Universe On AutoSave #DVerseProsery

The coffee was cold, and the machine broken. Gabriel checked the plug, tried wiggling it in the socket and swore as the thing zapped him.
‘Smooth brother.’ Raphael stood with his head still bent over the control panel across the room. ‘If you’re done playing around, I need you to check these stability levels.’ He waved at a series of flashing lights.
‘Why call them that?’ Gabriel sucked the burn on his finger and edged towards the controls. ‘There’s nothing stable about this realm. Why bother keeping things ticking over. Why not fix it all, or simply hit the kill switch?’
Raphael’s brow tightened.
‘I prefer keeping in mind, even the possibility, that existence has its own reason for being. We’re here to keep the others from tampering.’
‘Makes more sense to let them.’
‘No brother, there is no sense in endings at all.’

I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being.

Wisława Szymborska, ‘Possibilities

Tonight’s line for the prosery prompt was chosen by Merril, and is perhaps one of my favourite, ever, prompts. 144 words doesn’t feel like quite enough for this wonderful line, so I might have to come back to it later on and work this into a longer piece because ideas have been sparked, and it would be a shame to let them fizzle out.

The Walls Whistle – Flash Fiction #DVersePoets

They bought the house new, especially to avoid these sorts of things.
There is nothing behind the wall, except a space where the wind whistles, and it always whistles. Even on still days, when the plastic windmills in the neighbour’s garden don’t clatter, and Gregory Mutt’s union jack is slummed around its flagpole, the wind whistles!
‘I don’t quite understand what you want?’ the contractor explained. ‘There’s nothing to explain where a draught would be getting in, and we’ve checked all your external walls.’
‘Listen though!’ Jenny hauled him through the kitchen by the front of his shirt, pressed her face to the lilac paint. ‘It’s whistling now!’
The contractor stared at her, wide eyed, and a little sweaty.
‘Aye,’ he croaked, ‘I hear it.’
She yanked him closer.
‘You will,’ she said, quiet now. ‘You will be the one to make it stop.’

It’s the end of a long day and I still have words to write for NaNoWriMo, but I’m taking a little break to pop over to the dVersePub and see what delights they have in store for tonight’s prompt. They’ve yet to dissapoint!

Plan Gone To Ancient Crete #FlashFiction #WritingPrompt

Grinning, the newsreader finished his story and muttered something half-funny to the reporter next to him. Edmund muted the sound and redialled Atlas, flicking crumbs off his armchair as the phone rang.
‘Heyyyyyy mateyyy…’ Atlas’ voice trailed off.
‘Problems with your connection?’ Edmund asked. The newsreader handed over to the hot weather guy, Edmund tried to remember his name, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Something like Phil, or maybe Mark.
‘Yeah, the line’s bad and I-’ Atlas broke off. ‘Look mate, I’m sorry I hung up on you, I didn’t mean to answer the call, I was dealing with a bank robbery and I forgot my phone was in the suit.’
‘Bet everyone still came out alive though.’
There was a pause. Edmund tracked the weatherman as he indicated high pressure coming in from the west.
‘You ran headfirst into a train Ed. What did you think was going to happen? The way Tulis tells it, you damn near split your skull like an egg.’
‘Bruised noggin’, nothing more. Stopped the train.’
‘And killed every, single passenger on board.’
‘Most were dead already. Didn’t do them no harm really.’
The weatherman was wrapping up, the camera panning back to the newsreader.
‘Heard you got some certificate,’ Edmund said. The newsreader was grinning again, all teeth and thin lips. Atlas had thin lips, thin nose too, and beady little eyes. A wonder anyone trusted him. Beady eyes were better than a monster out of myth.
‘It’s the Nobel Peace Prize, not a certificate.’
‘Papers, paper,’ Edmund shrugged.
‘It’s not- ah forget it. Look I got to get going, I’ve still got reports to fill out and the league wants me to drop by once I’m done here.’
‘What about?’
‘I- er- I’m not sure.’
Edmund tapped his finger against the chair and sucked in a breath.
‘They want you to deal with me,’ he guessed.
‘No, no, I’m sure it’s not that.’
He pressed the off button, listened to the empty apartment around him.
‘Ed?’
He kept listening.
‘Ed?’
‘Hey Atlas,’ he said quietly. ‘I think someone’s here.’


Image by Artie_Navarre from Pixabay

Write a 350 word story in the adventure genre. It’s about a superhero and should include a certificate. Also use the sentence ‘Sorry I hung up on you
I didn’t mean to answer the call.’ Bonus prompt: Your character is fearless to the point of stupidity.

https://thestoryshack.com/tools/writing-prompt-generator/

It’s been a while since I made use of one of the writing prompts from The Story Shack, mostly because I’ve been writing more poetry than flash fiction over the past couple of years. I think a little variation is good to stretch to writing muscles however.

I’d love to hear any feedback you have on how this format reads. I’m still trying to get to grips with the new block editor so any comments will be greatly appreciated.

Beyond The Past And After Hours #Prosery

‘He existed once you know?’

Janet turned from her monitor, squinted into the gloom.

‘Who now?’ she asked. The hands on the wall clock glowed faintly. Half-seven, closing time was long past and James was still bent over the archive’s central table.

‘This,’ he said, and circled his hand over the papers in front of him, ‘this all belonged to someone who existed. Now all that’s left to mark his existence are cargo lists, household receipts, and half a letter to his land agent.’

‘That’s more than some have,’ Janet shrugged.

‘But how can someone be boiled down to so little? We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of time and know less than was once understood.’

‘We work with what we have.’

‘But it’s not enough!’

‘It must be. We can’t turn back time, only save what remains.’  


I’ve spent most of today going through history books, journals, and archive online materials to write a post about the history of witchcraft in Shropshire, so I’m feeling a little nostalgic for my time in archives among old letters and documents. For those of you interested in Early Modern history I’ve included the link here.

I do wonder what it will be like for historians hundreds of years from now. If blogs will help with reconstructing the past, or if the overload of information will cause more chaos that clarity. Perhaps something will happen to destroy all the electronically archived information, and we will return to a world of paper and ink. If we are remembered, will it be accurately?

Gods Out Of Men – #FlashFiction

When the coffee runs out, she drinks tea instead. It’s bad, overly floral and cloying. She drinks it anyway, hips bumped up against the chipboard kitchen counters, sink at her back, eyes on the peeling desk on the other side of the cabin.

Uploading… 65%

The screen on the computer flickers for a second before steadying.

Uploading… 66%

She sips the tea, holds the liquid in her mouth and grimaces when she swallows.

Uploading… 66%

It will be another hour at least before the system is up and running. Until then she will have to be patient. The screen flickers again, blanks out temporarily.

She holds her breath.

Uploading… 67%

She keeps the breath in her lungs until they burn.

Uploading… 67%

She lets it out slowly, carefully, so not to break the internet connection’s concentration. The screen stays clear and she closes her eyes. It would be easier if she could leave the system to do its thing and come back when the download was complete. Outside was not an option though. Not even in the middle of nowhere with nowhere to run.

They’d still locked her in.

Besides the disgusting tea she’d found in the back of a cupboard, the ancient set up on the desk, and the towers stacks of her notes, the cabin itself was mostly bare. There was no bathroom, only a lime green mop bucket and a damp roll of toilet paper. She hadn’t decided if the lack of food was encouragement to work faster, or an oversight of her captors. Unfortunately, the wavering broadband connection dictated the timeframe, and fourteen hours in, her stomach was threatening to turn in on itself.

Uploading… 68%

 

She’d tried sleeping but there was no bed, no chairs, and a scritch, scritch of tiny feet scurrying beneath the floorboards.

Uploading… 69%

She’d checked for gaps in the floorboards, for holes in the walls. Logic told her that there was no way out, and no way in. Logic didn’t let her sleep though.

Uploading… 70%

Uploading… 71%

Uploading… 85%

 

She blinked at the screen, checked she wasn’t mistaken.

Uploading… 86%

 

Her next mouthful of tea was cold. It didn’t help the taste but at least explained the jump in progress. She’d lost time.

She dumped the mug on the floor.

Uploading… 86%

Her mentor called the coding demonic, but he’d been overly conservative in his approach to the future of technology. War was a race, and she just happened to be the one who worked out the winning hand. Every nation wanted control over the others, they might claim to work only for their own protection, but reality dictated that it was more than that. She could take control of every government system and hand over the keys to a single person. That was why they’d taken her.

Uploading… 87%

 

She picked up the closest pad, felt the grooves in the paper where she’d pressed to hard with her pen. Burning them would not keep them safe, copies had already been made, and killing herself had turned out to be trickier than anticipated. They were going to take this power from her no matter what she did.

Uploading… 88%

 

If she had more time, she could have written an antidote. Something to consume her programme before it could get its claws in anywhere important. Half the coding was already dancing behind her eyes, but there was no way to implement it. Interrupting the upload would not end well for her, she’d been shown an example of that already.

Uploading… 89%

 

They could have got someone else to implement her programme. She had been so helpful in leaving clear instructions on how to do so in her arrogance. She was the quickest option though, the most efficient.

It was her idea after all.

Uploading… 90%

 

She’d done the maths on the outcomes. Her best estimate left around ten percent of the human population alive three months from the current date. Dissenters would always find a way to fight back, even against impossible odds.

Uploading… 91%

 

How would they kill her? Her fingers curled and the notes under her hand crumpled. She wasn’t sure if she should hope for a quick death or not.

Uploading… 92%

 

The screen flickered and a bang beneath the desk announced something blowing up. The room went dark.

The locks on the door clunked open.

‘On your knees! Hands behind your head! DO NOT MOVE!’

She follows the orders. Laces her fingers into her hair.

‘Get the back up going so we can see in here.’

Footsteps move around the outside of the cabin, followed by a loud click, and the whirling groan of a generator grumbling into life.

Uploading… 92%

 

She flinches at the sudden brightness, the impossibility, it should have failed. She watches the pixels turn to static and then reform.

Uploading… 54%

 

Her stomach rumbled.

‘Here.’

A gun presses against the back of her skull. A slow trickle of sweat runs down her spine.

‘Food.’

A bag drops in front of her, the gun retreats, door closes. She waits. The lock turns.

Uploading …54%

 

She rises slowly, brushes the grit from her knees.

Fifty-four percent, two hours at most. Then she would be making gods out of men.

She reaches for the bag.

No, she decided. She wouldn’t be making gods out of men. They would not be taking this power from her. She would make sure of that.