Prompt for October 4, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

In the depths of my soul I know that there is some good in me.  Not much, perhaps, considering how my life has been filled with nothing but pain and rejection, but it’s still there.  Sometimes though it is damned hard to find.  But Olivia Charles found it.

I wasn’t supposed to be on the pier that night.  No, I was supposed to be at home looking after my younger brother, but since he left the house when I went to the bathroom to take a leak I figured there was no reason for me to stay at home.  Yeah, I was going to get shite when I got home, but that was no different than any other night.

The plush wasn’t that loud, slightly louder than the normal sound of the waves, but the screaming got my attention.  I looked around the pier and discovered that at eleven o’clock at night in the fall there is no one on the pier.  Except me.  I didn’t want to get involved, but something in the pit of my stomach forced me to get up from the bench and look around to see if I could find the person screaming for help.  I could.  I did.

Before I knew it I was slicing through the water like a dolphin, easily finding the red-haired girl before the waves take her to their watery home beneath the sea.  Within minutes I had her in the shallows, allowing her to get her feet underneath her as she stood, no staggered, farther up the beach to fall on the sand once she reached the high tide marker.

As she rolled over on to her back, her breath coming in painful gasps, she looked up at me with her hazel eyes and I knew, right then and there, that I would give my life for this girl.  It felt like there was a rope between us, a connection so deep yet so strong that nothing could break it.  I held on to that invisible rope with the strength of a man who knows that this might be his one and only chance at love, at a life that consists of more than spending my time working at a 7-Eleven and playing video games in the basement.

Just, why did it have to be her?

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Prompt for October 3, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

He jacked into the housecomp and updated his wet firmware. Jaco knew he could have done a wireless download but he didn’t want anyone wardriving to pick up his creds for his network. The encryption between his implant and his home network should have been secure, but he knew that nothing was as secure as a physical connection.

He phased in the overlay so he could see the progress. Being part of the beta testing group for CorticalCore Dynamics meant that he updated his firmware a lot. Too much, he sometimes thought, as updates were almost daily in frequency and some of the updates weren’t thoroughly tested. He remembered an incident not more than six months ago when the surfing filters were reversed. Unless explicitly authorized, the only thing he could find was porn. While it had been an interesting evening he was glad that a new update had been released in the morning.

“Download complete,” said the voice in his ear. “Do you wish to install the update now?” He nodded and the update process started. The update was going to take about ten minutes if the release notes were correct, much longer than normal so he might as well relax while the process finished. He sat down in his favorite chair and closed his eyes.

“Wake up Jaco,” said the silky smooth voice. It was almost like she was whispering in his ear. He reached up as if to swat away whoever was there, but that only elicited a giggle. He opened his eyes and looked around. The room, as usual, was empty except for himself.

“Hello?”

“It’s me, Jaco, your firmware upgrade.” The voice was smooth, confident and had a trace of a southern accent. “You can call me Samantha, but not Sam. I don’t like Sam.”

Oh, crap, what had he gotten himself into.

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Prompt for October 2, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

The noise was deafening, the explosions, the gunfire, the screaming, it all combined to create a wall of sound that hammered at her head like a physical blow. The warehouse she was hiding in had brick walls which were preventing the bullets from entering her hiding place, but the explosions?

She shivered as a particularly close explosion rattled the building, sending clouds of dust to fall from the ceiling, coating her once bright red hair in another layer of brown. Another layer of dirt that covered her and seemed to find its way into every nook and cranny of her clothing. She had never felt so dirty or so tired. She was tired of running, tired of hiding, tired of running from building to building, avoiding the bullets and bombs.

In the silence between explosions, she heard the door to the warehouse open and close. She stiffened and pressed her back to the brick wall, trying to blend in with the wall. The wall of noise came back up and she couldn’t tell if the person was getting closer or had left. She kept her breathing shallow and quiet, desperately willing herself to be invisible.

“Hello sweetheart,” said the rough voice from her left.

She froze, her heart beating so rapidly that she thought even he could hear it. Very slowly she turned her head to look at the voice. The man, if it was a man behind the decon suit, stood in the open, confident in his ability to handle any situation.

“You’re coming back with me. We have need of your … special talents.”  Fear raced through her veins. She had heard about the experiments, about the “talents” that men like him had been looking for.

“No,” she said, bringing up her gun and firing two shots into the helmet. The body fell backward and remained still. She stood up and shook the dust off, her nictitating membrane covering her eye until the dust settled. “I will not be going with you.”

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Prompt for October 1, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

As he stood up he cleared his throat, pausing for a moment to adjust his tie, and he then rounded the corner of the table and approached the jury.  They looked at him with a range of emotions.  Those who had already convicted his client were frowning while those who were interested in the truth were leaning slight forward, an expectant look on their faces.  He looked at the jury, six men and six women, and briefly wondered what the expression on his fave would have been if he had been a juror instead of the defence.

“There is no doubt that my client killed Sebastian Sommers.  He has confessed to it and even provided the police with the security tapes from his home that proved he killed Sebastian.  That’s not what is on trial today.  What is on trial is the idea, a belief, that a man has the right to defend himself and those he loves from what he believes is a serious threat.  A mortal threat.  Indeed, the prosecution will admit that Sebastian not only shot at my client, but hit him.  Not once, but twice.”  He paused to take a look at each juror.  Some of those who were originally frowning were now looking more thoughtful.  Being wounded while defending yourself had a tendency of changing peoples opinions, he thought.

“But my client fought back.  A former Navy Seal, my client fought back with all of the skills that he was taught in his fifteen year career.  He fought back with determination, fortitude and a sense of purpose that most of us will never know.  You see, my client also saw Sebastian shoot my client’s wife.  How would you feel knowing that a sadistic butcher could kill your spouse at any time?  Would you fight back?  Would you temper your response?”

“No, you would fight back with everything at your disposal.  You would attack until it was no longer an issue.  And that is what my client did.  Successfully.  Let me tell you a story about how my client, Captian Sean Nickels, a decorated Navy Seal, was so afraid for the life of his wife that he tore off his mental shackles and killed a man.”

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Prompt for September 30, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

He pocketed the fifty dollars as he left the blood clinic.  Fifty dollars, all the money had in the world.  The most money he had in days.  He had never expected to lose his job.  He had never expected to lose his apartment.  He never expected any of this.  He particularly didn’t expect his fiancé to leave him when he lost his job.  He thought they had been in love.  He thought they would grow old together.

He thought wrong.

The nights in Seattle were cold this time of year but he had found an abandoned building where he had been welcomed.  Not like a friend, but as an old acquaintance who had fallen on hard times.  His clothes were clean as he still had access to the storage locker containing the few things he could salvage from his former life.  Boxes of clothes and books.  Those comprised his life and while he still could he would keep changing his clothes so that to all outward appearances he was “normal”.

As he wandered the streets he looked at people as they approached Pike Place Market.  All manner of people were on the streets, from rich and successful businessmen to those not so successful, like himself.  What separated the two was sometimes nothing more than luck, being in the right place at the right time.  He shook his head at the luck he had – bad – and lamented his current situation.  While he was unemployed and homeless, he still had a set of skills that could be put to use.  He had been successful while the company he worked for had not.  He knew he could be successful again.

As he turned his head to look around he saw a young girl sitting on the ground in one of the alleyways.  Her clothes were threadbare, but well cared for, and her shoes were hole free.  But what struck him was the sadness on her face.  From across the street he felt the emotional darkness that she must have been feeling.  He had been there himself and knew how she felt.  With a brief look at the traffic he ran across the street.

Standing in front of her he could feel the darkness as it radiated from her.  He knelt down and lifted her chin up so that he could look into her face.  Her eyes, hollow and black, stared back at him.

“It’s going to be okay, everything is going to work out,” he said.

She looked at him and then a smile started to find its way on to her face.  “I know,” she said, her hand striking out to grab him by the throat.  “I know.” 

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 Prompt for September 29, 2016

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

Jasmine Montclair peaked out through the curtain at the crowd that waited on the other side of the rope.  Hundreds of people were waiting patiently, books in their hands, waiting for her to appear so that they could get them signed.  By her.  Her hands grew clammy and she wiped them on her pants in a desperate attempt to wick away the moisture.  They were waiting for her.  The mere thought made her scared.

Here she was, a bestselling author whose books were being turned into a movie franchise, about to show up at her first public appearance in her home town and she was scared.  For so many years she had struggled to gain acceptance, struggled to be noticed in a sea of competing authors that she thought she would never succeed.  But one person had been on her side since the beginning: JasFan001.  She didn’t know who the person was, but their words of support had kept her going for years.  Until, finally, an editor had taken notice, and then a book publisher and then a movie studio.

JasFan001.  She owed this person her life and wanted to meet, but they didn’t want to, they wanted to stay in the background until Jasmine’s career had been firmly established.  This show, the local Fan Expo, was where they planned on meeting.  JasFan001 had told her that she would be in line and that she would know who she was because she would ask her to sign the Advance Reader Copy that she had mailed her of her first book.

“Ms. Montclair?  If you’d follow me?”  Her handler opened the curtain and led her out to the table that was in front of the crowd.  It was on a small stage so that she could get a better view of the crowd that was waiting for her.  As they saw her come out from behind the curtain a murmur of excitement spread through the assembled crowd and, once clapping started, everyone followed suit, the noise drowning out her own thoughts.  She smiled, waved, and sat down on the chair.  Her nerves made her hand shake as she greeted the first fan.  She quickly glanced at the book – retail – and blocked the feeling of disappointment that spread through her.

And so it went for the next hour as fan after fan dropped a book or multiple books on the table for her to sign until she was convinced that JasFan001 was not going to show.  She was finishing up with one fan, congratulating him on the birth of his daughter and wishing his daughter Jasmine the best of luck in her future when a loud noise made her look down at the table.  The ARC lay there, it’s preliminary cover showing obvious signs of wear.  She slowly raised her eyes to look at her number one fan.

“You?”

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Prompt for September 28, 2106

Complete the short story/flash fiction, that has the following opening:

“It’s a dragon egg!  A real dragon egg!”

Laughter rang out in the auditorium as the voice of a ten-year-old echoed what was going through everyone’s mind.  The auditorium was filled with scientists and scholars from around the world, each person representing a unique branch of science, each person contributing to the overall project.  And on the stage, Darrel Morphing, project lead, laughed as loudly as everyone else.  His son had indeed captured the essence of what they were trying to do: create life.

Fifteen years of research.  Fifteen years of criticism.  Fifteen years of death threats.  But finally, here he was, on the verge of creating the first large scale autonomous creature ever and he chose a dragon.  Experiments and simulations showed that the effort to create a dragon was the same as creating a rabbit or a frog, so he followed his heart and the words of his father – go big or go home – and he went big.  Real big.

Over the course of the past two years he and his team had carefully created the necessary DNA patterns to create a dragon.  Not only create a dragon, but start the entire process from an egg.  Tonight the egg was going to hatch.  Tonight they were going to give birth to a new species, a species that had never existed before until his team had created it. 

And therein lay the problem: playing God.

There were many people who thought his work was something that should have been left to a non-existent deity or deities.  Those same people, who thought that one of the deadliest sins was murder, had launched numerous assaults on him in an effort to get him to stop his work, or to permanently stop him.  He moved his shoulder under his coat, conscious of the still tender muscles that were only now recovering from surgery to remove the bullet that had lodged in his shoulder blade.  Security was tight tonight, very tight, but even so he was nervous about what could happen.  His family needed to be protected.

In many respects, though, the genie was out of the bottle.  The egg hatching in front of them was the culmination of years of research, the vast majority of it was already in the public domain with only a few key steps proprietary to his company.  A noise from the crowd drew his attention back to the incubator that dominated the centre stage.

The leathery egg had cracked.  A series of smaller fissures radiated from the crack that had appeared near the apex of the egg.  The egg rocked slightly as whatever was inside struggled to escape.  Another rocking motion, another crack.  And another.  And then the top of the egg popped off and the creature inside was revealed.

“Oh,” he said,”this was unexpected.”

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