A recent article on psychosurgery that I just encountered:
Laser Psychosurgery from Wired.
Which has some bearing on my story A Serious Game (and on OCD treatments).
“The kitchen is rustic and about 150 square feet.”
The real estate agent didn’t have to sell any more. Kathy already loved it! She’d always wanted a kitchen like this one. Spotless, it felt like a detergent commercial should be shooting!
“I’ll take it.”
“Thought you might,” purred the agent, and pointed out where Kathy should sign the paperwork.
Later, as Kathy was unpacking, dirty dishes appeared in the sink. The trash bin was overflowing. The kitchen doors and windows were sealed shut.
The agent greatly enjoyed her new vampire abilities, particularly the hypnosis. Trapping fresh meals was ludicrously easy.
100 words. Inspired by this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt:
*Not a typo.
“Don’t they look happy?” Betty asked. “Swimming around in that huge aquarium, they’re fed and cared for, and haven’t a care in the world.”
Henry Limpet suspected that there had to be a catch. There’s always a catch. Like those stories that he spent so much time reading, there’s always a hook, always the unexpected surprise ending. He began looking suspiciously around the tank for the shark, the baited fishhook or the fishing net.
“Look at them out there. I’m telling you, they’ve got it made. They don’t have any worries or troubles at all. You’ll never see one of them madly swimming for their lives with some shark on their tail.”
“You’re right, Nemo. When’s the last time you saw one of them gasping for air, dying of the fin rot or floating belly-up?”
“Now boys, stop the lollygagging and hurry along,” said Mrs. Guppy. You know what they say: ‘The water’s always cleaner on the other side of the tank’.”
160 words. In response to this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers prompt:
“I’ll tell you what we need, and that’s a sweet young hostage.” The Dark Lord scowled at his skeleton troops. “The Hero has a Love Interest, they always do. Send a batwing patrol immediately and bring her to me.”
“Yes sir.” Captain Fodder set the plan into motion.
Dark Lord began to pace. This was obviously the Training Sequence, when both armies made their final preparations before the Big Climactic Battle. It bought time to raise and arm more skeletons, but it also gave the hero more time to train his peasant army with the use of basic spear and archery techniques. At least this sequence didn’t particularly favor either side.
“Fodder, we need to get the troops marching on the castle well before dawn. If we can arrive before their Clever Traps are set up, it will save a lot of pain in my arse.”
“Of course sir, I’ll start them marching by two. It’s not like skeletons need sleep anyway.”
“We’ve got to get over the wall and retrieve that Nercronomicon before the Hero ever takes the field.”
“Why don’t you just send the air force in, Sir? Snatch the thing and run?”
“I’m not sure. Whenever Dark Lords have superior air power, they never seem to use it sensibly. I suspect it would shorten the plot buildup too much. No, we’re contractually required to move in by land.”
Fodder sighed, “Of course, your Badness.”
At that moment, the batwings returned with the Sheila.
“Give me some sugar, baby,” the Dark Lord delivered the standard misogynistic magic words, and negotiated the evil kiss despite her ridiculously ineffective struggles. In a few moments, she was bound to Darkness as his new Evil Queen.
Black magic rocks that way.
“That’s the last thing we need, get the army moving, Fodder.”
Well before sunrise, the undead army quietly surrounded the tiny, sleeping castle. Neatly avoiding several Standard Pitfalls, Fodder moved his army in quietly while hidden in the darkness, unseen by the sleepy wall guards. No reason to get the Hero out of bed before Evil is set up.
The scaling ladders went up on all four sides of the castle and armed skeletons poured onto the battlements. The screwhead human forces were quickly butchered, the gates opened, and the Dark Couple strode triumphantly inside.
“Still no Hero?” the Dark Lord paced the courtyard, perplexed.
“Not a sign of him, sir.”
“I just don’t understand. No Necronomicon either?”
Bad Ash had considered every contingency, covered every plot twist, and prepared for every trap. There just wasn’t any way he could lose this time. He hadn’t even Monologued to inform the enemy of all his plans. What power of good hadn’t he guarded against?
“Sir…” Fodder spoke with great reluctance.
“Are we… Is this the right castle, sir?”
Nooooo! Overcome by the greatest and most ridiculous of all Good Guy powers, Unrestricted Serendipity!
499 words, inspired by this week’s Finish That Thought #2-49 prompt.
It was the latest gadget, a replacement for those old-fashioned reflecting pools and crystal balls. As a bonus, it could even operate for several days between recharges.
“Do we still own stock in Alchemical Components Supply?”
“I don’t think so. Pretty sure mum sold off the last of it after my wedding.”
Beneficent wouldn’t stop examining the “fairest in the land” currently displayed in full color on the ScryPad™, a gorgeous semi-nude depiction of herself, reclined.
“Stop admiring yourself, you bloody narcissist.”
Angrat’s angry scowl replaced the previous image, and the brand new tablet promptly cracked—warranty voided, no refunds.
100 words. Prompted by this week’s Picture It & Write prompt:
In a few hours, they’re going to burn out a part of my brain. It’s my sister’s fault.
She bought it for my sixth birthday. It’s a solitaire game, just a piece of sanded pine cut with a router and thirty-three marbles, exactly. I remember being disappointed after I opened it.
I played the game and tried to enjoy it anyway. Counting the marbles as I laid them out on the board, counting them again each time I put them away.
One day I noticed that the layout of the holes was imperfect. Several of the marbles were off center from the neat, orderly lines they’re supposed to form. The dimples in the wood are misaligned, which really bothers me.
The universe needs much more order and precision, don’t you think?
There are exactly ninety-seven grains across the playing surface of the set; I’ve re-confirmed the count many times. I soak the marbles in a jar of alcohol every night to kill the germs. Sometimes, my hand shakes while I carefully count out the thirty-three marbles, and I leave bloody fingerprints. That’s from the repeated hand washing.
They’re going to try gamma ventral capsulotomy, the gamma knife. I blame Jenny.
200 words. Prompted by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:
The kids just stand quietly and stare with open mouths. I can’t imagine what it must be like to see the Pacific for the very first time.
At home on Mars, “oceans” are empty wastes of iron oxides and dust. These kids struggle to stand at one G, and they look horribly emaciated by our standards. Here in Malaysia, the gravity is triple what’s normal for them, and I fear a fall that snaps one of their Martian-thin leg bones.
Just one more stop before they go back to the military hospital. “O.K. kids, who wants some McDonalds and Marlboros?”
100 words. Inspired by this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers prompt:
It occurs that a little explanation may be in order–in Malaysia, kids are actively encouraged to become smokers. The cigarette companies wield enormous political and economic power over the Malaysian economy.
“Now we come to ol’ Prometheus. You probably remember his story, pissed off Zeus, chained to a big rock, eagle pecking out his liver, yada yada. Well, after Heracles came through, we had an unemployed titan wandering around for a while, so the Boss put him to work.”
Virgil indicated the big guy struggling against the weight of a titanic (literally) chain that his massively muscled shoulders supported.
“Though this is a new attraction, Boss says that Prometheus suffers from a classic Barnum problem—‘there’s a new one born every minute.’ Prometheus is the anchor for the Chain of Fools.”
100 words. Inspired by this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt: