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Showing posts from 2020

Envy

Francis Strauss was among the nobility of the entertainment industry. He resided in a palace built precariously on a cliff overlooking a stretch of coastline. The enormous structure dug into the edge of the bluff seemed in itself a statement of defiance, an arrogant challenge to the mighty forces of nature, embodied in the Pacific to just try and take down his opulent fortress.
Francis was a composer and a very well renowned one. His scores were featured in dozens of movies and tv shows. His unseen hand emotionally supercharged dramatic moments. His highly discerning ears expertly layered the melancholy piano and swelling strings into scenes that aroused the deepest felt human emotions.
Through the pitch and arrangements of notes, Francis could connect with humanity. Still, in all other aspects, his social skills were terminally deficient, and because of this, despite his immense wealth and notoriety, Francis was never loved by anyone.
A vague inkling his life was lacking something, a…

William's Ride

"William's Ride!" as it was christened by an enthusiastic press riding on a wave of jingoist fervor, was billed as a glorious cross country ride by the King and his dragoons to the front.  The stunt was calculated to boost morale at the front. By the cocksure warrior king's estimation, once he took to the field, the enemy's resistance would not last one day longer.
It was a gamble, to say the least, and the young King met with disappointment from the very start. When he rode from the barracks, he was lead to a secluded platform where a private luxury car awaited him.
"I am as sharp as my saber's edge and ready for battle." the eager King protested to his handlers.
"Please, your majesty, the calvary was just for the front pages." A Royal Minister explained. "The bulk of our field forces are moved by trains now."
The King shot the minister a cock-eyed glance."
"Yes, your highness," The Royal Chief of Staff intervened…
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Post-Resurrection Crisis

It used to be true that you only live once. Robert Clive proved this maxim entirely false, though when he born for the second time late one morning on the top floor of a large metropolitan hospital. Robert’s second birth was not as messy as his first. There was no placenta, no after birth, no cord to cut. This time Robert opened his eyes fully conscious and aware. In a fully developed body that he was grateful to receive but unable to hide his disappointment with its build.
“He’s a bit pudgy, don’t you think? Also, it appears I am now Asian.” Robert pointed out to the team of doctors engineers and biologists that had just orchestrated the Lazars style miracle.
Doctor Gupta, the lead physician, politely apologized and explained it was the only suitable donor for the consciousness transference procedure they could find. However, there were suitable female hosts Clive could house his mind in if he’d prefer.
Robert considered the option. “Would I have to menstruate?” he asked.
“I’m afraid…

Role Model

The countryside was in flames, Armies descended like locusts on farms and villages, devouring everything they could before marching off with another helpless population center in their sites. For one Inn struggling Inn, though, the arrival of the marauders was a miracle.
Crown Prince  William Ausburg Courber Fredrick Zollern the Fifth, or merely the Crown Prince William to those who couldn't commit the chain of titles and names to memory, was on campaign. In either war or peace, the Crown Prince was a magnet for the creme de la creme of any society. Luckily for the owner of the Inn the Williams as a man of especially notable blood, he was above pillaging.
The decaying wooden walls of the establishment brimmed with nobility. The Crown Princes entourage mingled with local men of property who hoped to endear themselves to their conquerers early.
The rod spined Crow Prince William sat at the head of a long wooden table. To his right was his aid de camp and second cousin General Schwar…

Do Not Adjust Your Set!

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Musical Chairs

Triton was built on the floor of an alien sea. It was a network of austere rectangular facilities connected by titanium tunnels that channeled the water like a hulking industrial Venice. Triton wasn't a city in the organic sense, although people did live within the sunless confines.
Its growth was not an organic process. It was a prefabricated facility built for the practice purposes of housing a specific population of humans while they toiled to extract the resources buried in the ocean floor.
For a time, Triton was a success. Rising production lead to growth, but the precarious balance between population and resources was always maintained. A creature of unimaginable sized suddenly and without warning seized the entirety of Triton in its grasp. The beast engulfed Triton and slowly began to crush the life out of it the way a boa constrictor does to its prey. The aquatic monster was so enormous no one could see it in its entirety, there was no way of knowing what it was, but it he…

Ethical

Jill was sitting up in bed against the headboard with her laptop resting just above her knees. She had just finished typing her script and decided to scroll through her social media feeds one last time before getting some much-needed sleep.
She refreshed her Facebook page.  There was a procession of photos featuring acquaintances, colleagues, friends, and family doing everything from scuba diving off the coast of Ice Land to eating tofu. Each photo got a glance and depending on the content a like.
"Wow, you should check out Dakota's pictures from Croatia. It looks really cool!" Jill called to her fiance Miguel, who was in the adjoining bathroom.
The sink stopped, "What?" Miguel replied
"I said Dakota's pictures of Croatia are really cool!" Jill repeated.
"Oh," Miguel replied, and the water resumed running.
Jill kept scrolling until she saw the words "BREAKING" in bold red letters.
From there, the feed went from being a self-per…

King for a Day

Like an animal, the adolescent boy was destined to be slaughtered, and like an animal, his blood and flesh sacrifice was a gesture to please the eternal forces that sustained his people. The hungry gods that accepted the gift of young carved flesh would be satiated for the time being, and in turn, would protect the kingdom until it came time again to offer up more sustenance.
To make their gift special, the boy whose blood was to pay for prosperity was anointed king for a day.
Ceremonies, feasts, and gifts made for a spectacular climax to a relatively short life. The dizzying experience and sense of duty were opiates that dulled the boy’s suppressed dread of the main event.
By nightfall, the boy was laying on an altar, stripped of the kingly robes and ceremonial ornaments of power. The real king had returned to take it all back. The boy’s tear filed eyes were staring up at the point of a dagger clutched in the hands of a high priest.
This last moment was the longest of his life.  The …

The Living Dead

As we advance in years, we find time has made some people superfluous to us or has made us unnecessary to other people. To us, as to them, we become for all intents and purposes the living dead. There is a particular frustration character to grieving our living breathing losses. They are present but forever absent. It is a state that is not so final but quite as devoid of any hope.
In the past, it seemed these souls were destined to accompany us through life, but then gradually or somehow without warning, they’re lost to us forever. Their memory becomes an abstract figment of dreams.
The living dead. They are our friends, our family, our lovers, physically they still exist but are always separated by the unbridgable and ever yawning gape of time.

Black Hole

"What's inside the black hole?" The seven-year-old Grace asked the rest of the breakfast table before taking a sip orange juice.
The adults at the table were caught off guard by the question. Eric, Grace's father, froze up as he was about to take a bit of his avocado toast. The slice of bread lingered in his hand before his gaping mouth. His eyes shifted to the big casement windows that peered into the sky above lake Michigan. It was as if he'd forgotten, but there it was the roaming portal to oblivion hanging in the sky just beside the sun. The irresistible force of this fissure in the fabric of existence was devouring earth's life-giving star, slowly draining it from the sky into its eternal gullet.
"Well, no one knows for sure," Grace's mother Meridith interjected.
"My teacher says it's going to suck up the whole world," Grace said with a dramatic gesture of her hands.
"I was an engineer at a start-up that was trying to des…

A Girl can Dream

Sophie lay in bed, staring up at the ceiling of her cell. Her vacant eyes seldom blinking. She silently counted the number of new webs the spiders wove over the night. The morning sunlight pouring through the solitary window cut into the stone wall cast the gently swaying silhouette of a corpse over Sophie's bed.
The body was left hanging from a tree just outside the window by Sophie's brother, the sovereign. He left it close enough for her to reach out and touch. It dangled in the pine needles like a Christmas ornament its state of decay, another reminder to Sophie of how long she'd been confined to the convent.
With clockwork precision, Sophie's attendant Maria started pushing open the heavy wooden door to Sophie's room. The elderly Maria moved slowly but with a preserved poise of grace.
"Good morning, archduchess," she greeted Sophie.
Sophie blinked in response.
Sophie stood limp and motionless while Maria undid the ties on her nightgown. Dressing the …

Gentrify

It had been three days since the nine-year-old James had fallen with fever. By the end of the first day, the boy's family was resigning themselves to the inevitable but oft-repeated tragedy of losing a child.
The sick child was being tended to by his mother and two older sisters. His mother's care was comforting if detached. She soothed the boy's fever, baked flesh with cold water and the soothing touch of her hand, and did so without a word. Even when Jame's would call for her. His glazed-over eyes now too distant to see her there. She didn't answer. Her sole responsibility to James at this point was to try and mitigate the physical agony of death.
James was too weak to stand, and he couldn't move much. Still, his burning body was frequently ravaged by tremors that resembled grand-mal seizures often accompanied by vague and mystifying rambles. For some of Jame's, more lived family members recognized the terrified disordered speech of the dying.
It is prob…