The girl gazed into her future with awe and dread.
The girl gazed into her future with awe and dread.
“A beaver! A beaver!” he cried, struggling up from the muddy bank. “My kingdom for a beaver!” Hell, dozens of beavers was what he really needed, along with a time-machine to prevent this disaster. He never should have approved those culling laws.
Looking back upon the ruins of his once mighty kingdom, the king looked to the skies, shook his fist, and cursed. If you crossed her, Mother Nature was one hell of a bitch.
*Yes, I “modified” a famous Shakespearean quote to suit my own purposes. Mwahaha.
The explosion rocked her world.
Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the Western Spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun… or at least, it would for just a bit longer. But everything ends eventually. Everything has a beginning, with its end already present at its inception, its termination born of its genesis. Life makes room for other life, degrading into its component particles, which in turn become something else. The same is true for all things, living or otherwise, though the sun really resented this.
It had been born, as so many other stars had, out of clouds of stellar dust brought together by mutual attraction, heating up and briefly fueling the worlds that revolved around it with the matter and means for the development of life and complexity. What, in turn, had that life ever given back? That’s what the sun wanted to know.
Now that he was on his last legs – or atoms, whatever – all the intelligent lifeforms that had visited or been born on the planets of his solar system had taken off. It seems they were too good for red giants; just because he made the planets uninhabitable, that was no excuse for rudeness. They flew from his system, propelled by ship, wings, fins, or combustible gases to take root in other systems around other stars. Fickle bastards.
So with a flash of helium, his shell collapsed, and no one marked it. He shed layers and layers into the vastness of space, but no one bothered to comment on his nakedness. He radiated his annoyance into the boundless unknown, but the heat was felt by nothing. Finally, out of energy, out of time, he took comfort in knowing that his death would start the process all over again, life would eventually develop once again from his component parts – no matter how far away.
Then he’d show ‘em.
*I’ve decided to write several flash stories that are inspired by famous first lines. I’m wrapping up the series with a flash inspired by the first line in my favorite book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. The above story is a humble tribute to my favorite author.
“Hey kid, wanna buy some bunny ears?”
The Past is a Foreign Country
The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there, thought Brandon479 of Gamma colony, Mars. He knew looking into space was looking into the past, and though the Earth was only light-minutes away, he marvelled at the sight: the lightshow, the swirling clouds of ash on the surface of their former home. What would the shockwave do to his home on Mars?
The Martian settlement had been established as a community for those outcast by the rest of humanity, a place of refuge for those who did not fit the molds society had created for them. While the elite and wealthy of Earth lived in towering citadels of gleaming silver, the politicians bickered in their ivory fortresses, and the lower classes served the whims of the higher, the outcasts tilled red soil using ancient instruments and experimented with new, exotic species of flora for consumption as well as beauty. Worlds apart, though only a planet-rise away.
The Martian, Klarg, nodded to his human companion, then pressed a flashing light. The green-skinned creature was grimly dissatisfied that the planet’s force-field was necessary. Having taken too much time to lull the human puppets into submission, the Earth would no longer be a prize worth conquering. If only they hadn’t destroyed themselves first, he felt quite sure the Earth humans would have made excellent slaves. The ones on this planet had seemed subservient enough.
The hawk and the sparrow were unlikely friends.
All This Happened
All this happened, more or less, the way you would have expected. I met a girl, she happened to be the girl next door, and we fell in love. I’ve often wondered, in my short time in this world, if our romance was destined to be or simply an accident of geography which could have happened to any two, reasonably attractive people of comparable age and interests. The old cliche of the boy falling for the girl next door or the boss sleeping with his secretary must naturally have some basis in fact. How else are clichés born than by repeatedly being shown to be true?
Don’t look at me like that. I know you must get tired of hearing people’s stories, but you did ask how this happened.
Anyway, as you can imagine, our relationship grew on the foundation of mutual interest and attraction. We both loved books, though our tastes varied. We loved the same movies, enjoyed the same foods, and inevitably shared the same bed.
Yes, this is relevant to the subject at hand.
Anyway, her sense of adventure was significantly more developed than my own, especially in the bedroom, and I confess that – though my sexual prowess was more than adequate – I felt an additional need to be daring in order to keep up with her. Costumes, role playing, and exotic positions were not enough; soon all manner of playthings were added to our romantic activities, eventually including ever more strange and dangerous toys.
Well, you can see where this is going, I’m sure.
What happened was inevitable. After all, it is the nature of accidents to happen when we are least prepared, and if I –
if we had only been more careful, well…
I confess I was not prepared for the consequences of our sexual escapades. Have I mentioned I have excellent health insurance? I promise you, Doctor, despite our exotic taste, we always took the utmost precautions, and I assure you, if my wife had not walked in on us this evening, you would not be performing this particular extraction.
Her vision blurred, the screen swirling before her eyes.
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Lefty loosy, Righty tighty,” he often said, repeating this ancient adage to me as he adjusted parts on the robots he built in the garage.
There was a fine line between realistic enough to be desirable and too realistic, and the uncanny valley was not kind to those that couldn’t tell the difference. The humanoid-looking robots of my father’s younger days would come off the assembly line, all vacant expressions and unseeing eyes. They had arms and legs and faces, they could cook and clean and repeat the daily news or a hundred other things, but they had no emotion. They did not look so realistic that they unnerved their all too human owners. Straddling the line between servants and appliances, they served their functions in a society not their own.
Now, however, the level of their sophistication – of mine – had reached a new high. Dangerously close to humanity, they blended, they merged with the world around them. You might pass one on the street and never know.
Lefty loosy, righty tighty? I contemplated the dubious wisdom of those words as I contemplated my loose ankle. Left and right were subjective directions, so why did it refer to my father’s perspective and not my own?