Black and White

“Rise in adulthood aggression and medieval pre-twenty-third century Earthen ideals.”

“Thought we coded them out?”

My research partner and I watched the latest group of toddlers through the window.

A parent entered, giving their child a new battalion spacecraft toy in place of its baby doll.

“You’ll be stronger than the last,” the parent said, leaving the room, “I’ll make sure your toys won’t hold you back.”

I looked at my research partner.

“It’s not really that black and white, is it?”

“We’re innately drawn to gentle things, until-”

Parent and child passed us in the hall.

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This piece is inspired by this week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction prompt:

February 1, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that features something black and white. It could be a nun in a zebra monster truck, a rigid way of thinking, a bird in a tuxedo — be imaginative and go where the prompt leads.

Our oldest started school for the first time this week, our middle is now in kinder (preschool) and our youngest will follow close behind next year, so I’ve been thinking a lot about children.

Our youngest, who is a gentle soul, no matter what society expects, is most often drawn to flowing and pretty things, because, which child wouldn’t like the sparkly crown or the twirly skirt or the pretty butterfly perched on a flower? It’s human nature to, because we are coded to search for water, and water sparkles in the sun. We’re coded to avoid dangerous situations, to want to create peace, to survive, to thrive, and to see others in our community do so too.

We were also coded to use aggression in life threatening situations and that’s where the line gets blurred.

What is a life threatening situation? One where someone has a gun to our head or knife to our throat? When the other driver almost runs us off the road? One where we’re scared of losing control, or where we might feel like we have no control? When we’re scared to lose someone? Or when we don’t understand why things are changing? Or why other things are different in the first place?

Aggression is more readily used when a person feels they’ve lost control over a situation, when there’s a lack of understanding or lack of support through these new changes, but also, when there’s that underlying encouragement telling us that being an innately gentle human is valued less than being in control. Where does that encouragement come from?

To the Edge

“Due end of week,” she said.

I accepted the file transfer.

“Anything else?”

“Check in on the dome too, yeah?”

“Or we’ll all die?”

“Cold,” she said, her aug profile smirking.

“Mars is colder.”

“Answers for everything.”

“This trip wouldn’t work without me,” I said.

“Don’t be so sure.”

We ended comms.

I stared at my screen.

With a flick, I opened an isolated program and equipped a headset.

“Activate,” I said.

My private quarters morphed into the landscape of a digital alien world. Starships, exotic forests, grand ocean cities.

Reality wouldn’t send me over the edge just yet.

———————-

This was inspired by the Carrot Ranch’s weekly flash fiction prompts.

This week called for a story that goes to the edge in 99 words (no more, no less).

I’m fascinated by how we keep ourselves from the depths. The daily rituals we cling to, the darker callings we’re forever trying to fight out.

The strength it takes.

When I think of the edge, I think of human nature, who we are, who we will become, our ever growing potential.

It’s in us all.

Boots

I searched his spaceship quarters for his favourite brown pair amongst the futuristic interior.

But I wasn’t supposed to be here, authorities had my signal logged.

My team gained access to locked drawers via external game code changes.

Highly illegal.

I sped up my search.

Proximity alarms sounded as I found the pair beneath some spacesuit underclothes. I scanned their size, colour, scuff marks, everything, and uploaded the data.

“Now,” I said, via comms.

My external team deactivated the program, waking me before authorities gained a visual.

His real world funeral was perfect, replica in-game boots and all.

——————-

This piece was inspired by the Carrot Ranch’s Jan 18th Flash Fiction Challenge.

I dedicate it to my Father, who passed away a year ago this Jan 24th. It was inspired by his love of gaming, and how he was the first one who, through Dune, truly introduced me to the world of sci-fi, a genre which soon became my utterly consuming creative life’s passion.

Thanks Dad.

Gathering the Harvest

Picturesque Earth lay peaceful, to the untrained eye. 

One final pod slid up its cable to a ship in orbit.

I peered down from the viewing deck.
A streak of fire. Then an explosion. The cable rocked.

Another streak. Closer.

Pod integrity lost. Passengers compromised.

Ship sirens wailed. Incredible engines rumbled to life. The cable detached and drifted loose.

“Human harvest complete, hey?” a man stepped in close, watching the Earth shrink away.

“Failed, more like it,” I said, distancing myself.

“Ah well,” he winked, “I’m happy with the new Mars crop.”

My stomach turned, where’s the training deck?



After a long break, huge self growth and a literary focus change, I’m back. Trying my hand at proper sci-fi like I’ve never written before. 

And I love it.

A few extra themes added in this one, but primarily focused on this week’s 99 word Flash Fiction prompt at the Carrot Ranch, Gathering a Harvest.

September 21: Flash Fiction Challenge

I’m feeling more courageous in my writing and I hope I inspire some other amazing humans out there!

Red

Dirt caked her soft dress. She’ll wash it later. For now, though self-assigned, she had to complete her mission before the sun set – she had to find it.
Laughter reached her, drifting from the house at the bottom of the yard; soon it’d turn to cries.
She had to hurry.
She sped over the ground, eyes darting.
At last she spotted it, red fabric peeking out beneath the roses.

Hiding behind the gum’s roots, she held her breath as her charge’s carer emerged, collected a red blanket, disappeared and all became quiet inside, as the lights went out.


My contribution to this week’s weekly challenge over at the Carrot Ranch.

The challenge called for a flash fiction piece in 99 words that related in some way to the prompt, dirt.

This piece is driven by the same two characters of my last two Carrot Ranch, prompt-inspired posts, Protector and The Gift.