happens to the protagonist.

MOONLIGHT: Longish story about a girl who lives in a dark cave . . . follow her recollections of experiencing the outside world for the first time, and her reasons for wanting to return. Written in 1995.

GENRE/keywords: SPECULATIVE FICTION: childhood trauma, self, society, growing up, culture
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You don't mind novella-length stories; you want to read my earliest "real" short story; you like introspective, dreamy characters; you don't mind the idea of reading a story that's basically one giant flashback.

THE MOTHER: A futuristic short story with several "mother" themes; mostly dealing with the very personal alienation involved in being away from Mom. Written in 1999.

GENRE/keywords: SCIENCE FICTION/SPIRITUAL FICTION: humans colonizing other planets, spirituality, family, loss, tragedy, wicca, paganism, loneliness, distant future, mother
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You are interested in the connection between a person and the planet; you are open to stories featuring characters of Pagan religions; you like sentimental yet sad stories; you're touched by the "mother" theme whether it's metaphorical or literal.

MOTHER'S DAY: Science fiction short story set far in the future . . . a boy is born four hundred years after his mother is dead. See how he celebrates Mother's Day. Written in 1999.

GENRE/keywords: SCIENCE FICTION: distant future, mother, cloning, identity, time travel, family, science, genius, music
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You want to read about a character who is a clone; you're interested in the importance of music on a person's identity; you like stories about possible futures; you want to hear the introspections of a really intelligent but really confused kid.

NO LONGER JUNIOR: Speculative story about a teenage boy who thinks he is ready to take on the responsibility of caring for his family if his father is killed in the war. Written in 2000.

GENRE/keywords: FICTION (WAR): coming of age, war, death, responsibility, growing up
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You like stories that explore the effects of war on the home front; you don't mind some slightly disturbing, selfish thoughts from the protagonist; you like the idea of an eldest son wondering what his place is in his family if his father dies.

ON THE INSIDE: A child born into a very sex-segregated polytheistic culture has to figure out her place in her society, because despite being designated as male at birth, she's female in her mind. Written in 2012.

GENRE/keywords: SPECULATIVE FICTION: gender, coming of age, transgender, transgender children, male-to-female transgender, pagan culture, polytheism, gender roles, family dynamics, elemental magic
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You don't mind reading novella-length stories; you like stories that question gender; you want to read from the perspective of a girl who's been sure of her gender since early childhood despite being labeled a boy; you enjoy portrayals of fictional Pagan societies; you aren't annoyed by present-tense writing; you're interested in elemental symbolism; you like to be immersed in a story with an invented alternate culture.

PROBLEM RECIPE: One of my unusual "present tense" stories about a girl with three problems: her boyfriend won't eat her cooking, her mother complains all the time, and her teacher seems to hate her poetry. She just needs a lucky penny. Written in 1999.

GENRE/keywords: FICTION: college, cooking, identity, poetry, relationships
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You're interested in discussions of poetry; you like characters who learn to trust themselves; you don't mind reading in the present tense; you want to see a story in which three seemingly unrelated elements are tied together by common circumstances.

PROTECTOR CAT: Strange story about a street-punk kinda guy whose mind does not seem to be put together right. A typical few hours in his life. Written in 1999.

GENRE/keywords: EXPERIMENTAL FICTION/SCIENCE FICTION: memory, gangs, special powers, identity, relationships
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You don't mind foul language; you like stream-of-consciousness, moment-by-moment narration; you're interested in people with quirky minds and quirky memories.

THAT STORY ABOUT FORTUNE COOKIE GIRL: Girl meets boy. Girl puts boy in the hospital. Girl falls in love, but boy is engaged. And not interested. And not straight. Where's your destiny now?

GENRE/keywords: CONTEMPORARY FICTION: lgbtq, story tropes, stalkers, destiny, romantic comedy, bisexual, asexual, queer
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You don't mind queer characters and occasional sexual language, you enjoy seeing romantic comedy tropes getting turned on their heads, you like meta stories with weird storytelling techniques, you want to see parts of the LGBTQ rainbow that don't often get a spotlight.

UNCLE AVERY'S GARDEN: "Should I or shouldn't I?" In a sentimental fiction story, a college student wrestles with a moral dilemma of breaking a promise to a dearly departed favorite uncle. Written in 2001.

GENRE/keywords: SENTIMENTAL FICTION: seize the day, family, death, aids
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You enjoy the idea of a story depicting a person finally getting someone's message long after they're gone; you don't mind reading something slightly sentimental; you relate to being broke in college; you want to read a fresh take on "seize the day" themes.

WIND: Ever heard of a "Christmas fairy"? Well, Thomas hasn't, but there's a girl at his door claiming to be one, and he might just fall in love with her even if he doesn't know how real she is. Written in 2006.

GENRE/keywords: ROMANTIC FANTASY: magic, reality, fairies, christmas, bereavement, romance, supernatural
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You don't mind a little bad language or slight sexual suggestions; you want to read an honest fantasy set in modern times; you like the idea of a protagonist who doubts the existence of magic even when it seems to be right in front of him; you like stories about romances between humans and magical creatures; you don't mind reading a novella-length story.

YOUR TERMS: An agoraphobic young woman gets a visit from a friendly neighbor, with story elements that tie in with the Pandora's Box myth. Written in 2014, sold to Timeless Tales.

GENRE/keywords: CONTEMPORARY FICTION: agoraphobia, friendship, pandora's box, fairy tale retelling
YOU'LL LIKE IT IF: You think a modern Pandora's Box-inspired story sounds interesting; you would like to see more respectful portrayals of people with mental health issues (e.g., they don't "get cured" as the purpose of the story); you like lots of dialogue.

And here's something cute for you trivia fans: My first real short story from when I was a kid. It was written March 15, 1989, when I was in fifth grade. Even as a child I wrote science fiction type stuff. Read it here: "Wendy West Saves the World."

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