Flashback

Flash fiction has become my main form of writing since I first learned of it earlier this year and I think it is making a comeback as a genre. I enjoy writing it because most flash stories capture a scene and, if written well, can evoke in the reader what a novel can despite its brevity. One reason I believe it is making a comeback is because of just that. It’s short. It takes merely minutes to read which is a shorter time than most people spend on their phone/social media when waiting for whatever they may be waiting for or when looking for something to waste those few minutes when they find themselves bored. It also doesn’t take very long to write which is good because I find I don’t as much free time as I used to have (though I don’t know where it slips away to).

For now I write a lot of flash because of my lack of time but also because it lets me explore ideas in a concise manner that I can use to discover if I’ll explore the idea further. If that idea holds ground and interest enough to become a longer story. It’s like taking notes, but I can share it even if they are written in only one draft. As a writer I’ve come a long way in that aspect. I used to be very protective of my work. I still am for projects that aren’t ready for eyes other my mine, but I’ve come to a point where I can share work that I know isn’t even close to my best. I like to think that I waste a lot less of my writing as well. There are fewer abandoned works that never see the light of day. Flash lets me jot down my scene and walk away if I don’t think it has much potential. I’m still working on my book of course, but flash fulfills the need to write something. And something new at that.

There are downsides to flash as well (as with any genre or form). I cannot create especially deep characters or plot because there is not enough room. That’s where the book comes in or the short story. I hope the characters in my book are not only engaging, but elaborate enough that some readers will like them and want to know more. I say this of the support characters mainly. As always, I never believe that I can write as interestingly as many authors I’ve read. But I just have to keep plugging along and maybe one day I will prove myself wrong. Maybe one day I will meet someone who truly likes my stories and characters and they can tell me their favorite parts and I will be surprised. That one day will never come if all I do is talk about it. So with that, it’s time to work. See ya.

Prime Cognition

“Load her up,” the tech said as the coroners brought in the next one. They did as they were told and brought the corpse in. Rigor mortis made it seem like she halfway levitated. They set her on the metal slab and left without a word.

“Alright. You get this one,” the tech, his name tag read Kyle, handed the wad of cords to Jason who also wore the standard white jumpsuit and orange gloves. Jason kept his mask on while Kyle left his on a hook by the door. The small room was filled with the table, which looked to be supported by a tree of wires and was now occupied by a corpse, and a wall of screens that displayed everything from prime cognitive function to the time of day and weather (even though they were several stories underground and on an “uninhabited” planet).

“Come on,” Kyle urged him on. Jason took the bundle and started applying the pads to various points on the dead woman’s body and connecting the wires accordingly. Just like training. Kyle didn’t pay Jason any mind. He was focusing on the body itself. “Seems a waste, you know.”

“How so?”

“Look at those tits.”

Jason glanced at them briefly without thought and quickly turned back to the task at hand now eerily aware of the woman’s nakedness and pallor.

Kyle continued observing the body. “I wonder what she did when she was alive.”

Jason kept his mouth shut and finished applying the connections. When he was done, he went to the workstation on the right-hand side of the monitors and began the “rebirth” process.

“You think she was a stripper?” Kyle asked. Finally looking away from the woman.

Jason only replied after realizing Kyle was waiting for him to answer. “No.”

“You’re probably right. She’s good enough looking that she probably didn’t have to do much to get by. But I hear Earth isn’t as bad as it used to be.”

Jason watched the monitor as the machines cycled through. Electrical pulses were being sent through the woman’s body at different intervals and strengths getting measurements and densities. The program knew how to read through the rigor mortis for accurate duplicity.

“Too bad they don’t let us have a little fun before we send them to the incinerators,” Kyle murmured to himself. Jason wheeled around in the chair and stared at him.

“What?” Kyle tried to play innocent.

Jason raised his eyebrows and sighed before turning back to the monitor. “I knew you were a sick fuck, but I didn’t expect necrophilia to be on your fantasy list.”

The monitor for prime cognitive function fluctuated between 60% and 80%. When it went above 90%, preferably above 95%, he’d pull the trigger and they’d be done. Then he wouldn’t have to listen to Kyle’s perverted inquiries.

“It was a joke. You know I’d never do that. She’s stiff and blue. There is no way that would feel good. Maybe if we got them a few days before they’re ‘buried’…”

Jason didn’t see it, but he could hear the smile on Kyle’s face. He kept his eyes glued to the monitor. It was reading 88% and climbed slowly to 89% then 90%. He hesitated on pulling the trigger in case it decided to jump higher. The 90% held steady for a few seconds then dipped back down to 88%. They never made it above 92%, he thought. He knew that it’d only get back to 90% one or two more times before the chances disappeared.

“Come on, you’ve never been curious,” Kyle rambled behind him.

“Nope. Never.” Jason focused on the screen but answered in hopes of shutting him up. It climbed back up to 90%. He pulled the trigger and the lights went off.

“I hate this part,” Kyle said in the dark. After a long thirty seconds, the lights flickered back on. The monitors came back online one at a time. When the screen for prime cognitive function came back on, it read 95% in solid blue LED lights.

“What the fuck?” Jason whispered. His stomach rose into his throat.

Kyle glanced around him at the screen and his eyes widened. “You’ve got to be kidding me. You got a ninety-five? Goddammit. That’s pretty much a perfect. They’ll let you off planet for that. And give you solid pay bump if not a promotion. You lucky bastard.”

Jason didn’t say a word. In the brief silence between them, six hundred and fifty-nine terabytes of data were released from the servers below the small room and transferred via hard-line to the central processing unit further below where it was compressed into a single file titled: Bethany_Werther_95%//789e34. It was then sent further on to the core of the planet where the organic drive was located. The file was loaded onto the drive and the population counter increased by one.

Rework

I’m reworking chapter one through seven of my first book before I continue working on the next set of chapters/rest of the book. There is so much I want to add but this rework/editing will make it much better, I promise. I’m getting rid of some boring shit and tightening up the start so you can get to the exciting stuff faster. I’ve also got a cooler idea for the antagonist that I had originally. I’ll consider putting up a sample page in the near future.

Young Talbott

In a field north of Bletlemyn there is said to be a sword enchanted. One story states that the enchantment makes the wielder invincible. Unable to be slain by any weapon aimed at him. A second story tells of the enchantment merely guaranteeing victory in every battle but does not guarantee the safety of the swordsman himself.  A third mentions immortality. An escape from death outside of mortal wound, and that many men had lived hundreds of years while owning the blade. None seeking glory or riches. They were content living, until they grew tired of life and sought the quiet comfort of eternal silence.

For thousands of years these stories were told without a single digression. Young men, and even a few elders, sought out the sword for their own purposes. Each believing they would be the exception and claim the sword as the chosen one talked of in the villages. The one who would bring prosperity to the country and rid the people of their hunger and poverty. Each man went searching, leaving their loved ones behind, never to return. Though they all had heard the three stories since birth, none had ever heard the fourth until the laid eyes on the blade itself.

One day, a young man by the name of Talbott decided that he would be the exception. Many believed him in his village because they knew he was true of heart. That he did not desire the blade for profit in fame or gold. He sought the blade for his love of learning and wished to spend countless years learning the world through travel and text. He traveled to Bletlemyn with ease and stayed at an inn outside of town that was owned by an old man who learned to recognize all who looked for the blade from watching young men throughout the years disappear into the woods up north. The old man took it upon himself to warn the younger ones from searching. He had seen too many disappear never to be seen again.

So when he saw Talbott prepare to leave the next morning, he struck up a conversation in hopes of delaying the boy awhile. Talbott engaged the old man out of courtesy and respect. The innkeeper had shown him excellent hospitality. The old man talked of trivial things at first and though Talbott grew tired of the lack of quality, he did not break the conversation. The old man (used to his guests fleeing without even a proper goodbye) was surprised and decided to turn the discussion to a serious path. To the path of the sword. He warned Talbott of the forest surrounding the field in which the sword was said to reside.

Talbott listened intently as the man outlined the dangers rumored to guard the sword. He made notes of the poisoned nettles that fell from the uppermost branches. He made sketches from the description of fearsome beast who lives in the cave just west of the clearing. He drew a rough map of where the swamp would be so he could avoid its shallow waters that could swallow him whole in an instant.

He made all the necessary preparations while he listened to the old man. He thanked the innkeeper for the advice and the innkeeper was not at all surprised that the dangers did not cause Talbott to falter. They rarely stopped any adventurer from seeking their treasure, but Talbott was the first to listen so closely. The old man felt a tinge of regret for not stopping Talbott as he walked out the door of the inn.


 

As Talbott entered the forest, he donned a hood and covered any bare skin to prevent being struck by a poisoned nettle falling from above. He wrapped a scarf around his face as an extra precaution. If anyone had come across him in the forest, they would have only seen his deep brown eyes. He followed the map he quickly drew at the inn. He was sure to give a wide berth to where he predicted the swamp would be and made sure to approach the forest from the eastern edge to avoid the beast who made shelter in the west.

He made every precaution he could. More than any before him, and that may have been why he safely made it to the clearing without a single conflict. Within the field he quickly found the enchanted blade as it rose above a sea of corpses. The sight of the dead was almost warning enough for Talbott to turn back, but his desire drove him onward. He was careful not to disturb any of the men at his feet. Inching forward and stepping only on clear ground, he managed to make it to the sword without touching any of them. When he felt the cold steel in the palm of his hand, a voice rang out in the silence.

“You have come far, boy.”

Talbott looked around but could not locate the source of the voice.

“You did well to come so far unscathed as you have. Please, tell me why you seek the sword.”

Talbott stood frozen. His hand still gripped the sword, but the voice circled him as it spoke. He thought it wise not to attempt a quick escape.

“I wish to live long enough to see this world and learn all that it would teach me,” he said.

“A bountiful wish indeed, and one that the sword can grant with ease as long as you keep it at your side. However, the enchantment upon the sword does not grant without taking something in return. What would you sacrifice for this gift?”

Talbott had not foreseen this question. None of the stories mentioned a sacrifice. Though he was unprepared, he was wise enough to know that such a gift would require an equivalent exchange.

“Your answer, boy?”

“I would forsake my progeny. My lineage will end with me. Is this acceptable?”

“It is,” the ghost voice said, hovering behind his left ear.

“Then I may take the blade as my own?”

“Yes.” The voice faded away.

Talbott lifted the blade from the field and weighed its solidity in his arms. He felt powerful wielding it and the image of the throne entered his mind. He knew then, without any doubt, that if he truly desired to rule this land, he could do so with only this sword. A smile broke upon his lips like a fever as images of his conquests flashed before him. He was filled with an unnatural need to slay something, anything, and in a brief moment of clarity in the storm of blood before his eyes, he dropped the sword.

“Do you no longer desire what you’ve come so far to find?” the voice returned.

Without the sword, he could think clearly again.

“What would this sword desire of me?” he asked.

“Ah, a wise question. You claimed you would forsake the future of your blood for the gift of this sword. As many who came before you, they all desired something and pledged a gift in return. Now they all sleep at your feet. The sword can grant what you wish, but can only do so once you have completed your promise.”

“Then I would only be able to wield it once I am dead? Once I have proven I have not partaken in producing life?”

“Yes.”

“And the sword is able to uphold this pact upon my death?”

“Yes.”

“Then I shall return before my time is done.”

“You do not wish to begin your desired life now?”

Talbott considered this. The sword is first and foremost a tool designed to end life. He could sacrifice himself and honor the pact immediately, but he found in his heart he desired more than the possibility of an infinite number of years. He desired he few he was guaranteed. The bodies around him belonged to eager men who thought too quickly and acted even quicker. He would live his one life before he began his next.

“I shall return before my time is done,” he said again and left the clearing and the forest behind him.