Sorry for the delay, I completely forgot it was Wednesday then wrote this yesterday and just didn’t get around to sending it out. I don’t know why I’ve been writing them so fast the past few times, but I’m cool with it. Only five more to go now, it’s been a great exercise and I plan to keep it going in some way after it’s done. Happy Friday to all and please enjoy!

Life

Word Count: 1005
Writing: 43 minutes
Editing: 10 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes

 The time ticked in the same melodic tone as always, yet with each flick of the second hand it seemed like life was speeding up around me. What did they want? Was that the test, determine what it was they were looking for me to do? I glanced around the stone gray room, it couldn’t be more than sixty-five degrees, maybe sixty-seven if one was being generous. There were three tables, one had a chess board, set and ready to go, the other had a box of children’s blocks and Legos, and the third simply had a pencil and a legal pad.

People are idiots, searching the universe for other life. It was like Stephen Hawking once said, if they’re out there, perhaps we should leave them be. Looks like he was right, but who really thought any “little green men” we found would come in peace. Humanity was so diluted by the thought of simply knowing, many forgot that knowing may cost us the lives we so dearly wanted to understand the purpose of.

I looked up at the ceiling where the clock sat comfortably in the middle, staring down ominously like the eye of Sauron. It reminded me of grade school, a simple black and white circle with a red second hand that bullied you into staying in your seat until the day was over. Teasing you into searching for answers to questions you honestly don’t give a shit about. Maybe that was the test, maybe they were trying to break us down to a more primitive time and see what our reaction was.

When they’d first made contact the world may as well have gone to hell. The religious nuts lost what little shred of mind they’d still had, some said it was God showing them the way to a new haven and that these were the angels brought to enforce his judgment on the sinners. While others just couldn’t deal with the fact that their holy savior was basically proven to not be there. Even faith has a hard time fighting what men and women can see with their own two eyes.

On the other side of the good God-fearing Catholics, Christians, Muslims, take your pick, were the scientists. They wanted to meet these new life forms. They had big ideas on ways we could benefit each other with our technologies and ideas. What a simple and human idea. These life forms came from the stars already, what could we possibly offer them in the way of technology?

It was as it is with every other advanced society meeting a more primitive one, they wanted our resources, nothing more, nothing less. What those resources are, however, is still to be determined. There is something unique in humans, something inside of us that makes us different than them. Something that makes us valuable.

And here I sit, in what we now call the testing rooms. They sprang up remarkably fast all over the Earth. Very few have escaped and lived to tell what they saw, and most stories are nothing more than urban legends. I know that now as I sit in the facility myself. I think they’re looking for intelligence, maybe they take the smartest of us somewhere else. Whatever it is, I feel like my time is running out.

I walk over to the chessboard and the second hand’s ticking rattles my eardrums, it might be getting louder, but I think my mind may just be getting quieter. The alternating blue and bright yellow of the squares on the board are disorienting, but, of course, I’m sure that’s the point. Two kings stare at each other from behind their rows of pawns, protected for the time being, or so they think. Like the ignorant humans, though, they don’t know a simple tap of my little finger and they both fall over. It’s the way of the world.

After I knock the kings down it’s time to move to the block and Lego table. One small box of blocks, one small box of Lego’s, together enough pieces to build a little house. Maybe a car or an airplane if there are wheels. I rip open each and dump them on the table, the noise of them hitting the metal top momentarily drowns out the vicious ticking of the clock and threatens to burst my eardrums with sensory overload. I stare down at the table once the pieces have fallen as they may. It’s perfect chaos on a table, like the world outside these walls, broken and confused.

Now to the last table. I don’t know where they’re watching me from, there’s no interrogation window, though, one would seemingly fit perfectly on the wall behind me. There’s also no visible camera’s, but I know they’re watching. I can feel eyes on me like a caged animal that sleeps in the zoo.

I grab the pen and smirk at the yellow pad below. The word legal seems to be a perfect irony to this whole surreal situation. Today, in this new time of space travel and godlessness, there is no such thing as law. I don’t know what it is they want, maybe a drawing that represents my emotional state. Or could it be a letter to those that I love telling them what’s become of me? Doesn’t matter, the ticking of the second hand seems slower than ever but bangs on my ears like a bass drum at a loud concert. With one quick motion, I scribble down two words and drop the pen.

I grab the legal pad and throw it face up, dead center underneath the clock that’s staring down at the floor and attacking my mind. I’ll just sit and wait until they read it, my testing is over. I think it should only be a matter of time before I’m killed or retrieved, or whatever. But I’ll go out smiling as human as I came in and they’ll know that when the read those two words, “Fuck You.”

 
 
I flew through this story. I didn’t feel like it was rushed and I wasn’t trying to write it so fast, it just happened. Which is good because going into it I had zero idea what I was going to write about and thought it was going to be one of those, “Oh shit, I have writer’s block this is going to be a tough one,” days. I leaned a little bit more toward horror this week. I hope you enjoy and thanks for reading. Have a very merry Wednesday.

Mother

Word Count: 1053
Writing: 41 minutes
Editing: 12 minutes
Total Time: 53 minutes

The city was so bad, even the animals were mean. It didn’t matter to the young man though, this was where he’d grown up, it was home, and he knew how to handle himself on the streets unlike most of the pilgrims who passed through. Dodging and ducking through the fallen pillars and debris he made his way to the worship center where there would be a parcel of food waiting for him as there was every week. Mother had grown sick years ago when he was only just a boy, but before she had, she’d taught him how to handle himself like a man.

“And what do we do the second we leave the house?” She’d asked him each time they departed on whatever new mission of survival that day held.

“Grab hold tight the handle of my blade, for if it’s a fight they want, we aren’t the ones to be slayed.” He smiled now as he squeezed the very same handle that lay sheathed on his waist. Mother had always made easy rhymes to help him remember the rules and keep safe, and once he’d repeated them to her she always smiled down on him and said with a pat on the head,

“You’re a good boy.”

Some of the older people, his mother included, would tell him stories of the world before it’d changed, but it was always hard for the boy to imagine. For him, it was like trying to imagine one’s own birth, a memory a man could pretend to remember because he knew the mechanics of the situation, but never truly know. From what he’d heard though it’d been a magical place.

Color lit the streets of the city where they lived and people sold amazing mechanical merchandise that had powers beyond his own simple understanding. Men, women and children had parties day and night celebrating nothing more than being alive on the Earth that was. Then the flying people appeared in the sky, and life went dark for the human race.

A noise rattling behind the young man’s left shoulder brought his mind back to reality and away from his memories and legends of old.

“What do we do with our eyes when we walk through the street?” Another of his mother’s questions danced nostalgically through his mind.

“We keep our eyes on the prize, so the gypsy witches don’t pluck them and use them as spies.” In his head, the voice that repeated the rhyme to his mother was not the deep voice of the man he’d become, but the sweet light voice of the boy he still felt he was. Although it’d been some time since he’d come across a gypsy in the streets, he knew they were always there, watching and waiting for some innocent traveler to be moving a bit too absentmindedly.

After another moment of stealthy running he came upon the door of the worship center, and just like every other week he knocked on the door using the heavy piece of metal that had been attached.

“Name?” Came a deep voice that seemed to echo from the sky.

“Son of Theda,” he replied.

“Mother Theda?” Asked the ominous voice.

“Growing stronger by the day,” it was the same as every week for years now. Though the young man had never entered the place of worship his mother had been a member, and the place always took care of its members, after all they were the ones that had once fought the flying people.

Without another word a heavy, wet parcel fell at his feet. There were no more words to be exchanged, the young man grabbed the brown package and turned to run back the he’d come.

“And when do we walk my sweet boy?”

“Never.” The boy replied in his head. This was not a command to be taught with a rhyme, mother had made it clear, to walk, meant to die.

As he ran back the way he came he looked down the street at the horizon. A pilgrim man mother and he had met once told them of something called salvation just beyond the dark and beaten city. It was why strangers even decided to pass through the town.

“The road to heaven is paved with miles of hell,” the strange man had said. The boy hadn’t then nor did he now know what the words meant, and before he could ask, mother had cut the pilgrim down. It was another lesson for the boy, strangers who babble aren’t to be trusted and should be killed on sight.

He smiled as he remembered all the wonderful things his mother had taught him and he rounded the final corner to their house.

“And when we get home what is the final thing we do before leaving the street?” Her voice in his head was magical.

“Turn to make sure we’re not known, and if so draw the blade from the sheath.” It was the final step to ensure their safety and now the young man scanned the street with his back against the heavy wooden door. Once he was satisfied no gypsy witches, pilgrims, or other dangers lurked in the dark he entered the house.

“Mother, I’m home safe with food for the week.” He called running up the stairs and dropped the package on the table where she sat. It was her spot and she’d been there for years.

He shooed the flies that remained away from her body and wished the sickness hadn’t stolen her voice. At first the smell of her was nauseating but now he welcomed it like the aroma of a favored memory.

“Mother will you be eating this week? You’re looking much better.” The exposed teeth and jaw didn’t move and the empty eye sockets told him nothing. He sighed and opened the parcel.

“Very well, maybe next week you will be feeling better until then I will make sure no food goes to waste. After I’m through maybe we can play a game or read a story.” Those were his favorite things to do with mother. And though she wasn’t as interested as she’d once been before the sickness took hold, he knew she enjoyed the activities. After all, they were one of a kind, each other’s forever and ever.   

 

    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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