Friday, June 24, 2022

You Never Know- A Flash Fiction Political Satire

 “Adam, take your umbrella.”

Adam glanced out the window through the cooking smoke filling the room.

“Dad, there’s not a cloud in the sky.”

His dad looked up from the pot he was stirring on the stove. “You never know when you’ll need it, son.”

Adam’s mom twitched the tips of her ears in their direction, said, “Listen to your father, Adam,” never

looking up from her net screen. The glow of the monitor cast a halo on her features, her eyes glowing a

soft yellow. Votes for the latest law were being tallied. She and Adam’s dad had cast their votes earlier

that day. Adam, although an adult at 20, was not legally allowed to vote until he married a Mod. His

mom’s anxiety was apparent only by the slight swish of the tip of her tail.

Adam’s childhood soundtrack was filled with his parent’s political discussions. His playground was

various political rallies running around with the kids of the other activists. He grew up knowing his place

in society but never truly feeling its impact. Why worry about what you couldn’t control?

His mother, while modified, was a supporter of non-mod choice and men’s equal rights. She lamented that

girls were modified after birth and not given the choice later in life.

She and her husband fought against the mandatory vasectomy law before Adam’s birth. The supporters of

the law argued that the “precaution” of sterilizing all boys after birth could easily be reversed when they

were of marriageable age. The law stipulated that the reversal would be free of charge once the young

man, with the consent of his wife, passed the physical and psychological tests.

“A healthy society must be governed from the cradle to the grave,” as President Jocelyn Coje repeatedly


On the heels of the sterilization law, a law was rushed through outlawing men from owning or handling

weapons of any kind.

“There’s no need for barbaric instruments of violence in a civilized, peaceful society. You don’t see

women clamoring to carry weapons!” was another often quoted saying of President Coje. Adam’s mom

rolled her eyes and quipped “No need to carry a weapon when you are the weapon.”

She had secretly trained Adam in self defense with various mundane objects, knowing the penalty would

land her in federal prison with a possible death sentence.

Men were seen as unpredictable, hormonal, hysterical beings who couldn’t be trusted. The more docile

they were kept, the safer for society.

Adam grabbed his umbrella and headed towards the door. His mother called after him, “Adam, be safe out

there tonight. No matter how this vote goes, there’s going to be people looking for a fight.”

Adam quietly sighed. “Mom, you worry too much. I’ll be fine!”

Adam stepped out onto the sidewalk, still warm from the setting sun and started towards his destination.

His umbrella clicked a beat on the sidewalk with every step. The delicious scents of dinners being cooked

wafted to him on the breeze. The familiar sights and sounds wrapped him in a warm embrace.

A soft humming behind him caught his attention and made the hairs on his neck stand up. A quick glance

showed three Mods following him, watching his every move and not concerned at all with his discomfort.

The tallest one, her tawny eyes reflecting the street lights, blew him a kiss. He crossed the street and they

followed at a leisurely pace.

Adam knew he couldn’t outrun them and their sense of smell could track him. He had to get into a crowd.

He spotted a club and headed for the entrance. The pounding beat of the music covered his rapid heartbeat

and the incense filling the space would help mask his scent. Adam weaved through the crowd and dared a

glance behind him. The tawny eyed one had followed him inside. He headed towards the back of the club

and straight into the other two Mods.

“Hello, beautiful one,” tawny eyes said from behind him.

Ice ran down Adam’s spine. “What do you want?” he croaked out of a dry throat.

“Oh, you know what we want, love,” crooned tawny eyes, tracing a line down Adam’s cheek with a claw.

“You in public without a Mod escort is a crime as of this evening. So, we’re going to have some fun

before we report you.”

Adam acted on instinct, years of training with his mother kicking in. The umbrella came up and caught

tawny eyes under the chin, knocking her head back so hard she slumped to the ground unconscious. The

other two stared in confusion which gave Adam the chance he needed to run out an alley door. He didn’t

get far before the Mods were behind him, low growls of rage letting him know how they felt.

A hand grabbed Adam and pulled him through a doorway, the door slamming behind him with a metallic

click. He could hear pounding and claws trying to gouge the door.

Adam jerked away, readying his umbrella for another strike.

“Whoa! Calm down, Adam!”

“Mrs. Wilcox?” Adam stared bewildered at his neighbor. A huge grin lit up her face, showing her sharp

canines. “What are you doing here?” Adam took a closer look around the space and saw dozens of

computers with Mods typing and making calls.

“Honey, we knew if that asinine law passed tonight a lot of men were going to be in trouble. So we set up

a call center weeks ago to provide men in need with a Mod escort.”

Adam turned in a slow circle seeing familiar Mods and men. Most of them were kids he had played with

as a child. All the men carried umbrellas.

“Did my parents help with this?” Adam asked in wonder.

“They organized the whole thing. Your mom trained every man here in self defense.”

Adam looked at the umbrella in his hand. Mrs. Wilcox smiled and said, “You never know when you’ll need it."

Monday, September 27, 2021

Bibliophile's Journal---This Is How You Lose The Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Two rival agents in a war stretching across time and space begin an unlikely correspondence. Red belong to the Agency, a post-singularity technotopia. Blue belongs to Garden, a single vast consciousness embedded in all organic matter. What began as a battlefield boast grows into a dangerous game that both are determined to win.

I devoured this book in two days! Mutual admiration between rivals at the top of their powers turns to sincere interest in lives they've only known through propaganda and stereotypes fed to them by their respective worlds. Through words they develop respect, trust, love, and a deep commitment to create a place in the universe where they can be together despite all odds. 

---...wars in time. One spared life might be worth more to the other side than all the blood that stained Red's hands today. A fugitive becomes a queen or a scientist or, worse, a poet...And all this blood for nothing.
---Red wrote too much too fast. Her pen had a heart inside, and the nib was a wound in a vein. She stained the page with herself.
---Always a balancing act, of course, to give without losing, to support without weakening. Everything a weaving.
---Viewed from sufficient height, all problems are simple. All knots can be untied with a few deaths, or ten thousand.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Hunger---A Flash Fiction Horror

 "Alex, this is unbelievable!"

William gazed in wonder at the colors sparkling around him. The sunlight streaming into the entrance of the glacier ice cave painted a living watercolor of deep blue, white, and turquoise.

Alex and Kelsang, their sherpa, joined William.

"The first view will stay with you forever," Alex softly said to his little brother. "Come on, Will. We have a lot of ground to cover."

William took one last awed look about him and turned to follow the other two. 

As the sunlight receded behind them, the men turned on their head lamps. William fell into step beside Alex. This trip was a dream come true for William. He had lived for his older brother’s stories of his explorations and was excited to finally be joining him. Kelsang was leading them to the interior of the cave, a cavern called the cathedral, where Alex and William would be exploring.

"He sure is quiet," William mused.. "He hasn't said a word since we entered the cave."

Alex turned his intense blue eyes to William. 

"That's because this glacier is sacred to his people. He’s one of the few allowed to guide explorers to the cathedral, and only on certain days of the year. I was on a waiting list for years! It’s said they hear the voice of their deity from the glacier."

"What does it say?" William asked.

"How would I know?" Alex answered with a sardonic smile.

As the bright lights from the head lamps hit the walls, William noticed streaks of black and purple running under the walls and floor. Pointing them out to Alex, William mused, “They almost look like veins, huh?”

Kelsang glanced back at William but said nothing.

The pace the sherpa set was relentless. After five hours of walking, Alex quietly conferred with the guide.

"Kelsang says we are close to the cathedral," Alex informed William. "We’ll rest here for a few hours."

After a simple meal, William leaned back against the cave wall and closed his eyes. Not accustomed to the intense exercise, he instantly fell asleep. In his dream he was standing in a cavern, surrounded by a soft violet glow. A low murmur reverberated around the cavern, just at William’s hearing range. He listened deeply trying to understand the words. Sinuous black and purple tendrils gently caressed his skin. The feeling wasn’t unpleasant at first, but the cold was so intense that it began to burn. A tendril wrapped around William’s neck and slowly began to squeeze. The low murmur crescendoed to a deafening statement. 

“We hunger!”

William yelped as he jumped up, slapping at his neck.

“What! Will, what happened?” Alex exclaimed.

William looked at his hand. A faint glimmer of black and purple stained his hand and an aching burn lingered on his neck. He looked around bewildered.

“I...I’m not sure. I fell asleep and thought something touched me,” he explained.

Alex laughed good naturedly and slapped his brother on the back.

“You’re just a little disoriented. It happens. Let’s get going. The movement will help.”

William walked quietly behind Alex, a disconcerting feeling growing as the hours passed. Alex, unaware of William's unease, kept up a monologue of the stories he had heard about the beauty of the cathedral, until the darkness of the tunnel gave way to a violet glow emanating in the distance. William felt a jolt of panic at the sight, but silently admonished himself that it was only a dream.

“This is it, William. The cathedral!”

William hesitantly followed Alex, only vaguely registering that Kelsang had fallen back to the rear. The brothers pushed their way through the narrow opening into the cavern and as they emerged into the cathedral, they heard a grating squeal and turned to see the opening had somehow closed. Turning in a circle, trying to make sense of what happened, they noticed a pool of viscous black and purple sludge rippled in the center of the cavern with tendrils of the sludge reaching out across the floor and up the walls. The toxic stench from the pool hung heavy in the air. As the men watched in disbelief, the pool began to swirl and a humanoid form emerged. The sludge flowed from its body leaving behind tendrils of black and purple veins along the entirety of its body, which was the texture and color of the ice of the cavern. Its intelligent eyes, undulating with ribbons of green, orange, and blue, focused on Alex and William. William took a step back, dizzy with fear, and heard Alex whisper, “Oh my God.”

The entity smiled a mouthful of daggers and William heard the words from his nightmare.

“We hunger!”

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Bibliophile's Journal---The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood


A second Civil War has resulted in the rise of the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime enforcing rigid social roles, separating men and women, and enslaving the few remaining fertile women to serve as handmaids to the powerful elite to impregnate.

I read this novel in high school and reread it again last year. The dystopian future feels too close for comfort and prescient to world events taking place. It is a terrifying thought to have your body completely controlled by another and for that control to be sanctioned by laws and enforced by threats of violence or death.

---We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.
---"You want my life to be bearable to me," I say...If my life is bearable, maybe what they're doing is all right after all.
---Humanity is so adaptable...Truly amazing, what people can get use to, as long as there are a few compensations.
---The moment of betrayal is the worst...that some other human being has wished you that much evil.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Quotable Thursday


I am still here.
Under the weight of this grief,
The core of who I am is still here.
---Lucricia Hall

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Bibliophile's Journal---Drop Dead Healthy by A. J. Jacobs


The author takes a two+ year quest to be the healthiest man alive. As his quest progresses he finds the data about health overwhelming and contradictory. He decides to focus on one aspect of his health per month.

I have read several of A. J. Jacobs books. His writing is informative while being laugh out loud funny and entertaining. I was less stressed about health statistics after finishing the book. Everyone has an opinion and an equal/opposite opinion is right beside it! I feel comfortable now just listening to my intuition and my body as opposed to following the latest health trend.

---The desk is where most of the Crimes of Excessive Sedentary Behavior occur.
---My immune system has always been overtly welcoming of germs...the biological equivalent of a southern hostess inviting y'all nice microbes to stay awhile...