I watch the time countdown on my screen. My shift is about to start. I run my fingers over the keyboard. I’m ready.
The workload has been increasing. So far I’m keeping up. The monitoring is continual. From the moment you are woken until the lights and screens are turned off: when to shower, when to eat, when to take a break.
It’s all about production, efficiency, the bottom line.
Clock in, clock off, clock out. Thank you for your contribution.
At least I’m only writing ‘soapies’ to entertain the masses. Imagine the pressure if I was doing something crucial.
The Foremost Developer had taken the bait: 100 acres of rain-forest, ripe for replanting with oil palms. He rubbed his hands. His bulldozers were ready. But this time Gaia had been awakened; she too was ready for destruction. This time the earth would revolt. It would not be the last.
The restaurant was closed the following day and I was leaving that afternoon. What potent ingredient had been in the aperitif which caused the world to change before my eyes?
A seemingly innocuous ruby concoction which rendered people’s reflections invisible and gave me a voracious appetite for the steak tartare.
50 word story written in response to Teresa, The Haunted Wordsmith‘s Genre Writing Challenge. I’m not quite sure that I pulled it off, but it’s just a bit of fun!
Based on a strange evening I once had in Seville. I’ll tell you about it sometime.
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 Madness‘ 13 ‘A Ghost’
and with a nod to a scene from Michael Connelly’s ‘Dark Sacred Night’.
We peer out at the blank, barren landscape. Having landed, we’re not sure where we are. Or for that matter, ‘when’ we are. That’s the problem if you borrow the Professor’s Special Space Machine without asking.
But she’d shown it to us, tempted us. That’s the problem with having someone like the Professor coaching you for entry to the Space Academy.
But hold on, who’s that up ahead? Look, she’s waving.
We hurry forward into the bleak barrenness, but before we reach her, there is an ear-splitting sound. Everything goes black.
Later, when we come round, we are strapped into hard, upright seats facing a large spherical console. The Professor is standing opposite us.
We start to speak, but she holds up her hand for silence. “I’m sorry. I know you wanted to join the Space Academy, but I’m afraid the Great Zyborgatron has other plans.” She smiles weakly. “He did grant me one last request, however.”
Plates of burgers and chips materialize before us. We look at her; what did she say?
“Well go on,” she urges, indicating the food.
We eat. We devour the lot. It’s the best burger and chips we’ve ever had.
The year before, and all the years before that, as long as anyone could remember, when the travelling circus came to town, elephants and monkeys marched along the main road all the way through the town to the open field where they set up the tents. Snake handlers, people on stilts, and even the bearded lady followed, handing out fliers as they danced past.
But this year was different. On the appointed day we heard a brass band heralding the parade. The rosy cheeked ringmaster in his full regalia marched proudly at the front. Dainty drum majorettes followed, parading and pirouetting; next came the gaudily dressed clowns with their sad, smiling faces. And acrobats who turned cartwheels and somersaults.
But where were the lions, the tigers and elephants? Where were the dwarfs and the tallest man in the World? No ladies with beards or two-tailed monkeys? No fire-eaters, no sword-swallowers or freak acts at all!