Remains. (sci fi flash fiction)

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They were almost in sight now. He craned his head to see, the translucent walls of the craft enabling perfect vision. He glimpsed something far ahead a dingy grey/brown splurge on the horizon contrasting with the intense greens with which he had always been surrounded.

He’d never totally believed it, couldn’t comprehend this side of his own humanity, but there it was before his eyes a vast wasteland of decaying iron and concrete. Here and there a feeble tree or bush strove to bring life to the empty mounds, shriveled and corrupted. No, the “trees here were of another nature, bare metal poles and girders, once the support frames of the towers that had been inhabited, what they had been taught was a “city”, a place innumerable humans dwelled encased in glass and concrete, brick and steel. It was beyond his young comprehension.

It was mandatory to make this trip before taking on an adult role in the community, to learn from the mistakes, to take paths of peace, to understand where greed and anger could lead, to be content with the simple life of forest and lake, grasslands and sea. They were safe now, but the lesson had been learned at great cost. It must always be remembered. Hence this trip and so many others as each generation came of age.

The pilot inclined his hand and the vehicle circled whirling back towards the welcoming green haze on the horizon. He of course had no need of the craft, could have been there in an instant. The vehicle was for them, the earthbound, forged of the immense power and light of the being before them. He had always been in awe of the angels.

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Incredulity. (Flash fiction)

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The craft gleamed, rainbows of colour scintillating back and forth as Jasper took his seat. Beside him his peers chatted excitedly. He heard a subdued whoosh as trees and meadows sped by beneath at alarming speed as they headed north toward the wastelands.
He’d heard of them, everyone had, yet the notion seemed somehow unreal, the lush vegetation below giving lie to the notion. They said his ancestors made them, that they had never healed; a legacy of hate and greed. Each year graduation students would visit to see for themselves. Now it was his turn.
Nothing could prepare him. Description paled in comparison. Death as far as the eye could see. Dark silhouettes cluttered the skyline where people once lived in tiny cages, huge walls of cells, deserted, abandoned, falling in decay. No trace of green remained; the vital earth lay grey and haggard. No birds flew, and without their songs it was strangely silent.
A feeling of horror struck his soul. What must it have been like to live imprisoned in these walls, like ant colonies, but people teaming forth? He could not imagine such a thing. No wonder they turned to greed and hate, no wonder they destroyed themselves, he thought. Losing touch with all that was human, the nature that surrounded him every day, they had become perverted.
He’d heard of their strange system of commerce, where man competed against his fellow man for power and an archaic medium called “money”. Why should someone want more than their needs? Why would they fight and die for greed (especially not their own)? How were the people manipulated into agreeing that some were more deserving than others? How could some have squandered the earth’s resources living with the knowledge that others died every day of neglect and starvation? How could they have destroyed everything?
He still could not believe it, it staggered his comprehension. Only the tall sentinels rising from the debris below gave credence to the truth. Tears slowly edged down his face, his initial anger replaced by pity.

Fleeting glimpses.

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flash fiction from October 2014

Song Bird Songs

ruined city
Cowering on her bed she listened to the creaking boards, remembering the dark gleaming eyes glimpsed through the shattered plasterwork. Trembling she summoned a last vestige of courage, grasping the overturned broom handle she limped toward the tattered pieces of wood and cardboard denoting what had once been her bedroom wall. A scurrying sound preceded her. Must be a dog, she told herself. If it were looters they’d not have run, besides there was nothing left to loot, nothing except the cans under her bed that had kept her alive these few weeks.
She’d heard the rioting as the last folks were rounded up and placed on army trucks. Her injured leg still incapacitating her, she’d lain cowering as enemy forces over ran the city scouring for any food and supplies, machine guns braking through the silence. Since they left only the smell of death invaded her windows. She was…

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Coma (final blog bite of short fantasy story)

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dev2

“I can’t tell anyone anything can I!” Alex grimaced alluding to his unresponsive body.

“You won’t stay that way Alex. You’re going to come out of the coma.”
“Sounds pretty much impossible from what the doctor said.”

“Ah!” Doc. raised his eyebrows, “but I’m his superior.”

“Now come there’s something else I need to show you.” Doc grasped his hand as if to lead him somewhere as the the blanket of darkness descended.

It lifted, not back in the hospital ward, but in a vast scene of devastation. There was movement among the rubble at his feet, insects scurrying through the debris. Alex recoiled in horror.

“They’re all that survive here,” Doc explained.

“Where is this place? Is… is it the future?”

“It’s part of the future.”

“But what about those other places I went, could they be the future instead?”

“They are the future. The weak inherited the earth, but there are still atomic wastelands. The rich and powerful elite were obliterated. Sad that it had to come to this. These places remain that mankind might see and understand the end result of war.”

A whirling sound made Alex look upward. Lights were flashing through the sky, some kind of vehicles – new technology – flying over the wastelands.

“Who or what are those?” Alex asked alarmed.

“Don’t worry Alex. There are no more war machines – remember the birds? There’s total peace everywhere, even here.”

“Then who…”

“Children, Alex, older ones. This is a history lesson of a different nature – a, learn from history lesson! The mind of man still has free choice to do evil. They teach the children there is no glory in war only devastation. It’s become increasingly hard for them to relate to cities as the generations pass, to understand why men would want to fight, kill, destroy in order to get more. It has become foreign to their natures, yet still these trips continue. It will be long before these lands heal. They serve as reminders of the price of man’s greed and selfish pride, his ambition. The earth has been pieced by sorrows she cannot heal of herself. One day it shall all be restored, new heavens and a new earth. Only then shall the healing process be complete, when, cleansed by fire, the earth and all that once dwelt therein shall be reformed and transformed, as water that, flying to the heavens, leaves the things and corruptions of earth behind, its very substance changed to vapor that it may one day return as rain to replenish the ground.”

“But where do I fit into all this?”

“I want you to witness what you’ve seen; tell people there is hope beyond the war, the strife, the annihilation. I want you to write, speak, publish, get the message out.”

“How can I do that? Even if I do recover who will listen? They’ll think I’m crazy, delusional!”

“Yes, no doubt they will, but some will listen, some always listen.”

“But what if they try and medicate me, put me in an institution or…”

“They won’t Alex. They won’t be able to. You see I’ll be there, helping you. Don’t you want people to know, to have the chance to believe?”

“I’m not even sure I believe it myself…”

“But you will Alex, you will…” Doc was fading, everything was fading…

He woke in his hospital bed. It was nighttime, the dim light of the monitor the only illumination. He reached for the light switch…

It was then he realized, as the hand responded, as the eyes adjusted their focus. He was awake, truly awake. He turned the hand from side to side in wonder, ran his fingers through his hair… He began to laugh, quiet, almost afraid to make a noise, scared the spell might break. He sat up, his back stiff but functioning. He grasped once more for the light his hand knocking something careening from the table. He groped on the floor to see what it was bringing it up into the newly broached circle of light. It fell open, his eyes falling upon the passage, “and I will give power unto my two witnesses.” He knew this book. The Gideon’s people left them in hospitals and prisons, suddenly it all made sense. He knew now who “Doc” really was. He raised the book further to the light eager to read about his future mission and ponder who his companion might be.

Coma (blog bite 5 from a short fantasy story)

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deer

“I want to stay! I want to stay! Please Doc give me another shot!” Alex sobbed. But the words no longer found utterance, trapped as he was in the useless shell that had once been his body, muscle and sinew slowly wasting away as he himself wasted inside, trapped!

Tears of frustration forced their way out seeping between prison bars into the old world he’d once known. A nurse noticed, retrieving a tissue to wipe them away.

“Poor sod.” She muttered. “He must be conscious somewhere inside.”

“Nonsense,” said the impassive doctor at the foot of his bed. “He’s practically brain dead. Not much hope there. ” The nurse slipped her hand into Alex’s, as the doctor strode away, leaning over to kiss his forehead before, with a sigh, she resumed her duties. The small touch of humanity made the pain even more poignant. Something broke inside. Like a torrent of water it gushed forth its pain and fear then suddenly, without the injection, without Doc, he was there…

Animal foot prints in the snow? Something had passed this way. He stood at the edge of a forest. Passing among the trees he glimpsed tiny faces peering out, curious, but strangely unafraid. Chipmunks and squirrels dashed through the trees as if intent on appraising their visitor. A deer raised its head in his direction but did not run away; rather, satisfied it returned to its grazing, impassive…

*

“I thought you’d make it here eventually!” Doc was walking through the trees towards him.

“Am…am I dead?”

“No,” Doc smiled. “You are very much alive Alex, perhaps more than you’ve ever been.”

“But then how… You didn’t give me a shot… at least I don’t think you did…”

“There never were any shots Alex.”

“I don’t understand…”

“No but you will.” He fell silent for a moment looking around.

“It was like this at the beginning,” he continued, “before they began to prey upon each other. That’s why the smaller, weaker ones flourish in such abundance now. There’s plenty of room for them to expand with the cities gone.”

“Cities? What cities? Where is this?”

“Not where, when!”

“So much was destroyed in those final years, now it is being replenished. These trees are young, a mere one or two hundred years. This was a city once, an urban area reduced to rubble. Now the sands of time have clothed it once more with beauty, and nature, once perverted by man, flourishes.”

“People moved away from the cities after a while to make a new start at life. They took what was useful and left. Hardly any knew anything of the new agrarian lifestyle most were to pursue. Few survived but those few were special. Most were happy to leave, in fact most already had left of their own accord for one reason or another- they couldn’t buy or sell. They’d been hunted, lost families and loved ones; these were the survivors. Like the animals they were few, but their needs were few also, content to be alive, to be free. Some had survival skills and helped others, all were ready to learn. From one day to the next farmers became the new elite, teaching businessmen and ex heads of state how to farm and care for the land.”

“How do you know all this? Who the hell are you anyway?”

Doc smiled. “You think I’m a figment of your imagination don’t you?”

“No you… you were…”

“Was I?”

“I don’t know! Am I going crazy?” Doc stopped, taking Alex’ hand he looked deep into his eyes.

“You’re not dead and you’re not crazy Alex.”

“Then what?”

“I brought you here for a purpose. You’ve always been a traveler, reveled in new cultures…”

“Yes, but never anything like this”

“No, not like this. I want you to talk about it, write a few more books. Use your celebrity status to pass on the message.”

“I’m hardly a celebrity.”

“Not yet, but you will be, if you accept the task.”

Coma. (blog bite of short fantasy story)

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needle

Alex awoke to morning sunlight dazzling his eyes. He moved to sit up. Then he remembered…The dreams were becoming more real than his “reality”. He waited passively in his unresponsive body for the all-important shot that would reunite him with his fantasy utopia.

It came, the beaming smile, eye contact, and the prick of the needle. His eyes closed in expectancy, opening to focus on a white stone fountain, fresh sparkling water, a small town square reminding him of southern Italian piazzas…

A cool breeze ruffled his shirt. Villagers sat around white, ironwork tables drinking wine, chatting, feet outstretched in the evening sunshine.  A weathered old man, foot resting on a rattan chair, coaxed music from an ancient fiddle for a group of young dancers. More people were coming together having finished work for the day.

There was a feeling of balance, no one tired or exhausted, the intense need prevalent in Alex past life to “party” as an antidote to work or stress (as if enjoyment must be crammed in) seemed entirely missing.

Alex looked around for his guide. Doc was close by, answering the unspoken questions as if it were the most natural thing in the world.

“Most do this every night, or most nights,” He informed Alex. “Someone is always here and they enjoy this time together.”

It seemed quite family orientated, with quite a few old folks, mostly sitting at the tables or playing instruments. Children dashed between the groups playing games, some intent on an occupation similar to jacks, squatting on the ground, there were even a few dogs milling in the crowd. Younger folks were mostly dancing and talking.

“Not everyone is here,” Doc explained. “Some young couples for example prefer to walk alone, or enjoy the moonlight and stars.” He chuckled.

There was an overall feeling of peace and tranquility, song and laughter; no one seemed to be intense. Alex noted the old man that played had the fiddle dancing with a young woman and a strapping looking youngster with a little girl standing on his feet to dance. No one putting on a show, everyone included.

There were lampposts set about the square lighting the tables and illuminating the fountain, making the water sparkle. Some folks sat on its edge, a young girl splashing her companion, he laughed as it ended in a kiss. They all suddenly turned to acknowledge and wave to Alex, a wave of farewell. Was it time to go?

“No Doc, no! Not yet! I don’t want to go!” Alex pleaded, but the wave of darkness invaded none the less.

Coma.

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children playing

(third blog bite of a short sci fi/fantasy story)

Alex woke with a jolt in his own personal penitentiary, aching to feel the response of his body. Hope glimmered. “Doc” said there’d be other times…

“Stupid, stupid idiot!” he admonished himself “Doc” was a fragment of dreams, a character created by his subconscious due to his administering the medication. It was all an illusion, a paradise conjured by the meeting of a desperate mind hallucinogenic drugs.

Would the real doctor return? He had no way of knowing. Fear seized him. Night came with its nightmares, but none as bad as his waking state.

Morning dawned, faces swam and retreated, the drip rattled as it was changed. Then there he was, Doc.

“Bet you thought I wasn’t coming!” he grinned as Alex felt the prick of the needle.

*

The hospital gown was gone; replaced by a shirt and loose, brown, cotton pants.

“Do you like your new look?” Doc chirped. “I thought you might want to blend in more.”

“Well it sure beats that gown! Simple and functional, suits me!”

“Yes, I think it does,” Doc said slowly, looking him over. “No multi-million fashion industry here!” he added, as if picturing with pleasure its demise, “or Anorexia.” A cloud of sadness passed his face, then he continued. “No gyms either, there’s plenty of “work out” to be got out in the fields. No uncomfortable business suits for anyone! The air is fresh and unpolluted, there’s plenty of good food for all, rest and exercise, the little ones thrive on it.” Alex remembered the healthy, laughing children at the pool.

“My kind of place!” he agreed. (If only it were real)…

“Let’s look at the school!” Doc grinned. Strolling over the hillside they sighted a crowd of children sitting under an oak, a vivacious young woman standing among them.”The location can change with each lesson.” Doc informed him. “Today it’s here.”

The children flocked to him. He gathered them in his arms as they laughed and squealed. They seemed to know him. The teacher was unconcerned at the interruption of her lesson, smiling flirtatiously at Alex. They began telling Doc some of the places they’d been and things they’d done. Alex listened enthralled. This school was no longer about books it seemed one joyous festival of learning, doing and experiencing!

“There are whole areas for them to come where they can learn constructively. ” Doc explained, “They come any time they want, it’s not required. Some parents also teach them at home, but they like to come, there’s no need of cajoling. Even reading and writing are not compulsory, though they all learn because there are so many beautiful books and stories. Some things must be learnt the hard way and reading is one of them, but it’s taught without pressure so some learn early others late. You’d enjoy teaching here.”

“Me a teacher?”

“Why not?”

“But what would I teach?”

“Oh, believe me you’d have plenty to teach! As you can see this school system is quite different!” He laughed and the sound was pure joy reflected in the laughter of the children. It all became one and blended together as darkness invaded.