FlashFeeD 1.21

Great stories last week. Your creativity with the prompts is simply stunning – thank you!

As always, write a story within the character limit, based on the prompt, below.

Keep liking, commenting and contributing and you get points (DogTreats). The more you are involved the more you get awarded. There are badges, ranks and leaderboards that showcase your participation.

Focus on character this week, please.

Enjoy!

Trapped? Escaping? Alternative worlds? Just a bubble from a kid? You decide.

 

Full rules here:

Stories will be limited to 2000 characters* (about 300 words), including the title.

*(The field itself will allow for 2050 characters, but this extra 50 characters is only to be used as contingency and it won't be increased).

Use the comment field to post stories, include your story title. Use the reply button on a particular story to provide positive feedback. Press the ‘like’ icon if you like a story.


 

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17 Replies to “FlashFeeD 1.21”

  1. ‘Plain Sight’

    Yes, it was cursed. Yes, I should’ve known. No, you wouldn’t have done anything different.
    Okay, maybe you wouldn’t have bought it. Maybe you don’t do flea markets, or maybe a crystal ball isn’t the sort of tat you want cluttering up your life. But it spoke to me, you know? I saw it and it said “Buy me. You need me”.
    You’d have bought it too. You’d have heard that voice, it would’ve drawn you to the market. You’d have needed to see.
    And I could see. Really see. I looked in it and saw clearly. I saw the true shape of people: all their angles, all their edges. Pin-sharp. I saw the colour of their thoughts, who they were, who they could be, what they wanted. I understood them.
    Have you ever been understood? Not just been so in love, so close, that you’d predict your lover’s words and moods. That’s just knowing. You’d do a lot for someone who loved you that much, but it’s still just knowing. I mean being really understood. Had someone connect to your centre, to the parts you’d never reveal: your dark, your underground, your truth. Imagine what you’d do for someone like that.
    You’d do anything and it would feel like freedom.
    Tell me you wouldn’t use that power. I dare you. You’d use it. You’d get what you wanted. Maybe you think you’d want different things to me. World peace, perhaps? Love and happiness and kittens for all? You’d have the power to enthrall and you’d use it to make the world a better place? I don’t need the ball to see the lie in that.
    You’d do what I did: start small, take a little. Feel your way. Would you be money or sex first? The ball would have told me. It doesn’t matter: you’d have taken and never even noticed your own edges blurring, that you were becoming a little harder to see.
    So you’d take more. Fade more. You’d be focused on seeing other people’s reality; you’d never notice your own slowly diffusing. And you’d take more.
    And then you’d be me. You’d be the truth: desire and regret, swirling, incorporeal, in an invisible prison.

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  2. Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble

    It really worked. Red couldn’t believe it. The Bubble Machine worked. This was the next evolution in keeping memories intact. A simple electrode read the users thoughts and captured the moment in a perfect bubble. The sphere would then harden over the course of a few minutes and become almost indestructible. It was the perfect keepsake. Red instantly became obsessed with his new discovery.

    It was not without flaws. Hard to recall memories would come out hazy and one time two test subjects were instructed to create a bubble of the same memory and both came out very different. Different medications, both legal and illegal, would distort and warp the pictures inside. A horror of multiple disjointed memories created something surreal and terrifying if a thought were interrupted while the bubble was forming.

    Red was found dead in his lab a few months later. Heart attack is what the coroner report would reveal and the follow-on police investigation left out one key detail. The Bubble Machine kept producing a ghastly image of a distorted dark figure over and over again. His coworkers became frightened of the machine and destroyed it along with all the memory bubbles. The mysteries of the mind are sometimes better left undiscovered.

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  3. Title:
    A Boy called Roy
    SETI his only joy.

    SETI, Roy claimed was his ‘love of life-times’. His birth, Roy felt was “to be a medium to extra-terrestrial ways of life”.

    At 17 he ingested all that was available on establishing contact with aliens, trying many a modus operandi without breakthrough. Then came along Reeth, his AI friend. Reeth ushered a paradigm shift in Roy search. Alternative realities & realms were offered to Roy as means to multi-dimensional space travel. Reeth projected a holographic image of Roy in a gateway bubble. This bubble being a portal to facilitate communication with intelligent-beings galore of extra-terrestrial origins. #vss365

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  4. After fifteen hours of driving, negotiating between the road, his GPS, and a well-worn map, Greg pulled over and turned off the car. The arrow on the GPS screen pointed to a stretch of dual-lane highway just south of Silver City, Utah. The ballpoint pen cross mark on his map was just off the road, opposite where he had parked.

    Greg rubbed his eyes and leaned back against the car seat. He needed sleep, but he couldn’t. Not yet. He checked the time on his phone. The sun would be on the horizon in thirty minutes, and he needed to be ready. He placed his palms face up on his knees, closed his eyes, and focused his thoughts. His training came back to him.

    Breathe slowly. Feel the energy, the molecules around you. Reach out with your mind.

    Still concentrating, he reached over to the passenger seat and picked up the red square wooden box. He set it on his lap, and gently pulled back the lid to reveal a glass ball on a bed of cotton wool. Greg carefully lifted the ball from the box, set the box aside, and held the ball in both hands, focusing energy on it.

    As soon as the ball started to vibrate, Greg opened his eyes, got out of the car, and crossed the road.

    The sun was peeking over the horizon.

    He placed the ball on a nearby fence post where it would catch the light of the sun as it emerged over the plain, and stepped back until he was at the side of the road. Exactly where the map had been marked.

    He checked his phone. Thirty seconds.

    Greg looked up at the sky and tried to calm his racing heart, soundlessly counting the seconds.

    The ball lit up, bathing Greg in a shower of warmth. His skin felt as if it was being roasted, but it didn’t hurt. The light and the heat intensified, and a low rumble began that grew increasingly loud.

    “I’m coming for you, Andrea!” he shouted over the noise.

    Suddenly, the noise stopped.

    Greg and the ball were gone.

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  5. Worlds within worlds. A bubble of clarity even as his own memory blurred. They swarmed around him, growing in number as more leached out of his tormented mind, a slow extraction, a detailed interrogation.

    Occasionally, one of his examiners would hold up a bubble in front of him showing a particularly precious remembrance and then, with a cruel smile, crush it out of existence. He could sense the growing emptiness inside him. Soon they would have everything and he would be nothing. The next bubble showed him signing his patent, his invention the key to wealth and power, the high point of his career.

    Another bubble, dining in a fancy restaurant with the two men in front of him, investors. More fleeting visions, darker. White powder. Alcohol. The hands of those opposite offering him chemical escape, making it easy. Another image. Him begging but the hands empty, refusing. Him signing another bit of paper.

    “Anything?” The voice was distant.

    “Almost done. It’s like wiping a hard drive.”

    “Make sure you leave nothing behind. No trace.”

    A needle pricked his skin. The flood was faster now. He struggled to hold on to himself, to that day in the sun, the last day he had ever been at peace but even that dissolved.

    They left him, a shell of a man. No past, no present, no future. It didn’t bother them. They had an auction to attend. Getting into the waiting limo, one of the men felt a stab to the neck, watched his life bubble up and away. The other settled back, started to dream of riches, bubbles of fantasy drifting up and up.

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  6. The Desert Light

    As I drove home along the desert road the sun was falling behind the craggy hills and the temperature was dropping markedly – I cursed the broken heater of the old Dodge. I was still fifteen minutes from home. Dinner would be in the dog or at least hovering over the bin; mum liked to be melodramatic. A shaft of light flashed across my vision and I instinctively took my foot of the accelerator. It had probably been just a piece of glass somewhere near the fence, some redneck carelessly discarding a bottle. As I returned my foot to the accelerator I saw it in the mirror though; an intense ray of light beaming towards the old agave.

    I don’t know why it bothered me, but I stopped. The clunky reverse acted up so I walked back, kicking up the dust and watching the fine sand glint in what remained of the daylight. There was always something about dusk and dawn. It did something to time and perceptions; it was magical.

    Then there it was, a large glass sphere on a fence post. Like one of those that you see in black and white films with an old crone or some gypsy with a shawl drawn up over her head saying she could see into the future – if only her hands were crossed with silver. I’ve never seen a crystal ball. I always assumed they were made of glass and not actually crystal.

    It had stopped me in my tracks fifteen feet away or so. I think it was just the surreal nature of it. Here was a perfect sphere with no imperfections within it. What the hell was it doing here? Why would anyone bring it here and then leave it? How had it not fallen off the post? I suddenly felt I wasn’t alone. I looked around urgently calling out ‘Is there anybody here?’ But I knew there wasn’t, there hadn’t been anyone around for days.

    And then the sphere moved.

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  7. Appearances are deceiving.

    A loving father. Each day, he leaves at 8 sharp, packing the kids in his Volvo with a smile, kissing his wife good bye. He drops the children at the local school. He makes sure he has planty of time to stop and chat to other parents for five minutes.

    At his office, he’s always helpful. His smile is perennial, no matter what goes around him. He’s the one who sees outside the box and finds solutions when needed; he’s the one who works harder when the boss says so.

    In the afternoon he drives the kids to their extracurricular activities: rugby, music, archery, swimming, dance.

    They visit the local game store and buy a new board game each month, and the family has a game night each Friday, so the kids can stay up a bit longer.

    Surprise comes with the police. They arrive in force, on a weekend when his wife and children are out. The neighbours are treated to a TV-series deployment. Some perhaps even hope for a gunfire exchange.

    But he’s not that kind. He surrenders. The smile he’s wearing when they handcuff him and take him away is not his usual one. It’s the smile of a monster.

    The nosy neighbours wished they hadn’t been staring when the cops start digging his garden.

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  8. Appearances Are Deceiving

    He’s a loving father. Every morning he walks the dog, waving at the nosy neighbours he knows are behind the blue curtains across the streets. His smile never leaves his face.

    At eight sharp, he’s on the porch, helping the kids into the car. He always kisses his wife good-bye, then caresses her cheek. At school, he wishes the children a good day. He makes sure he has five minutes to spare so he can chat up a few other parents. He invariably cheers them up.

    He’s widely appreciated in his company. He’s the guy you can go to if you need help: he will consistently give you good advice, and will lend you a hand if he can. His smile is perennial, even at the worst of times. His colleagues trust him.

    In the afternoons, he takes his children to their extracurricular activities: swimming, rugby, dancing, cooking, archery, fencing, chess and music. All of them things the kids love. He smiles and waves at the nosy neighbours when he arrives home in the evenings.

    His wife and the kids have to leave just for this weekened. He kisses them all good-bye on Saturday morning, then gets in. Ten minutes later, the police arrives. It looks like a TV series, only it’s live. If someone expected a gunfight, they’re disappointed: he simply surrenders. His smile when he’s handcuffed and introduced in the police cruiser is not his daily one: it’s wolfish and crooked, and it doesn’t reach his eyes.

    The nosy neighbours wish they weren’t peeking when the cops start digging up his garden.

    Like

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