One Last Chance

Planet Earth watercolour painting by Elena Mozhvilo@miracleday Unsplash

Great Being Five had been twiddling her thumbs for too long at the Academy for Wisdom¹. Over the decades she’d re-educated many recalcitrant Great Beings and re-engineered their wrong-doings. She’d set them all back on the straight and narrow, repentant of their misdeeds in the management of their planets. But now she was bored.

True, she still retained responsibility for two planets, but one was still at the ‘rocks and slime stage’ and the other, Orea, the one she used to love so much, with its pretty pastel colours and cute, fluffy life-forms, was… well, just a little bit dull.

Five was missing her beautiful blue planet. Planet Earth, which she’d finally decided to delete² back in Earth Year 2033, before the greedy, selfish little humans destroyed it themselves and took off to infect another planet.

She missed those fallible little creatures. Back in the day, before they had too many technical toys at their disposal, they were such fun. So creative! Five sighed as a wave of nostalgia broke over her desk and splashed off her Universal Viewing Screen.

Back in the day. The thought crossed and re-crossed her mind.

It lingered while a plan formed.

She’d done it before, and she could do it again. As a top official in the Academy, she had both the authority and the autonomy. All she needed to do was turn back Time in that small solar system on the edge of the Milky Way. 

Once before she’d re-set Planet Earth, but sadly it hadn’t had much effect; soon the arrogant little inhabitants were back on the road to their inevitable existential fate. This time needed to be different. A planet-wide change of mind-set must be effected.

She knew just the Being to help her.

Five dropped a mind message to her first re-education subject, the one she knew best and her greatest success. She immediately sensed his enthusiasm for the project. He was primed and ready for action. She would take care of the Time-Grid and he would set up the means for a mind-set change.

He warned her it would be radical.
He warned her it would be tough.
He warned her it would take time.

She agreed.

Five aligned the Time-Grid: 01.01.2020.
A nice round number; not long before The Total Tipping Point.

She sat back. Watched and waited.

Planet Earth reappeared in its old position. The little humans had ceased their scurrying. They’d hunkered down and huddled in their homes. Five was saddened at the sickness and the suffering; the deaths of the elderly, the poorly and the poor.

The Earth turned and turned again
day after day
month after month.

Skies cleared. Rivers ran clean. Nature thrived and re-asserted itself.
The planet cooled down a little.

When the scourge passed, the little humans emerged. They had changed and the change came from within; a new understanding of their beautiful blue planet.

Five mind-melded with her colleague: thanks, Nineteen.

She hoped her little humans would get it right now.


¹ For the Greater Good
² And finally she pulled the plug

Photo credit: watercolour painting by Elena Mozhvilo

Review – A Sextet Of Shorts by Chris Hall

What a very pleasant surprise it was when Joe Leonardi, aka the Short Story Scribe, emailed me the other day to say he’d enjoyed my slim volume of short stories; and now he’s posted such an encouraging review.

Do please check out Joe’s work too: he’s recently published a new novella entitled ‘The Comfort of Despair’.  I’ve got my copy, have you?

Short Story Scribe

A Sextet of Shorts by [Hall, Chris]I enjoy good short stories, and in thisSextet of Shorts, Chris Hall does an amazing job. Each story is complete and fulfilling, and left me wanting for just a bit more.

My favorites are “The Swindler,” because it left me thinking, and “A New Friend for Henry,” because it left me smiling.

Chris Hall, as usual, tells some good stories. Stories I highly recommend.

A Sextet of Shorts is available on Amazon.com  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C1NC397


“Who the hell am I?”20190630_1305207795170130459536580.jpg

I am an independent, self-published teller of tales,
an author, as of yet, scarcely any renown.
However, as a storyteller, I know who I am,
and with that persona, I am both confident and comfortable. I invite you to visit my website,

ShortStoryScribe.com

and/or Amazon Author Pages

Joe Leonardi              Scono Sciuto

if you are so inclined please
purchase a copy and leave a review.

View original post 44 more words

A new dawn

Treetops by Nigel Whitehead
‘Tree tops’ by Nigel Whitehead

From my Flash Fiction Collection

Great Being Five was having a bad day. The worst day she’d ever had since she’d decided to delete planet Earth. She’d known she had to do it, but still she regretted it. What she also regretted was agreeing to collaborate with Great Being Nineteen on his newly relocated planet. What a nightmare that had turned out to be.

After the destruction of Earth, Great Being Nineteen had given his barren little red planet a nudge, moving it gently into the Earth’s old orbit. Deferring to her experience of the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ he’d asked her to set up the basic building blocks for life, most essentially, the liquid water. The planet already had important elements like carbon and nitrogen; it even had ready-made continents and a slightly defunct volcanic system which just required a little kick-start to give the planet more energy.

She’d carefully retrieved the Earth’s old moon and substituted for Mars’ own two moons which she felt weren’t really up to the job. They were too small and misshapen and she hated their forbidding names which reminded her of all the worst qualities of her erstwhile earthlings. Who in their right mind would call their nearest heavenly bodies Phobos and Deimos – fear and dread?

Being thrifty she had put them in storage in an empty part of the universe. They might come in useful for something, although Great Being Nineteen would probably auction them off.

She sighed as she looked across the surface of the red planet. It had gone so well initially, especially after she’d introduced the blue-green algae. The warmth of the now-nearer sun had allowed them to photosynthesize and voilà, oxygen levels increased rapidly, an ozone layer formed and the plant developed an atmosphere. It had been a long wait, but as far as Great Being Five was concerned, it was party time.

As she and Great Being Nineteen toasted their success, the bickering began. First of all they couldn’t agree on a name. It needed something new, bright and vibrant, but all their brainstorming only ended in bitter recrimination. Great Being Nineteen wanted something tough and macho-sounding. Five told him tersely that it really wouldn’t do. What sort of tone would that set for a new world? Eventually, they decided to ‘park’ the problem until the planet developed a character of its own.

The next bone of contention was how they would develop the aesthetic. Great Being Nineteen really had no idea. They browsed among the galaxies, searching for ideas, but nothing really grabbed them. Eventually Five decided to show him her lovely planet in Alpha Centauri, proudly lifting the subtle cloaking device she’d installed to keep it hidden from predatory interstellar life forms.

He wasn’t impressed. “Just birds and trees and flowers? Where’s the interest? Where’s the ultimate struggle for survival?”

Five had turned away in disgust, washing her hands of the whole project. Let him do as he wants, she thought, and turned her attention to adding some pretty pastel coloured animals to the dappled woodlands of her lovely planet; all herbivores, of course. And then, finally, she settled upon its name. Her lovely planet would be known as Orea.

But over the millennia she couldn’t resist the odd little peak at Nineteen’s handiwork.

Over time, Great Being Nineteen had named his planet Ferox and had introduced an interesting collection of flora and fauna. He’d raided the Earth archives she’d shared with him and picked out the most predatory creatures he could find. Huge raptors circled the skies, carnivores red in tooth and claw stalked the plains and forests, killer whales patrolled the oceans. Happily there were no war-mongering bipeds… yet.

Five had to admit his collection of big cats were beautiful, as she scanned the planet; but, wait, what was that tiger eating? She peered at her viewing screen more closely. What she saw filled her with horror.

She flicked her monitor over to Orea. Where were all the furry mammals? She roved among the woodland glades. Not a pink fluffy bunny in sight! And where were the birds?

She returned her attention to Ferox just in time to see a raptor gobble up one of her red-gold sun-birds in mid-flight. Everywhere she looked were signs of the carnage; a handful of bright feathers here, a sorry lump of pastel-coloured fur there.

He’d ransacked her lovely planet. It had to be him! No-one else knew about Orea. How could he do such a thing? She wept for the loss of her beautiful benign creatures.

Finally her lament ceased. Great Being Five brushed away her tears.

She had a plan. She would re-set her planet. Ctrl-alt-delete, turn back the clock, then repopulate.

Then she had her best idea.

Adopting an anonymous thought-pattern, she sent a mind-message to Great Being Nineteen. “I have some very exciting new stock you might be interested in.” She smiled to herself as she dropped the thought into his brain. “It will add a real ‘wow factor’ to the planet I hear you’re working on,” she floated an image of a couple of dragons in flight in front of him. “But you’ll need to come in person.”

She gave him the co-ordinates.

Great Being Nineteen arrived on the surface of the planet. It looked familiar, very much like that soppy planet of Five’s, but he was certain he’d never visited this part of the Dark Universe. He stared around. Where was this new stock the dealer had offered him?

Over on the bright side of the universe Five hit the keyboard, glancing at her monitor to see the empty space which Orea had previously occupied.

She hit the keyboard again and entered another complex sequence into the system. Orea reappeared, recently returned from the furthest corner of the universe where she had dumped a few unwanted items. Orea was as lush as ever and ready for new life.

Suddenly it wasn’t a bad day after all.

©2019 Chris Hall

And finally, she pulled the plug

She pulled the plug by Chris Hall lunasonline

From my Flash Fiction Collection

And now there was nothing left of what had been her beautiful blue planet. Great Big Five sighed. She had given them chance after chance. She had very nearly deleted the entire human race in Earth Year 2018. Only that little message which flashed up after she had hit the big red button had given her pause.

Do you really want to DELETE?

No, she hadn’t. She’d cancelled the request. Sat back and watched and waited for fifteen Earth Years more. She’d watched the greedy, selfish humans squander more and more of the precious resources of her pretty planet. Barren soil blew away, the oceans turned to acid, the very atmosphere was toxic. Some of the little humans had tried to avert the crisis. They’d spoken out. Even important, influential ones had acted, added their voices. There were protests, social media campaigns, new policies agreed and implemented; the planet had staggered on, but it was all too little, too late.

Meanwhile others had been working on a plan. Done with the Earth, they would move on. Move to another planet. Their neighbour: the red planet. Clever little humans!

Never mind what they’d done to the animals and birds, the trees and flowers, the mountains and lakes. All her best work they’d left in tatters.

She had mind-melded with Great Being Nineteen. The red planet was under his jurisdiction. She had suspected he had plans. With Earth out of the way, he could move his smaller red planet nearer to its sun, into what her imaginative earthlings called the Goldilocks Zone, after one of their sweet little stories. Allow something new to evolve. He’d even let her collaborate on his project.

You have activated Planet Total Destruction. Are you sure you want to do this?

She did.

They couldn’t be allowed to spread their wicked ways.

©2019 Chris Hall

 

Fury

Superpower by Chris Hall lunasonline

Sandra’s superpowers had come as a surprise. Caused by a faulty connection in her washing machine, the freak accident had dumped her on the floor. She’d felt rather odd after that, sending out electric shocks at the most inopportune moments. It was only when she’d touched the interactive display at the mall and the whole panel had exploded that she’d realised their potential.

So many wrongs which need righting, it was hard to know where to start; but the people who had rejected her writing were at the top of her list.

Hell hath no fury like an author scorned.


Written in response to The Haunted Wordsmith’s Prompt May 13, 2019

Can you look again?

000 HW Prompt 28.04.19
Source

What do you see, Tiger Lily?

I see the moon.
I see the path shining in front of me, illuminated in the bright moonlight.

What else?

Nothing else.

What do you feel, Tiger Lily?

I feel the dampness of the night.
I feel the ground, wet beneath my feet.

What do you hear, Tiger Lily?

I hear waves breaking on a shore far away.
Do I hear you breathing?
Why can’t I see you?

What do you smell, Tiger Lily?

I smell the dampness of the earth.
Nothing else.
Where are you?

What do you taste, Tiger Lily

I taste nothing.
Just emptiness.

What do you remember, Tiger Lily?

I remember when we first met; on a moon-bright night like this.
I remember… everything.

And what do you want, Tiger Lily?

I want you back.


Written in response to The Haunted Wordsmith’s Daily Prompt 28.04.19

A Candlelit Evening

Candlelit evening by Chris Hall lunasinline photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Wrapped in her fluffy pink robe she glides into the beautiful bathroom. Hot water gushes from swan-shaped tabs into a large claw-footed tub. The light is subdued. Rose-scented candles glow seductively, reflected in the slightly-smoked full length mirror with its glittering frame of hand-picked pink quartz tiles. She pauses and turns around. What has she forgotten?

Moments later she reappears carrying a large crystal glass containing her favourite mouth-filling red wine.

The white-tiled floor is glossy, and slippery with an unnoticed sheen of steam. She strides forward and suddenly…

She’s on the floor, prone on those pricey ice-white tiles. She hesitates for just a moment and then rises to her feet. She stands facing the mirror, but something’s wrong. Where’s her reflection? She focuses on the one missing tile on the far corner of the frame, still not mended, but when she looks back, her face is still absent.

Her gaze travels down the misting mirror. What’s that on the floor behind her? She turns and sees a pink robed figure. Spilled red blood mingles with spilled red wine. She raises her hand to her mouth to suppress a scream, but there is no hand, no mouth.

There is nothing.



Written in response to The Haunted Wordsmith’s
Main March Madness13 ‘A Ghost’
and with a nod to a scene from Michael Connelly’s ‘Dark Sacred Night’.