Nasty, Brutish, and Short
Evil Flash Fiction by Patrick M. Tracy


Earlier, I posted a mechanism to get some story prompts by just rolling a six-sided die on a few tables. I’ve used it and found it to be great fun. So much fun, in fact, that I’m adding a few more categories here, to be used independently or with the other set of tables. It should be pointed out that some of these tables will contradict or jive poorly with the other tables. It may be wise to only use one or two of these in any given random story. That is especially true for the weird elements and nasty challenges.

As before, roll a d6 for each of the tables:

Point of View:
1) Third Person, Limited
2) Third Person, Omnicient (yes, actually!)
3) Second Person (Yeah, I know.)
4) First Person
5) Dueling First Person
6) Third Person, Limited (multiple POV characters)

1, 2, 3) Past Tense
4) Present Tense
5) Frame story with present/past
6) Future Tense (I can hear you squirm from here!)

Weird Element:
1) Character breaks into song
2) There’s a soliloquy or an aside
3) Two words: Interior monlogue
4) Full lingo in action: Middle English or some other affectation
5) Completely unreliable narrator
6) Character is dead at the beginning of the story

Nasty Challenge:
1) Main character is an A-hole
2) Main character has some horrible, intractable injury or ailment
3) Main character is dying of something
4) Character is seen as a traitor or hated for some past deed
5) Cowardice is strong with this one
6) Character is a nihilist

Structural Underpinning: (main character quality)
1) Tool of the system
2) Rebel against the system
3) Outcast from the system
4) Reluctant participant in the system
5) Dragged, kicking and screaming, back to the system
6) Total stranger to the system


By Patrick M. Tracy

So, you have to begin a story. You don’t know what you’re going to do. Something. Something clearly needs to be done. Ideas? Yeah. None of those around.

How can you get out of this soul-sucking well of despair? Well, if you have some dice, we can get you started. You’ll just need one six-sided die, actually. Probably a flat surface. An environment that features gravity. Possibly a writing utensil.

Use as many or as few of the categories as you wish. Re-roll if the combination turns into peanut butter and sauerkraut. Or don’t. Maybe it’ll be awesome to write a literary story from the point of view of an inanimate object in outer space. Stranger things have happened.

Have fun. Above all else, write some cool stuff.


1: Horror
2: Fantasy
3: Sci-Fi
4: For Realsies Lit
5: Romance
6: Western


1: Male
2: Female
3: Somewhere in the Spectrum
4: Not altogether human
5: Waay not human
6: Possibly an inanimate object

Plot Arc:

1: Person learns better
2: Person meets other person
3: Coming of age
4: Clever Tailor
5: Everyone gets killed in the face
6: Artsy and abstract shit no one understands


1: Grim n’ Gritty
2: Sad n’ Sobby
3: Heroic
4: Upbeat
5: Earnest
6: Haz Jokes, Much Funny


1: Normal Earth
2: Weird Earth
3: Not-Earth planet
4: Outer Spaaaace!
5: Like, real outer space
6: You’re going to have to explain, because it’s weird


By Patrick M. Tracy

Vera, Chuck, and Dave held the demon’s arms as I pressed the concrete cutter’s blade against its torso and revved the Husqvarna as high as it would spin. The creature’s scream dwarfed the sound of the saw, and I could feel the wetness of blood trickle down my neck as one of my eardrums burst. The armor parted, and I was into the flesh below after twenty seconds. The demon’s blood and tissue blew outward from the wound, having the consistency and coloration of apple sauce. It smelled like rotten chicken and burning feathers.

Sawing it in half calmed it down a little, but the bastard wouldn’t die. In the eleventh year of the war, we’d started to see stuff like that. They’d gotten tired of us mowing down their weaker troops, and finally started sending in the big muscle. Things had looked pretty grim for us, but we’d adapted. That’s what you do. Adapt or perish. Those of us on the line then, having seen years of war, were pretty inured to most of it, but when we had to do this, and it was happening more every year, it was still a shitty day.

It was only after sawing the head and arms off that the demon really began to hold still, with only the rare muscular action in the hands and the still-open and glaring eyes showing that it wasn’t dead. Unlike you see sometimes on a movie, things can’t talk when their heads are removed. No lungs to pump the air, even if they’re somehow alive. Like our demon here.

I had to stop for a minute. My shop safety glasses were so spattered with blood that it was hard to see, and my arms were shivering from leaning so hard on the concrete cutter. I looked at the blade. It was dull as a marble. “Shit,” I groaned. “Make sure those parts don’t start wriggling back together, huh?”

Vera nodded. They pulled the arms and torso well apart from the legs and head. I’d have to go through the pubic bone to get the legs apart, and that wouldn’t be a walk in the park. I’d need to change blades, maybe twice.

In another twenty minutes, I’d managed to disarticulate the two legs from each other and crack the chest cavity. The stink in the warehouse was making it tough to breath. Whatever demon innards were made of, they were nasty. I was exhausted, soaked with sweat and blood and demon filth. It was starting to get like this too often. It wasn’t my job. It wasn’t Vera’s, Chuck’s, or Dave’s, either.

I had limited energy to rail against it, though. As the saying goes, “It is what it is.”

“Vera, get the boxes. Guys, get the rock salt. I’ll drag the chain and spikes in.”

We had six boxes made from scavenged wood from pallets. They looked pretty iffy, but they’d hold as long as they had to. Long enough to get them down into the sub basement, anyway. After that, it was not our problem anymore.

Dave poured in a base layer of salt, then we hoisted each demon segment into the boxes. After pouring the rest of the salt over the top of each dismembered piece, I nailed the box tops on with long spikes, and we wrapped each one up with as much steel chain as we could fit on in one layer.

“That’ll do,” Vera said. “Let’s get ‘em on the cart.”

The torso box was unbearably heavy, and the four of us could barely hoist it, but we managed to get it on there. It took three trips to get all of the parts onto the dumbwaiter. We threw the door closed and hit the button. The sound of the whirring motor as the dumbwaiter descended filled the alcove at the side of the warehouse. As we waited for the confirmation that it had gotten to its destination, we started to kick out of the clothes we’d been wearing. They’d all need to go into the incenerator, and we’d have to spend an hour in the shower with industrial soap to get the smell off. By the time the panel lit up green, most of us were down to our bare skin. Vera’d been shy the first time, with her two brothers around, but you got to the point when you just didn’t care. We’d all been long past that point for months.

We gathered our clothes and fed them to the fire, trudging to the showers. Whatever happened to the remains down in the sub basement, we didn’t know. I swear that we didn’t. It would have been a luckier world by far, had we never found out.