Tag Archives: Science fiction

Ancient Astrology

 

She handed me a holocopy of a fragmented newspaper from the 1990’s.

“Is that me?” I said, pointing at a sign: Virgo. 

“Yes,” she replied. “We haven’t determined how they came up with these facts, but they’re always correct. The ones written by Madam Zorastra are especially reliable.”

“That’s amazing,” I said. “So we just line up today’s date with the ancient American calendar?”

“Yes. I have the templates here. First, the fee.”

I leaned forward and she tapped my head with a data drawing wand. I blinked several times before regaining my equilibrium.

“So we just line up today’s date with the ancient American calendar?”

“Yes. First, though, the fee.”

“Go ahead,” I said, leaning forward. She tapped it with the data drawing wand. I blink. Red flashes through my eyes.

“Hang on… my defense software is detecting fraud. That can’t be right.”

“Of course not. You haven’t even paid yet.”

“Right, right… Virgo…”

“It says here: ‘your trusting nature makes you incredibly valuable to anyone around you.’”

“Wow! Do you think it’s true?”

“There’s no debating this science. The ancients had stringent scientific standards for anything published in a newspaper.”

“Amazing. I haven’t paid yet, have I?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Empathy Fixer

 

Here’s a short sci-fi I wrote:

https://shorts.quantumlah.org/entry/empathy-fixer

This does not count as being published. It’s just up there for consideration. If you’re interested in reading a zillion other quantum-inspired flash fiction stories, well, you can read them until you don’t know which direction you’re going, whether you’re alive or dead, or what universe this is… right here:

https://shorts.quantumlah.org/new-fiction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Rocket to the New World

 

“Don’t worry,” Edith said softly. “It’s only a little pain.”

The little boy squeezed his eyes shut as she pierced his deltoid with the needle.  He whimpered.

“That’s the last of them,” she said, rising and addressing her nurse. “They’re all ready.”

“Don’t they need to go in for de-lousing?”

“They’ve already done that,” Edith replied.  “Let’s move them along. They’re eager to get to their new world.”

“Have you been there?” the little boy said. “Have you seen it?”

“I’ve seen pictures,” Edith said. She smiled and helped him down from the examination table. “It’s lovely. The plants have taken to the soil there like you wouldn’t believe. The trees are so tall. Everything is mammoth.”

“Mammoths?”

“Shut the fuck up and get back in line, little boy,” Edith said, nudging him gently on his way with her knee. “I haven’t got all day for this expositional dialogue.”

“Mammoths?” said the nurse.

Edith slapped her.

“I was joking,” the nurse said, rubbing her cheek.

“That’s why I slapped you,” Edith said. “The rocket’s taking off.  Run!”

They outpaced the little boy and made it onto the closing rocket doors just in time. Humanity pressed all around them. It was going to be a long and horrible ride. There was a reason they’d all needed shots.

This was a third-class carrier, cobbled together from other rockets, scrapped vehicles, unitrains, hoverbuses, and such. Every color of metal had been welded into the walls that surrounded them. Sometimes brightly varied colors did not have a cheerful effect, and this was one of those times. Even though she’d joined this ship with a discount by offering her free skills as a phlebotomist, it was all she could afford.

“Thank god for cryo-sleep,” Edith said to no one in particular. “I am so ready to be this far from the earth.”

All around them, clouds of sleeper gas filled the chamber. Everyone scrambled to find a comfortable spot on the floor before they were completely incapacitated by the gas.

“I heard they’re giving land away there,” a good-looking young man said to her.

“Shut the fuck up,” Edith said happily as she dozed off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Gardening Against the Future

 

“DON’T TOUCH THE MYOPATHIC SYCOPHANT PLANT!” The sign read.

The plant was a sickly purple-green. It had wobbly knobbles everywhere, broad leaves, and a great big flytrap mouth. It grew in a cowering shape, looking up at her from its position on the floor.

The little girl wanted to touch it.

She touched it.

It opened its mouth and screamed in pain. Then it collapsed. Upset, the child kneeled and cradled its head. Once this attention was received, the plant immediately started complimenting her and begging for money for its gardener bills.

The exasperated gardener approached. “Who touched that damn thing!” She said, one fist balled angrily on her coveralled hip, the other leading a hose.

The child screamed. She collapsed. She started complimenting the gardener and begging for money.

“You want to act like a plant, you’ll get treated like a plant,” the gardener said. She took the little girl by the shoulder and watered her thoroughly.

The girl stopped complaining and made gurgling noises instead.

When she considered her lesson well administered, the gardener pushed her back in the direction of her mother. “Learn to read,” she said. “Save you a world of trouble.”

The child tottered away, coughing and gasping.

The sycophant plant had seen what just happened. It huddled obscenely at the gardener’s feet in fear until its stem gave out and it collapsed completely.

“Oh, oh, oh,” it said. “You’re so strong and patient, won’t you help me up?”

“Ugh. I’ll get something to help stake you up,” the gardener said. As she headed toward the supply closet, she questioned her life decisions. Plants were getting to be too much like people. Why couldn’t she just garden roses? Roses were beautiful. They didn’t whine or moan or beg. They didn’t even think.

Sure, there were roses in this garden. But they had to be defended by increasing measures from the floral predators. Genetic engineering had gotten really out of hand here. The garden was a noisy place. The plants got into a lot of arguments.

She unlocked the shed and popped the door open. A slight resistance and then a tear. Oh no.

One of the plants and migrated into here and was rooting across the door. She knew which one it was before she even saw the tattered ficus leaves.

“Wandering Masochist! How many times do I have to tell you. You have a home.

“But I like doorways,” the Masochist said.

“You don’t have to torture yourself like this. You have a home. Go where you belong. You have supportive friends there.”

“I don’t want to.”

“If you don’t want to… then isn’t that all the more reason to do it?”

The ficus’s leaves turned upward cheerfully at that, and it wandered off. Hopefully it would go where it was supposed to be, but she doubted it. It was sure to find a new doorway to root across and wait for the tearing roots again. That thing…

She grabbed a stake, a few ties, and a towel, then locked the door behind her. She stuffed the towel under the crack in the door. That might keep it out, for a little while at least.

On her way back, she tripped over the Deciduous Package Hauler, who, for lack of a job, had grabbed a handful of Panic Pansies and was attempting to haul them to the other end of the garden. She stopped to free them from its clutches, then gave it the stake to deliver to the Sycophant. Package Haulers were working plants, bred for factory life. They struggled in a lush botanical environment.

Letting the Hauler go ahead, she paused to take in an abundant overgrowth of peaceful pink blossoms. Beautifully formed, quiet, unassuming plants. She hung her fingers on the chain link fence before it, careful to avoid the electrified wiring. The fence couldn’t keep out their perfume.

Life used to be simple, back when she gardened with her grandfather. They would pull the biting weeds and spend a guilt-free evening watching them writhe instinctively on the burn pile. They would give graham crackers to the Ghost Cactus. It loved chewing on graham crackers. And as for the roses, all you had to do was plant and water them.

When she sighed and let go, she turned back to work and saw with a shock that the Orange Lynx Fungus had been watching her. Its eyes were dark spore holes, its teeth black drips. It knew the fence was electrified and had been staying away, but now that it had seen her touch the weak spots in the fence, it was sure to figure out a new way in. This thing’s life ambition, it would seem, was eating roses.

Along with everything else in the world.

So what if roses were things of the past. So what if they could no longer hold their own against a rapidly changing environment. She would remain a gardener here as long as they, too, remained. She would protect the roses, even if she could only ever see them through an electrified chain link fence, through razor wire, through impact-resistant terrarium glass if it came to that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Doomed to Repeat

This is almost entirely based on a bad dream I had. A little sci-fi/horror/I don’t know what. Interpretations are welcome, if you dare plumb the depths of my psyche.

 


 

He looked at his watch. “It’s almost time,” he said.

The kids groaned and put down their forks.

“Come on outside. Come on! No dawdling, do you want to drown in the kitchen?”

“What does it matter,” grumbled the older daughter. “We’ll die either way.”

“Don’t talk like that,” the mother snapped. “Just… please. Come out here on the porch with me and hold hands. We don’t know that it could be the last time.”

“Mama, how many more days?” asked the younger daughter.

“I don’t know, sweetie. Maybe until somebody does it right. Maybe until somebody fixes it. We tried once, to fix it. We tried building walls together. Do you remember all the people?”

The child shook her head.

“Well, it happens all over the world. We can’t get away. So for a while, all the people tried to get together and build a shelter. But no matter how many hands we had, one day just wasn’t enough time. After a while, we started to stay home…”

“It’s here,” dad said with grim finality.

“Remember, kids: if you survive the impact, breathe deep right away so you drown quick. I’ll see you again this morning. I love you.” She had to shout over the rumbling of the approaching tsunami.

“I’m scared, mama.”

“I know baby. It won’t last. It won’t last.” Knowing the outcome did not prevent her from protectively curling her body around the child, who started to cry. The elder daughter and the father stood together, gripping the railing of the porch and waiting silently.

The tidal wave took them.