Tag Archives: SpecFic

Trumped Again

The workers climbed in the scaffolding, attempting to bridge over a small section of the construction north of Matamoros. They lacked the marvelous tools and technology of the previous century, and the wall resisted their simple hammers and chisels. Without explosives, the current plan called for going over the top, but progress was slow and food supplies short.

The Monsanto plague wiped out the breadbasket crops and worked its way into the soil and ecosystem. The dust clouds made the construction effort more difficult.

All of the remaining arable land on the continent lay south of the Folly, in Mexico.

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100 words. For this week’s Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers prompt:

See also: Trumped

Queued

What can I tell you? This is the greatest job.

Herding the tours onto the bus is less than spectacular, I suppose. Every group seems to have one particularly large, aggressive guy who had beer for lunch. The Family Units are all right, as long as their kids don’t scream too much.

But the pay is sweet, fifty grand per load, and it’s easy enough to drive another group out to the desert and have another “breakdown.”

You’d think they’d catch on, just from the name. “Tour Beautiful Fly Canyon.” Flies and the undead go together like helpless and tourist.

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt:

Just Like Paradise

Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt Bzzzt *thud*

Blrergharghgroan No please, not yet. Just a few more minutes, please let me sleep.

Yeah, yeah. You’re going to nag me about responsibility and shit until I get in the shower, aren’t you? My mouth tastes like litter box. That’ll motivate anybody right out of bed.

As I take off my wristwatch in preparation, I notice it’s glowing faintly blue. Wow, that looks weird. I can even see the gears whirling inside.

I fiddle with the watch stem, and I notice the sun…going back down again. Turn it forward, and the sun rises once more.

Gamers are familiar with third-person view, somewhere over the left shoulder of your avatar, staring over his back at the world. Rolling the watch stem forward, my body got dressed, had breakfast, went to work; all with me watching, a spectator. Everything was moving fast forward, a literal blur.

I watched me working on autopilot. Hah, I always knew deep down that was possible! I can stay solvent without ever experiencing the tedium. At the end of the workday, I stopped winding, and everything snapped back to normal.

The implications are enormous. I’ll finally get enough sleep!

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Genesis

“Come on then, Jones, it’s your turn to give us a tale, mate.”

Jones had planned his tale during the previous traveler’s story and sat up on his robomule, ready to begin.

“Quite so. My lords and ladies, during my travels I have been many places and seen much. The tale I offer today is tragic, and true. It’s about a lady I met in the Lesser Magellanic who had more than forty thousand children.”

“Protraxilone is a frontier colony, and it would be idyllic if it were located elsewhere. Because it’s in the Cloud and its primary is part of an x-ray binary system, the local background radiation is enormous. Genetic damage is inevitable, and the birth defect rate is nothing short of tragic. For years, the Protraxan mothers had relied on IVF using imported ova, because of the risk.

That is, until Rothchild Zaggerty and his family arrived. Doctor Zaggerty set up a carefully shielded genetics laboratory and took on new patients immediately. He offered a new process, artificial oogenesis, the creation of new and healthy ova using the mother’s natural genes present in any tissue sample. Since the DNA came from healthy cells of the mature mother, he claimed, the new ova were free of damage from ionizing radition and could be stored in shielded containment until needed.

Protraxian mothers were thrilled, naturally. For the next fifteen years, ‘Zaggerty Eggs’ were involved in the majority of all childbirth. Not coincidentally, Doctor Zaggerty’s clinic made him a fortune, until genetic testing eventually revealed the disturbing truth. An entire generation, just about forty thousand children, all had the same mother.

Zaggerty’s process wasn’t anything like what he claimed. He’d actually harvested tens of thousands of immature ovum in the dictyate stage from his own pre-pubescent daughter. These oocytes were thereafter artificially maturated and produced as ‘miraculous Zaggerty Eggs’ whenever necessary. He took an enormous shortcut, completely unethical in every way. Thousands of Protraxan ‘natural’ mothers are unrelated to their children.

Doctor Zaggerty’s eventual fate was, well, ugly.

His youngest daughter Eva turned out to be uninvolved in the conspiracy. Eva is now the all-mother, oddly venerated by Protraxan society, yet has never given birth herself. Not her fault her dad was the most hated man of an entire world.

She enjoys fruity cocktails, you know.”

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385 words. Inspired by this week’s Flash! Friday prompt. It’s a Canterbury Tale, of sorts.

(I actually went to sleep last night without an idea, and sat up in bed well after midnight with a dream–so I missed the deadline, but had a story.)

These write-it-before-midnight challenges just don’t seem to work the same way my subconscious does. That’s okay, it’s almost double the desired length anyway.

Nor am I an expert human geneticist. To do this tale right, I’d need to interview one, get the details right, and reproduce this tale at short-story or novella length.

Peace Begins with a Smile, not a Beak

“So you brought me another olive branch? Where do you even find an olive tree in Manhattan, Harry?”

“I just find them,” he mumbled. “I know, I know, our nest already has so many of the bloody things. Olive branches are supposed to be a symbol of peace. So how come we always have to fight about them?”

“We’re peace symbols,” Sally said. “I’m pretty sure the olive branch is just a stick. All from that Noah story, olive branches just indicate that land is somewhere close. Like a symbolic ‘Land Ho’ for boys on the big boat doing the flood control refugee number.”

“They make perfectly serviceable nesting material.”

“When you have too many they only make the whole nest smell of olive oil. We need something lighter and fresher. Could you look around for some citrus branches, maybe some nice pine or evergreen, Harry?”

“Where am I going to find citrus in Manhattan?”

Sally pointedly pecked at the latest olive branch, and at Harry.

“Okay, okay, I promise I will look around for something else. It’s harder to find anything good down there these days. Everything is so empty and overgrown.”

“I know. I really miss humans, sometimes.”

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200 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

August 16th 2015 Pair of loved up doves

It’s Always the Quiet Ones

“It’s pistachio, your favorite. Happy birthday, Sara!”

As expected, the bait worked beautifully. My ex-wife could never resist ice cream for her birthday.

You’re probably not familiar with plasmids and lateral transfer. A plasmid is a ring of DNA that can live within an existing cell and can replicate independently. The fascinating bit is they can pass genetic information between hosts, even between species, via lateral transfer.

Targeted viral weapon loads, wave of the future. Pick up stock in your favorite genegineer firm today. It would be a wise investment for your portfolio.

Sara now hosts a y-chromosome linked plasmid carrying genetic information from Staphylococcus aureus. It’s probably quite difficult to pass, requiring sexual contact with a male, possibly several such contacts. My ex-wife Sara has a brand new venereal disease. She’s now a twenty-first century Typhoid Mary.

I hope her latest lover enjoys his genital necrotizing fasciitis.

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148 words. Inspired by this week’s Flash! Friday competition. Themes: man vs. society, jealous husband, obsession

Don’t Forget Your Schoolwork

Stumbling out of the gymnasium, she noticed blearily that she was missing her backpack. Talk about a disaster—her homework, cell phone, schoolbooks, and worst of all her theme were in the backpack. Mrs. Marten’s theme, five hundred words on “what historical figure would you invite to dinner.” It counted for thirty percent of her final grade for Composition. Sara was positive her choice of subject and her research for this paper would be sure to score at least an A minus, and her GPA could certainly use the help.

No choice, she’d have to trudge back through the darkened and stinky gym for her stuff.

In Sara’s opinion, the gym was the dreariest building in Madison High. It didn’t help that she was the last to leave. The championship banners, celebrating Cougar victories clear back to the seventies, drooped like forgotten and abandoned shrouds in the dark. Absence of light sucked the color and joy right out of them.

All that remained was the sweaty-boy locker smell that always wrinkled her nose and clung to the gym’s interior no matter how diligently Mr. Saunders scrubbed the floors after games.

When cheerleader practice ran late, and it often did, Sara was responsible for cleaning up the girls’ locker room. At least it didn’t smell as bad as the boys’ did. All that entailed was picking up the wet towels, closing the lockers, and double-checking that the water in the showers was off.

Jenny’s locker was still open. Photos of Perfect Jenny, her Perfect Boyfriend, Miss Perfect Butt and Perfect Legs enjoying her Perfect Life plastered over the inside of the locker and its tiny door. How did I miss that on the way out? Sara pushed it shut and shook her head. I must have been daydreaming or something.

She missed the dark streaks that her fingertips left on the painted metal, turning to check the showers again.

Sara stepped carefully over the feet in the doorway and wiggled each of the shower taps to check they were off. No time for that, I need to grab my theme and get home. Never mind that crumpled shape in the corner or the pool of red slowly expanding over the tiled floor.

She hefted the backpack over her shoulder. This was such a good theme. Choose a Historical figure, avoid the obvious presidents and royalty, who would it be educational to meet, who would earn her the best grade? Who could help me most?

That’s why this theme was so perfect. It was still an unsolved crime, still a mystery, still a topic rife with lots of footnote material. Researchers still earned doctorates studying this dude.

Now Sara loved him. Looking over in that corner, I do believe Jenny loves him too. Throat slashed, twice. Ovaries removed with surgical precision. Jenny was the final bit of research for Sara’s theme about the Ripper. How would it feel to gank a whore and move up to head cheerleader?

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496 works. Inspired by this week’s Finish That Thought prompt.

Toum Enchanted Evening

Watching the vamp gang slaughter another teenage runaway, Grandpa only shook his head.

“One thing about living in Santa Carla I never could stomach; all the damn vampires,” said Grandpa.

Edgar didn’t mind. They kept a shop near the train station, where they sold crosses and stakes. Even garlic t-shirts had briefly been a popular item. Garlic didn’t work on the local vampires, of course, but the tourists didn’t need to know.

Grandpa’s triangular, shark-like teeth tore flesh from the tourist’s leg. A perfect medium rare, and heavily slathered with Toum—a Lebanese garlic sauce—in the traditional Ghoul way.

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt:

PHOTO PROMPT – © Kent Bonham

Human Resources Evaluation

“Here she comes, Mr. Snyder. She’s turning into the alley… Now.”

Her name was Chavez and she careened into the alley mouth at top speed, bounced off the brick wall and slumped over. Gasping for air, drawing great shuddering breaths like a sprinter at the finish line.

“She’s exhausted,” Snyder observed.

“The sim has kept her running for the last half hour,” said Decker. “She’s fleeing from half-glimpsed shadowy pursuers, panting, howling, and claw sounds from in the darkness.”

Chavez ducked down the alleyway, dancing from cover to cover behind dumpsters and trashcans, her terrified eyes snapping back to check the alley’s entrance for pursuers every few seconds.

“Here we go, she’s spotted the fire escape,” said Decker.

They watched as Chavez scrambled quickly up the fire escape, and paused before the only lit window.

“Clock started. Mr. Snyder, this is the critical moment of the sim. Candidates will choose to shun the light and warmth, and embrace the darkness out of suspicion and distrust. Alternatively, accept the offered sanctuary, trusting hope and intuition. The third option is simply hesitating too long, paralyzed by indecision.”

Chavez slowly opened the window and climbed through.

“So she passed,” Synder grinned. “That’s excellent, right?”

Decker pressed the blue button on the console and sat back in his chair. “Mr. Snyder, this sim is an evaluation for executive potential. Do you imagine wishful thinking is an admirable trait in executives?”

The door slid to one side and a security officer collected Snyder.

“Mr. Snyder has tested far too highly for empathy, Captain. Return him downstairs for worker drone evaluation. Perhaps he’ll be useful in the cubicle farm.”

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273 words. Inspired by this week’s Picture It & Write prompt:

 

Automated Inquisition

The ringing of the bells is daily routine. While Friar Francisco y Campillo marched across the clock tower square back to the refectory, his right knee clicked annoyingly, creating a hitch in his normal stately march. Dry weather this week only made the condition worse.

He stopped for a moment to oil the sticking gear, and then whirred his way laboriously down the ancient torch lit staircase to the cell door.

Inside, a terrified young Portuguese girl cowered on the filthy, rat-infested hay. She screamed when the clockwork priest pointed a bronze finger at the stenciled sign reading: “Confess, Jew.”

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Clock tower

How we arrived at this today’s tale is a kind of interesting mental connection journey.

I see ‘clock tower’, and a building that’s ‘a church’. Leading to “Priest”. “Clock tower” leads to “Clockwork”, then google produces an image of an automaton priest here. (Go look, he’s really creepy!) 16th century, really??

Oh yeah, creepy friar, 16th century, that’s totally Spanish Inquisition, right? The end of the Spanish Inquisiton and the early automatons actually overlap!! Wow. Oh yeah, this’ll be fun.

And, well, the Inquisition was much  less about Witches than it was about Crypto-Jews, and their expulsion from Spain. (Also some heretics and sodomists and assorted; plus a witch or two).

So yeah, that’s rather a lot of disparate elements to tie up in a hundred words but…

Here we are.