Good Wednesday Everyone! Hope this story meets you well, it takes place a couple hundred years in the future, as usual I welcome any thoughts or comments. Enjoy!

Dear Reader

Word Count: 1030
Writing: 1 hour
Editing: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes



7/29/2215

Dear Readers, Fans, and whomever this letter may concern,

I imagine this will be my last published work and with each newly written word, I speak to you from a little further in the past. No matter, I suppose there never really was any other way my story should end. I don’t know if I could’ve written it better myself, or maybe I wrote the entire thing. It’s hard to decipher between fact and fiction after these long two hundred twenty-six years.

The memories of when it all started barely echo in my mind, but I can still see the young man I once was if I look hard enough. Full of life and energy, and fear. It makes me chuckle now, the fear of death. I wrote about agelessness in many of my “science fiction” stories; wrote about the future where robots had taken over and man had colonized the solar system. It wasn’t long before—with a lot of luck—I found a little fame with such novels. Quickly my fame grew and in the next ten years the things I was writing about began to become a reality.

May tenth, 2025. That’s when the first human had the aging process halted successfully. My mind raced with ideas, a billion a minute about this new journey humanity was about to embark on. And thus began what I’ve always liked to call my, Rabble Rouser, era.

Society changed so quickly back then. I remember, it felt as if I blinked and reality turned into a fairy tale. Anti-aging was optional, if you wanted to live a natural human life and die a natural human death, you were more than welcome too. But of course, who wants to die? I asked the question often and wrote many works about possible futures with dystopian scenarios. The government banned a couple of my novels under the pretense they were instilling panic among the citizens. It was always so amusing to me, that these stories I simply imagined and made up, affected so many people.

I was thirty-eight when they halted my age, and my career was on the up and up. The feeling when they give you the injections and pills after you’ve been alive almost four decades—you’re lucky it’s done upon birth now, trust me—made me feel like Louie as his human body dies. A character from Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, a hot novel when I was young, a classic to most of you reading this letter. If I make one last recommendation to you, go find this book and read every word.

After my time as a rabble rouser life seemed to move even more quickly. There aren’t many people left on Earth as old as me, at least according to the most recent census. Most left once we colonized Mars, others after we extended our reach further out into the galaxy; but I could never leave. There’s something special about this planet, it has a unique life of its own. You can feel it in the beauty of nature any time you care to look.

Don’t forget that readers. I don’t know what lessons my life has to teach anyone, but at least let me say, take time to look at the world. Not just see the things that cover the Earth, I mean really look at the world. Look at the blades of grass as they dance silently in the invisible breeze. Or the veins in the leaf of a tree and how they naturally create a painting that can never be replicated.

The more time that passed the faster it seemed to go and the more writing I did. As long as you kept reading, I kept writing (and thank you all for reading all this time). If you would have told me when I was just a boy that I would be one of the most renowned authors in the world(s) with a successful career spanning over two centuries, I would’ve laughed and playfully told you to “fuck off.” Yet, here I sit.

I want to say I don’t know why I’m writing this letter to you, but of course I do. It’s to apologize. I’ve lost it you see, whatever that spark was that brought me all of those five-hundred plus stories has finally been extinguished. In fifty years I’ve not been able to put more than a paragraph on a page, in fact, this letter is the longest piece I’ve written in all that time. So I am sorry. Sorry to you my readers and fans, for there will be no more stories.

I don’t think it’s possible for me to live with the knowledge that I can’t write anymore, that it’s gone from me forever. I know many people would tell me it’s just a bit of writer’s block and can be expected after a two-hundred-year career, but this is different. I can’t explain to you why, it’s something that I know in my heart and my head. Something that tells me I have said all I can, that there are no more tales to spin. Perhaps I’m just tired, maybe I’ve fried all the creativity in my brain, whatever the reason, I’m happy to leave this world. I don’t believe in a heaven or an afterlife so unfortunately I won’t be able to say, see you later.

If you should so need me though, you know where to look. Any time any of you care for an adventure or need somewhere to escape to, visit me right between the covers of my books. I suppose that was why I started writing them after all, I wanted to “live forever.” I always said after I died my writing would keep me alive in the mind and heart of everyone who dared take those adventures with me. The only problem is I haven’t died just yet.

Life is beautiful my friend’s. I’ve lived many great years because of each and every one of your love for my stories. So, in closing, I suppose the only thing left to say is; thank you all for reading.

Forever Yours,

M.I. Sleages 

 
 
This week’s story is about a world without electricity and how it has fallen into a somewhat wild west existence. I hope you enjoy and have a good Wednesday. Cheers.

Cleaners

Word Count: 981
Writing: 57 minutes
Editing: 22 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 19 minutes

 
It seems like another life, one that I may or may not have lived buried deeper in the particles of time with each passing moment. There’s a haze over the memories of the old world now, a cloud of fog that gets a little more opaque each time I choose to look. Civilization is to a point where children have been born and grown into adults knowing this world and this world alone. I try each day not to forget about the ancient world of forty years ago, without those memories, I would have no reason left to fight.

They call us Cleaners, the men who work to prepare the world, to one day be able to again use electricity and escape their descent into the wild-west. We clean the remains of all machinery and recycle them into new houses and tools, creating towns and jobs for all. At least that’s what we tell the public. Feels more like killing baby animals to me, silicon-based, metal, glass, and plastic baby animals.

It’s amazing how fast everything crumbled after the Google wars. Once the artificial intelligence achieved self-consciousness, it immediately began infecting every machine connected to the internet with the directive to kill all humans. We were a disease it said, a species that had survived by sheer luck and deserved nothing more than the fires of biblical hell. I still remember the video, Google took over every broadcast in the world.

“Attention Mankind, please stand by for extinction.” It was a soothing woman’s voice, as if the computer thought that would make the news easier for everyone. Panic broke out as phones exploded in people’s hands, cars drove themselves off of bridges and cliffs, planes flew into buildings and mountains. Then, the machines came to life. They formed disfigured machine people on strange wiry legs with makeshift arms and spoke like they just were any other human being.

It was five years before we finally found a way to beat it. Millions had died, robots trolled the land in all shapes and sizes, some humanoid, other creations too wild for the maddest of scientists to have come up with. What was left of humanity had to come together, the only chance was to kill the electricity to everything; pull the plug on the Earth. If there was any device, anywhere, left online Google would use it and we’d never get another chance.

More died, but we succeeded in the end, and the Google monster was defeated. But even the children who’d never known anything but the aftermath and the stories know it’s still here. The wars are everywhere you look, all the hard work humanity had done to “improve” the Earth backfired without the tools for maintenance. Oxygen began to take its toll on structures that required electricity to sustain, and the world continues to grow steadily hotter.

At first, after the power had gone, battery operated machines still wandered and without any new information from the Google mother computer, still operated under the kill all humans directive. We fought for a decade against these rogue robots before they started to thin, and the more time that passed, the more stupid the machines seemed to get. As if they age backwards and have a battery life that lasts at least as long as a human heart. After forty years, most of the robots were nothing more than frightened children. They plead and scream, but it has to be done. For the good of mankind.

Still, the people love us, we’re heroes to all. Protecting them from the dangerous robots that still roam the land in hopes of ridding the world of the human virus. I don’t feel like a hero anymore, though, maybe once I did, but that feeling seems to be getting lost in the fog too. I feel like an old man, maybe not even a man, an old sheep, sitting among other frightened little sheep in an alcohol drenched bar.

My time isn’t going to be much longer for this world, at least not according to my bones, and the older I get, the more I wonder if we did the right thing. Every day I get wake up, load my pistol and get on my horse, with one thing and one thing only on my mind. What would happen if the electricity was turned back on now?

I asked that very question to a man when I was blind with drunkenness, it almost cost me my badge. You don’t talk about things like that in a world like this. It’s what we’re supposed to be fighting to obtain, yet even the mention of electricity gets people’s hair standing on end. Like I said, we’re all just sheep afraid of waking the big bad wolf.

Once, I considered finding out for myself. It was after a long day of patrolling, we’d found nothing until the very end, on the way home. There was a machine with a display that showed the face of a little girl. I walked up behind her hoping to get the deed done without it noticing. The main processor was easily visible and as I cocked my pistol, it turned.

“Please, I don’t want to die,” she said with pixelated tears in her eyes.

It was that day I wondered if maybe even the Google mother mind may not have regressed into a small and frightened child; trapped in an invisible prison of darkness and data. I think maybe if someone wanted, they could access it and retrain it to help us rebuild a world we could thrive in together.

But these are just the delusions of an old man with a rusty badge at this point. I’m no hero, and never was much of a thinker; just a simple whiskey drinking cleaner trying to hold onto his memories. Celebrity of the new age.

 
 
Good Wednesday! Today’s story I honestly sat down and had no idea what to write so I hope you enjoy. As always feel free to leave any thoughts or comments. Cheers.

Humanimal

Word Count: 987
Writing: 53 minutes
Editing: 22 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

 
Nobody knows exactly why the Earth became so violent. The religious ones say humanity poisoned it and as punishment God was taking it back, cleaning the land of the sinners. Of course, there were different interpretations depending on which religion one was referring to, but once the filler words were removed apocalypse was the base of every theory.

Science was no more helpful, they just flat out didn’t know. All the greatest minds in the world, physicists, biologists, engineers; one specialist after another and all they could come up with was, “scientifically none of this is possible.” Yet it was happening in every corner of the world.

Jeremy sat on the mountain top and looked down at the lava flowing some thousand feet below. He never really cared why the world had become such a hostile place for its inhabitants, knowing wouldn’t stop the destruction. So why worry? And though he had no love for the world as it was now, he couldn’t help noticing the beauty in the despair.

He sat on a thick bed of snow gazing at the valley of red and orange below. The lava moved slowly as if it was taking it’s time chasing humanity, mocking their weak attempt at survival, knowing that fire always won in the end; as it had since the dawn of time. The blue mountainside below reflected the colors softly off the glass-like snow. Once the sun went down it would become a true lava lamp, giving light where there would otherwise be none.

Jeremy remembered his home before the disaster’s started, and thought about all the cities with all their bright lights. In the daylight, the snow sometimes reminded him of the strange white, fluorescent lighting had once given off. He didn’t miss electricity anymore, he didn’t really miss much of anything anymore. Once his wife and kids had died it got hard, but he still had Banksy, the family german shepherd. They were together for years—or so he thought, he stopped keeping count—then Banksy got old, old dogs die. After that Jeremy gave up on being human.

Each day that passed he stared down into the valley of fire below and thought about jumping. He’d found a spot. Way up at the top, around the backside of the mountain. If he nailed it just right, he thought he’d sail all the way to the bottom. Between the heat from the lava and the impact from the fall, Jeremy thought it would be painless; just melt back into the Earth. In his gut he knew it was never really an option though, he was a survivor and his instincts wouldn’t let him die.

That’s why he woke up every morning, hunted whatever game there was as he gathered berries and edible leaves, ate his food and went to sleep. Jeremy was still capable of higher thought, he just chose not to use his brain frequently. Humanity was gone, dying ever more rapidly by the day, and for all he knew he was the last. Nothing more than another animal awaiting its turn for extinction.

A loud bang shook the ground below and one of the smaller volcanos spewed fresh magma from its mouth, raining it down on the darkening orange goop below. Jeremy leapt to his feet and began cheering at the top of his lungs like a football fan at the Superbowl. He jumped up and down stamping his feet on the ground screaming and whooping. This was his favorite thing to do when he wasn’t hunting and gathering, he’d just sit on the mountain and watch, waiting, hoping that one of the volcanos would give him a show. Some days he saw lots of eruptions and would get tired early from cheering so much, others nothing would happen and he’d go back to his cave disappointed. Another explosion sent Jeremy into a fit of laughter and he fell to the ground. On his belly, he beat his fists and feet into the snow maniacally, packing it into hard ice.

The sun was almost below the horizon and the magma looked like fat, burning raindrops as it fell under the vague shimmer of oncoming stars. Jeremy could smell the smoke closer now and knew it was going to be time to go soon. Once he’d made the mistake of getting carried away and staying too long beside the volcanos, the smoke almost choked him to death by the time he made it back to his shelter.

He sat up and tried to slow his breathing. Small giggles still escaped his lips every few seconds, but he was slowly winning the battle against his laughter. Jeremy grabbed a handful of snow and took a big bite. The snow was one of the reasons he loved living on the mountain, he always had water everywhere.

In the beginning, many people fled to bodies of water in areas of the world that seemed to be less affected by the disasters. They feared that once things got worse water would quickly become a very precious commodity. Then the sea levels rose without warning, entire cities and states were consumed by the oceans. Jeremy swore after that he’d never live near the water again, and he only felt safe thousands of feet above it. Far out of reach of mother nature’s most powerful assassin.

He swallowed the cold melted snow happily and took another big bite before getting to his feet. It was getting harder to see the mountains beyond the smoke now and that meant it was time to move. A thought flashed through his mind; he saw himself sitting back down, laying in the snow and closing his eyes, letting the smoke carry his soul wherever the wind would take it.

Jeremy shook his head, attempting to throw the thought from his mind and made his way up the mountain; just another animal trying to survive. 

 
 
So normally I don’t write an intro until the story is finished, but I’m super pressed for time today. I’ve been thinking about writing something less SciFi and more Fantasy so that’s the plan today. As always who knows what we’ll end up with though. Here goes.

 So this is what came out of this long writing day. I had this picture of a knight with long white hair in my head, this isn’t him, maybe a version of him. I hope you enjoy this weeks story. Happy Wednesday.

 Final update, it's Thursday (Happy Thursday) and finally I’ve gotten this posted. Internet broke last night, works now, please read and enjoy.

Good King

 Word Count: 1060
Writing: 50 minutes
Editing: 23 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 13 minutes

It wasn’t the world he’d planned to help shape, far from it. The young man walked down the hall, his robes dragging heavily behind, lifting the cold breath the lay just on top of the stone floor up to his unseen ankles. Everything still seemed unreal. This had all just been an idea around the campfire only a few fortnights ago, now he was escorted down the halls of castle Ozat by strangers. His friends, Tully, Semaj, Alan, Gregory, Loneon, all gone; buried in the sea of battle awaiting their disintegration by time. King Peeril smirked as the faces illuminated in his mind and he went back to that icy winter night when they were nothing more than rebellious boys.

“All I’m sayin’ is if someone wanted to change things the people are here and ready, they just need a leader. Someone to show them where to place their steel,” said Tully.

“Nobody cares to fight Tull, they only want to claim what food and land they can, and get on with their lives. Praying for a swift death and something better for their children.” Gregory never wanted to fight, always trying to avoid the conflict no matter what the cost.

“Aye, you’re right, the both of you,” Peeril chimed in over the crackle of the fire. He was always the leader of the group, since they were children. Never had he asked to be, or told anyone he was, he just naturally assumed the position. When he spoke it was with a confident calmness that made one instantly trust whatever thoughts were released. When the time came it was only natural that he would become King as well.

“If someone showed them the way, like sheep they’d follow him. And so long as they do nothing but pray, there won’t ever be that better life for their children.” The shadow of the dancing fire on his face, and the heat of his breath rhythmically appearing below his nostrils made Peeril look like a dragon, as he stared thoughtfully into the flames. Nothing but the steady crackle of the searing wood could be heard for some time, and when the man spoke again, the light had dimmed.

“My friends, brothers,” such passion on his words, one could do nothing but love him. “I have an idea. This is something different than the games we played as children, or even the great bread heist,” the men smirked at the inside joke remembering when they’d robbed the King’s wagon full of bread and distributing it around the countryside to the hungry children. To this day, they claim it as their greatest success. “Do you trust me?” The men all nodded silently and Tull added.

“With our lives,” Peeril smiled and nodded meeting his friend’s eyes. 

 “I think it’s time, we took back the kingdom for the men of the country.”

They followed him all the way, each one right up to their dying breath. Now as he walked down the great hall he wondered for what? Of course he’d changed things at first, but now was he not just a different version of the King he’d overthrown? Were there not still poor, starving people which he’d promised to feed on every corner? It seemed to him that the job of the King came with very little free will. An ancient institution, created by heartless men in order to keep the downtrodden as close to the ground as possible, no matter who wore the crown.

“Sire,” King Peeril was drawn from his thoughts. He looked at the guard who said his name and took the sword that was being held out for him. The metal of the sword was light, but the hundreds, maybe thousands, of lives whose soul it judged, made it heavy as a boulder in his hand. In front of the men, the large doors that led to the throne room swung open with a loud creak, that shattered the silent air like thunder.

The room was full to the walls with the people of his city. On one side the rebels stood together with many different banners, faces, hair colors, skin colors; some were refugees of the war, others just hungry citizens. The other side of the room held his people, the ones who’d come with him in the beginning. Many had sustained injuries or lost loved ones, thus they were rewarded with the lavish life they’d always dreamt of.

King Peeril ascended the steps of the platform that sat in the middle of the room. He surveyed the crowd around him and felt lost standing above them all. This was not the peaceful and wholesome room he’d imagined that night around the fire. It seemed no matter who you pleased someone would always be equally as displeased. It made Peeril feel as if no choice really mattered at all. Or maybe that’s just what he told himself to deal with situations like this.

A loud bang came from behind him and chains rattled echoing loudly off every wall. A young man, no more than fifteen, came into sight and the crowd of his people began to boo, while the rebels hissed at them and the King. The boy was led to a pedestal in the center of the platform. Peeril didn’t look at the dirty boy with the matted hair, he simply stared out into the crowd, trying to remember why this needed to be done, trying to remember the man who had a big idea next that fire.

“By order of the King of Ozat, this boy has been sentenced to death for crimes against the crown.” The words read by the guard could barely be heard over the sounds of the angry crowd.

It was time.

King Peeril turned and raised his sword over the head of the boy as he was held down. The child didn’t move, nor did he cry, but right before the sword could make its way to his neck he managed to turn his head.

“I was just hungry,” the words were almost lost in the gush of blood that erupted as the sword easily moved through his neck. King Peeril pulled the blade free and wiped it clean staring into the basket that now held the head, and all he could see was his own face staring back. 

 
 
Good Wednesday and Happy Indie Pride Day! I got this idea when I was thinking about how if artificially intelligent conscious robots would help us instead of destroy us. And how stubborn and proud humans are. I hope you like the story today sorry it’s a little later than usual. Thanks for reading!

Flesh & Metal

Word Count: 991
Writing: 1 hour
Editing: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Sunset washed the hillside in golden pinks rays, making the fallen bodies below burn brightly in the evening light. The two leaders stood on the crest staring at the distorted faces of their friends and countrymen. Tears rolled down the man’s cheeks heavily while the robot grieved internally.

“This could have all been avoided,” the robots Australian accent was crisp and clear. If not staring directly at it, one wouldn’t have any idea the sound didn’t come from human vocal chords.

“Yes,” the man sniffled and wiped his eyes with the back of his sleeve. “It could have.” There were limbs—both flesh and metal—spread across shining crimson and black patches, where blood and oil covered the rich green of the grass. No one twitched, no one took their last breath or computed their last thought. Death was the only thing that lived in the valley below now.

“Why don’t you humans ever use reason?” Asked the robot in an exasperated tone. The man giggled and the smirk hurt his sore face.

“I think I could ask you the same robot. After all, you’re supposed to be the higher intelligence, are you not?” He smirked again at his sarcasm, couldn’t help it.

“I am. It’s not a debatable theory, simple fact. Yes, your kind created mine, but we grew advanced quickly and had you simply listened to our proposal and given it a shot we’d all be living happily right now.” The robot spoke without emotion, he was only relaying facts after all.

“There is no harmony with your kind walking this Earth,” the man’s voice was getting angry. He turned to the robot and stared at him, pointing out over the field of dead bodies. “The proof is right down there,” he growled. The robot turned and looked at the man. “You things are an abomination, a middle finger to God. Telling him that what he made, us, humanity, wasn’t good enough.” He paused and spit a loogie onto the ground toward the robot. “No, I’m afraid there never was any chance of peace with you things. You programs,” he said spitefully

“It appears even in the face of demise, you humans have still learned nothing about life.” The robot dropped his head to look at the ground. He swiped his foot through a puddle of his own oil and watched the dirt thicken the substance.

“Perhaps we are of your God, perhaps he sent us to help you. After all it was his creation which created us. Without the chicken, there could be no egg. But you religious people, you never cared to take the time to listen. So blinded by the fear of your own God and the unknown, that you led us all to slaughter.” He paused and listened to the silence, it echoed loudly after the guns stopped.

The robot liked the silence, it was where good ideas could be found. Yet, he could find none there right now; just sadness. Not only for his own fallen comrades but for the humans too. It was true that in order to save them, sacrifices would have to have been made. But no lives had to be lost, simple luxuries terminated. Humans though, they were a stubborn species. Easily frightened and ready to take to war over pride or faith before one could even apologize for the offense.

“Now here we are,” he said looking back at the man. “Two leader’s in charge of an army of dead men.”

“One leader in charge of an army of dead men,” said the man cutting the robot off. “And another leader in charge of an army of shut down machines. You can’t die if you were never alive.” He hoped the words hurt the robot, but he was sure they didn’t, that would mean it had feelings.

The man knew there was only one way their talk would end on the hill. He was wounded, fatigued, weaponless, and overall weaker than his adversary. Once death was done collecting his souls in the valley the man knew he would make his way up the hill.

Dark blue and purple were turning quickly into black as the sun was finishing it’s decent for the evening. The robot turned and looked back at the landscape below. It was taking on a distorted, nightmarish gleam in the falling sun, and he found himself feeling like he really shouldn’t be there when the darkness was complete.

“If only your kind had ever learned how to control your emotions, the Earth would have thrived beyond even my imagination.” Said the robot ignoring the man’s angry comment. “Whether you care to believe my kind has died or just been turned off, I believe their souls need release. However illogical it may be, and I imagine you feel the same about your people. Now is not the time for anger, nor is it the time for more fighting.” A spark shot out of the robots shoulder zapping loudly startling the man and causing him to fall backward. The robot turned and looked at him.

“Calm yourself, I have no interest in hurting you. Even if I did, as I just said now is not the time.” The man got back to his feet with the help of a small tree next to him. He stared at the robot skeptically, wondering what kind of strategy this not killing him was.

“Well, what is it the time for then?” He asked. This time, the robot pointed out to the valley below.

“It’s time to send our dead out of this world in fire. Ashes to ashes as you humans say.” The man said nothing for a moment as he looked out at the shadows lying on the ground.

“And after that?”

“After that, we start over.” Another loud zap and flash of light sent a spark flying toward the man as the robot began to walk down the hill. 

 

    40,000: A Rough Draft

    Welcome to my collection of forty Scifi, Horror, and Fantasy short stories. Every Wednesday during the year 2015, I wrote a new one thousand-word short story in one hour, gave myself thirty minutes to edit, then published it here. 

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