Saturday, October 23, 2010

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #178 for Oct 22nd, 2010

How long had it been? It had to be 200, 300 years at least since the last official kill. “What the hell did they think they were playing at?” Jonathan mused As he deleted the encrypted order from his communicator and asked the car to close and merge with the general traffic. He almost couldn’t believe  the two short words that gave new  purpose to his existence.
It was a simple yet satisfying thing to merge with a population, after all, he was still classed as human on most of the worlds he commonly visited. All he had to do was maintain the behaviour expected of someone of the relevant class and profession; order the right things via his link, go to the right places at normal times, and generally conform to the multiplicity of local customs and bylaws governing the precinct in which he was ‘living’. Easy. The real challenge lies in disappearing at the right time, because with every part of your life under CC TV and recorded on the public record it took a great deal of forethought to subvert the system in such a way as to be undetectable or at the very least unremarkable.
It was not only that the authorities would be alerted by any subtle change in behaviour, because the human condition dictates that there will be aberrations and exploration no matter how strict code imposed upon it. Instead it had become a game in order to extract yourself from the mundane day to day existence without being noticed, and to resume the routine in such a way as to avoid the attention of the police.
On this occasion Jonathan chose executive clause # 325 whereby a citizen is allowed 7 minutes of unmonitored space for the purpose of toilet in any 12 hour period. Yes, I know, seven minutes is an unusual designation. The precise time was decided by a panel of 22 experts, and took an incredible 32 months of deliberation. Though rumour has it that in the end they just drew straws, but either way that is a bloody long time to decide how long it takes a man to take a crap!
On this occasion, seven minutes is all that was required to bring everything back online, dust himself off and get to work. They wouldn’t even miss him.
That is why they call him “the Hunter”. In the 32 centuries since he attained sentience there had never been a time where his abilities fell short. Unquestionably Jonathan was the master of his art. He would only receive a call when the keepers had no other alternative and all conventional means of resolution had failed. This in itself was most remarkable because the keepers were to most, god-like in their ability to manipulate time and space to maintain order, regardless of individual cost or localised concerns. Then they had been silent for such a long time. But enough about Jonathan. He would not appreciate this very personal scrutiny, and would certainly not condone any aggrandising of his abilities.
 Jonathan stepped out of the elevator into the seething mass of foot traffic flowing through the central business district. With cool precision he began matching data files in alphabetical order, cross-referencing faces and names. Bodies began to fall 30 seconds in his wake, their faces going blank after the silibent whisper of his concealed air pistol ended their existence with its fast acting neurotoxin. They never knew what hit them.
Deep in the Central Museum on sub level IV,  the school excursion continued.  12-year-olds William and Timothy  tossed the ancient mobile phone back in its display case. Some of these old devices were amazing yet baffling - the packaging said it was called an “iPhone” and the application was named “Assassin”. The boys could make no sense of the instructions and with a giggle  Timothy flippantly keyed-in the title of the obscure action film they had just watched in another area of the exhibit. “Kill Bill”. Their unqualified assessment of the device? “Harmless.”

This week’s prompt: Include this theme in your story… After a long night, a hunter sees something he/she cannot believe.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #176 for Oct 8th, 2010

Your Main Character is a time traveller. He/She arrives at a destination but not all is as expected….
“Inside out” is my first impression. If there is an up, it’s upside down. Somewhere behind me there is a rhythm. It’s a sort of tapping sound a bit like footsteps, but I can’t be sure because my ears are inside out as well. I would be surprised, but surprise isn’t strong enough to capture what I’m feeling. Raindrops. That’s what that sound is. Really big raindrops falling on the surface of the water, and I’m under there somewhere. I can’t see anything, but I feel pink. Really pink, like when you shine a torch through your fingers and see the bones inside. My heart is beating somewhere in here with me. Beating is too strong a word though because it’s more like a squelch that makes each part of me quiver every second or so.
It isn’t all bad. I’m moving now, and I can actually feel things going past my skin. It’s nice that they don’t hurt when they bump into me, being inside out and all. I’d like to scratch that bit at the nape of my neck. I really would. No, I really need to because it’s driving me spare. Oh god, my arms! They’re gone; and my legs! I’m like an unrecognisable piece of road kill sealed in cling wrap.
Bloody Museum. They told me the HG Wells Time machine wasn’t just a replica. Since when has their information actually been correct? When I read the book, I’m sure he push the lever downwards to go forward in time. Didn’t he?
I think I went backwards. A long way backwards. Its going to be a wait. A long wait for evolution to put me back on track.  A long way back to vertebrate for this little amoeba.
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Friday, October 1, 2010

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #175 for Oct 1st, 2010

Shad looks with longing out over the bay. The soft green of the Pacific, with its gentle white meringue wave tops blown along by the barmy South Sea Island breeze sparkling beautifully below a storybook blue sky. On the air, hints of seaweed, shell-grit, brine and coconut. Such a rich agglomeration of tastes and he wishes for the time to sample them all. Limping his way down the worn path from the high promontory there is no way to ignore the subtle fragrance of gardinia taitensis or the heady aroma of durian ripening on the ridges, and he stops many times, savouring the completeness of the experience. “The boss would love this” he thought, and setting out again carefully favouring the bruised ribs showing through his left side, he continues downward toward the lagoon.
Panting with the effort, he finally comes to rest just below the series of ageing mounds that represent his former crew. Over some the earth has settled almost level with the ground while the most recent, that of First Mate 'Dusty' Jones is so fresh it does not entirely contain the putrescence within. The taint of scurvy and gangrene unmistakable. Dusty had been a good mate and many times they had walked together contemplating the sea and all that surrounded her. His favourite stick now broken and made into a cross that stands at his head. How quickly turns the world.
Turning inland Shad makes his way to the tiny spring bounded by strelitzia that had so amazed and delighted the boss when they had first swum ashore. Several times a day each one would make their needy way to the brackish little pond, thankful that at least this one essential element had been easy to find.
There would be no rain tonight. There are none of the tells in the air today and it will be a long time before the monsoon comes again. Just as well, because he has decided that rain washes the fun from everything. When everything is clean you don't know you're alive. You may as well be made of stone, sitting there with no purpose instead of being out there in a fit of life brushing against it, touching and smelling, literally rolling in life. Like down on the beach when you dig and find that every moment holds some small creature or the remnant of one. Myriads of little lives spending themselves to make this paradise one shell at a time. 
With that thought Shad begins to use what energy remains to reach the spit where the boss lays still and bloated in the sun. Not far to go, only a few steps that cost a hundred miles. He wills his atrophied limbs to move until finally, with his last breaths labouring their way from punished lungs, his tongue dry again in its insatiable way, he crawls on his belly the last inches to his still captain's side.
Shadow licks his masters dry, swollen cheek and, resting his chin on his paws the breath goes out of him and he is gone. High above, the lonely cry of a seagull hails a small sail on the horizon.

Today's prompt “Lonely in Paradise”
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