Tag Archives: Science Fiction

Threshold – #writephoto

threshold

Photo by Sue Vincent

Morning light seeped in, illuminating the threshold, but not digging its way any deeper.  With the dawn came the salt-tinged breeze.  The surf continued, as it always had and always would, a constant background murmur and throb.  It was relaxing, kept the job at hand out of mind.

I peeked out from the entrance of the cave.  Nothing was moving.  I slipped back into the shadow.  They’d be here.  I knew.

*

“Come in.”

I opened the door and took a step, but then froze at the threshold.

“I’m sure you know all of these people.  Please come closer.”

The Commander continued to smile, but I knew something was up, something unpleasant.  I took two steps into the room.  The door was closed behind me. Continue reading

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Release Me

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pixabay image by Natan Vance

With a slam of the door, Dave entered the tiny apartment and slumped down into a chair. Although the sun was still up, the room was dark.  The ratty curtains were pulled tight and a threadbare blanket, adding it’s slim weight, was thrown over the only window.  Dave wanted to block out the world, afraid of what he might see, afraid of what he might remember.

Hiding the world only went so far. He knew it would catch up to him anyway.

After a few minutes of sitting, the walls, as expected, breathed in and expanded out, as if the world was turning inside out, just like during “The Incident”.  As he sat there, it felt as if a part of him was being turned inside out as well, ripped from his skull and flushed down a cosmic toilet, just as it had been on that day. The part that was flushed away that day never returned, and yet there was something that took its place, someone else.

No! Nobody else. No. Continue reading

Timeless (Take 2) – #writephoto

Photo by Sue Vincent

(Note: I was not happy with my original telling of this story.  And if I turn it into a longer work, I need to change it. Here is the original.)

Black. It wasn’t the absence of light, because light could not exist.  It was the absence. The absence of everything.  Of light, of space, of time: there was nothing.

And then there was everything.

Everything expanded almost infinitely fast, though it didn’t, since time hadn’t ticked on yet and there was no space to travel. But then, in a small fraction of what some people would eventually call a “second”, the Universal clock ticked on and everything screeched to that ultra-slow speed that the stuff that would eventually be called light traveled.

Everything continued to expand at just below this new threshold.

He fell into this everything.

Again.

As he had before and as he would continue to do forever, as long as time existed.

He, of course, didn’t exist either.  Not yet.

He gasped for a breath.

Consciousness tried to fight its way to the surface, but was swallowed by the visions.

A thousand horsemen raced down onto the village, killing all in its wake.  The sea lapped peacefully on the shore as a few people wearing rough furs dug for clams. A spaceship left the sprawling city and descended out of orbit towards the blue Earth below.

He shivered. With the shiver consciousness finally won its fight.

He sat up, nameless, alone and naked.

Where was he?  When was he? Why here?  Why now?

He had slipped again, that was for sure. But he knew little else besides confusion.

The fog of his mind lifted.

It was a gentle field. His mind first spoke of northwestern Ohio, but then it settled into Brittany.  No, that was wrong.  Close, but wrong.

England.

A shape grabbed his attention.

He jumped up.

A Chorg!  They arrived in the 75th century.

But no, it was just a standing stone.  It had an odd angular pattern similar to a Chorg’s face, and bumps at the top like the eye stalks, but it was just a stone.

He walked over and touched it.

There was usually a reason for everything.  The stone most likely drew him in.

He shivered again.

He was always naked when he awoke from a slip.  How could it be otherwise?

There were voices.

A man and a woman were approaching.

Clothing always helped.  They were dressed for winter.  They were also dressed for the late 20th century or the early 21st.

Much experience taught him what to do.

“Hello,” he said in late 20th century English.  “I’m a bit confused. I have no idea where I am nor how I got here.  Can you help?”

The couple drew back, shocked at the appearance of the naked man in front of them.

“Please?” he said, his words a puff of steam in the frigid air.  “I’m lost and cold.”

He half smiled.

The man took off his coat and handed it to him.

“Let’s get out of this cold,” the man said, leading them back from the stone.

This was a routine perfected from countless encounters, a trick of the trade for the timeless.

But now he had hardened into a time and needed to figure out why.

***

Written for Sue Vincent‘s #write photo prompt.  See this week’s prompt here.

**

This is the second take on this story.  Here is the first.

**

This is now a serial story.  yes, again ;)

** First Chapter ** Next Chapter

*

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 7

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Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Note – This is Chapter 7 (and final) of the story.  See chapter 1.)

The world rolled by just outside of the car’s window.  The sun had recently set and the western sky still glowed yellow, but the black of night was creeping in.  It wouldn’t take over, of course, since the suburban lights illuminated the entire sky.  There was still no simulation playing in the car and it was moving at a constant 100 kph.

Jesk didn’t notice. He just sat, staring forward with vacant eyes.

Strangely enough, he was not thinking about Thara nor about Adi.  His mind was on the young Jesk, the young Brey and their parents. He even was thinking about their dog, Rex. He rarely thought of them at all, and when he did it was just in passing, but for some reason Brey’s funeral had brought back the memories long forgotten.  The good times and bad. All of those shared moments.  All of the things they did, saw and talked about.

He thought of Brey teasing him mercilessly, but with love in her eyes.  He thought of Mom making peanut butter sandwiches.  When had he last eaten peanut butter? The day before the accident?  He thought of day to day activities, of TV and family trips, sitting around the table at dinner talking about school.  He remembered Brey having a date when she was a freshman in high school and how he had teased her, getting her back for all of those times she embarrassed him in front of his friends.  Rex was there for years, his constant companion. And, of course there was Dad.

Jesk frowned. Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 6

Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Note – This is Chapter 6 of the story.  See chapter 1.)

People. Crowds of people crammed into Ryk’s tiny house, smashed elbow to elbow together. And what a house it was, or perhaps it would be better to say “what a house it wasn’t”.  It had only the most basic furnishings and extremely limited automation. There were no robots, not one. No simulation equipment in any room. No environmental controls beyond “heat”. No scented breezes, just the smell of food and that sickening smell of people.  People. Sweating, coughing, sneezing, sniffling.  Breathing! To have to put up with the rot and decay known as death at the funeral was bad enough, but Jesk had to actually be with people, many of whom had the stupid assumption that they needed to hug him.  “You lost your sister, poor man.” He did his best to keep his anger in check, but he had been at a low simmer all afternoon.  Thara would pay for it when they got home.

Where was Thara?  They had been separated soon after they arrived.  He had been pulled aside to listen to some of Brey’s friends talk at him while Thara watched over Adi as she played with the snot-nosed kids of his loser sister’s idiot son.  A few other kids where there as well, all germ factories. It had been over two hours.  What had she said?  And to whom?

Jesk first noticed Adi.  She was on the floor, like a peasant, playing with several other kids.  They had toys that weren’t animated.  They had no electronics nor robotics of any type.  There were no simulations involved and there was nothing that was genetically engineered.  They were playing with dead, non-interactive things, as if it were the Middle Ages.  And she was actually smiling and laughing! Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 5

Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Note – This is Chapter 5 of the story.  See chapter 1.)

The room was crowded.  Too crowded. There were all types of people shuffling through, milling about and sitting in the rows of chairs. Most were wearing “nice” clothes, though it all looked cheap to Jesk.  He was sure his silk boxers cost more than the most expensive suit or dress in the room.  And it was warm, too warm for “winter”; people were sweating.  He heard a sneeze and some coughing. There was sniffling, the cold and flu season made worse by the sudden changes from freezing to sweating.  All he could think of was the germs.  Not that it would matter to Brey.

Jesk couldn’t help but to stare at his sister. Thara had made sure that, as family, they sat up front.  He didn’t want to look at any of the rabble in their cheap suits and snotty noses and there was not much else in the room to look at other than Brey. Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 4

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Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Note – This is Chapter 4 of the story.  See chapter 1.)

The waves lapped gently at the beach, though a little farther down the waves were bigger and came closer to crashing. Terns were skirting the wave tops, darting around, occasionally hovering for a moment, before diving for small minnows. A gull could be heard crying above the sound of the surf. The sun beat down, hot and heavy, but the salt-tanged breeze from the ocean was refreshing.

Jesk watched Thara as she helped Adi read her book.  He shook his head. It was a real, honest to goodness paper book. He didn’t know such things still existed.

“Susan, walked, on, the sand. She, saw, a….” Adi’s little face scrunched up in concentration.  “I don’t know this word.”

“Sound it out, Sweetie. What are the first two letters?” She had a smile, an odd one he hadn’t seen before.  It made wrinkles appear around her eyes.  He didn’t like that.

“’C’, ‘R’.”

“Good.  And what does that sound like?”  Actually, she looked like a mother, not a teenager.  He wanted a teenager as his bride, not a “mother”. Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 3

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Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Note – This is Chapter 3 of the story.  See chapter 1.  Note 2 – the viewpoints of Jesk are purposefully disturbing.)

The stars were bright and crystal clear. The majestic form of the Milky Way stood out forming the perfect backdrop for the towering peaks of the high mountains. The air was filled with summer nighttime sounds of the song of crickets. A loon call, lonely, like a spirit calling from a different world, echoed across the landscape. A cool, fragrant breeze blew in off of the mountains.

Jesk thought about getting under the warm covers, but he actually enjoyed the goosebumps that rose up on his body.  It was a feeling that pushed beyond his bland comfort zone where he spent 99.9% of his life, and yet it was safe and familiar.  He felt alive. He reached over and patted the bed beside him.

For a moment he wished Thara was there lying next to him in the bed, not for sex, but for shared warmth and companionship.

He quickly grew angry, first at himself, but since he could never be angry at himself for long, at Thara. What was she thinking, telling him what she was going to do and telling him, actually telling him, what he should do as well?

The goosebumps went away and he began to sweat in his angry heat. Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 2

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Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

(Chapter 1)

Tall pines stretched towards the sky. The forest was thick in all directions, receding into darkness. A table was in a clearing between several towering trees. Three people were at the table for dinner. The man lifted a knife.

The knife sliced through the steak as if it were butter.

“I had Robreto Tabis program the steak today.” Thara smiled.

Jesk frowned at the meat on his plate. “The celebrity chef?  Well, he did a terrible job.  It’s over cooked.” He pointed to the cut end of the meat with his knife. “It’s supposed to be pink for two and three quarters inches, this looks pink for no more than two and half! I can’t eat this garbage.”

Thara held her smile. “Please try it, Honey.  Robreto guarantees his work, but you have to eat it first.  And please don’t throw it out.  Steak is expensive.”

Jesk scrunched up his face and stared at his wife. “Expensive?  I thought I heard you try to justify a 35-million-dollar pet not a half an hour ago!” Continue reading

When the Elephant Bumps the Mouse House – Chapter 1

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Pixabay image by Marianne Sopala

Jesk took a deep breath of the fragrant breeze.  It smelled of nature, of unspoiled forests. He sighed and continued the call to tie up loose ends.

“That means that the Margeson Contact is complete and watertight, right?” Jesk asked, seemingly to the air.

A crow flew down, landed a few feet in front of him. It turned its head and watched him for a minute with a shiny eye, cawed and flew off.

“Yes sir,” his assistant and lawyer Merl’s voice came from came from slightly to the left and in front, towards the meadow and slightly downhill.

“Good.  I left the office early today. Lock it all up on your way out.” A vulture was making lazy circles in the cloudless sky, but was soon gone.

“Yes sir.  Have a good weekend.” A deer walked into the meadow near were the voice was coming from.

“Goodbye.”

Jesk leaned back in his chair and only half paid attention to the pleasant landscape around him.

Ignoring Jesk, the deer moved deeper into the field. Beyond the meadow the shadow of a deeper forest has half guessed in the green haze and perhaps even some higher hills off in the far distance. Facing forward, the trees grew a little thicker to the right, away from the little glen, and sloped downhill away from him, where it was possible to make out distant tall mountains through the trees.  To the right the ground sloped down even more to a small, fast flowing brook only a dozen feet from where Jesk was sitting.  It seemed the ideal spot for trout, with a tree shading the bend in the stream. Although the sun was bright, it was a perfect 72 degrees with just a hint of a fresh breeze. The deer continued to graze in the field to his left while a red tailed hawk flew overhead.

Jesk leaned back even more and half dozed. A fly could be heard buzzing by him, but he ignored it, letting the noise fade into the background as he relaxed and let the week melt away.

A large bump jolted Jesk. He jerked up, suddenly wide awake. Continue reading