Voting Stage - May Flash Fiction Challenge


Writing challenges, flash fiction, interesting anecdotes, amusements, and general miscellanea.

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Post May 24, 2017, 11:52:39 AM

Re: 16 The Spider by Robin B. Lipinski

Daniel Johnson wrote:The Spider by Robin B. Lipinski

The End



A nice story. I liked the word game, the fact that both of them are Fred. Congratulations and a lot of good luck! :)

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Post May 24, 2017, 12:12:20 PM

Re: 18 The Director by Ryan Harris

Daniel Johnson wrote:“The Director” by Ryan Harris

The End


In retrospect, there are some figures in real history who have applied for the post of Director. One German, another Chinese. They did not excel. ;D Good luck.

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Post May 24, 2017, 12:25:50 PM

Re: Voting Stage - May Flash Fiction Challenge

I've been gone awhile, lot of folks involved this month. I've never seen this before. You guys must be really proud.

Geena Watson - Your story is touching. I felt it.

Florin Purluca - You have a style all your own. A smooth, feel good read.

Roderick Turner - Your plot was smart.

Sergio Palumbo - Best plot I've read.

Frank Martin - About what you said about your story being too graphic - what horror story isn't. It was chilling, edge of my seat.

Glenn Diamond - Your story was well thought out. Enjoyed.

Robin Lipinski - Your post said you are a free thinker, I wish I could do that.

Mike Wilson - You explored a lot of plot twists. I was impressed.

That's all for now!

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Post May 24, 2017, 12:27:24 PM

Re: 19 Eric's Peace by Mike Wilson

Daniel Johnson wrote:Eric's Peace by Mike Wilson

The End


An unexpected ending story. I liked it. Good luck!

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Post May 24, 2017, 12:32:47 PM

Re: 12 Mister Adjuster by Alexander D Jones

radagast-now wrote:
Daniel Johnson wrote:Mister Adjuster by Alexander D Jones

Clive's eyes darted from left to right and back again as he scanned the doctor's waiting room. There was so much wrong with it, so much that was - out of place.

<snip>

Very good - an OCD omnipotent god. nice light humorous piece to break up the monotony. Excuse me while I straighten my wall art...
:D

Thanks, I tried to go for a lighter tone, I enjoyed writing it. Please do make sure the art is completely straight.

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Post May 24, 2017, 12:38:12 PM

Re: 12 Mister Adjuster by Alexander D Jones

Florin Purluca wrote:
Daniel Johnson wrote:Mister Adjuster by Alexander D Jones

Another short-short one on the contest. And i like it. It did its job. Now i am wondering what would happen to the doctor. :) Good luck.


I just hope his office was neat and tidy, otherwise that appointment will have taken a rather long time...

Thank you for the feedback,
Alex.

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Post May 24, 2017, 12:42:40 PM

Re: 12 Mister Adjuster by Alexander D Jones

The Fisher of Men wrote:I like this, a neat obsessive person making everyone straighten the world to his satisfaction. Was Clive a young boy or early teen?


Thank you. I pictured Clive as a more late teen. 17/18. So he hasn't really figured out what to do with his powers yet, apart from straighten things up, obviously. He hasn't had training in the 3/4 years he's had the abilities/powers. Thanks again,

Alex

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Post May 24, 2017, 12:49:47 PM

Re: 12 Mister Adjuster by Alexander D Jones

Martin Westlake wrote:
Mmmm.... Perfectionism! Well done, Martin


Thank you, Martin. I enjoyed your story too, the ending was nicely done, well written all round.

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Post May 24, 2017, 01:14:09 PM

Re: 04 Meal Time by Thomas Wm. Hamilton

Daniel Johnson wrote:Meal Time by Thomas Wm. Hamilton

Radu adjusted the helmet he had taken as a souvenir of his last banquet.  Six scientists had provided the helmet, as well as
a delightful meal.  But what were they concocting with this device?  Radu fingered a switch on the helmet, wondering if he dared flip it.  After a brief hesitation--flip!

A feeling of immense, nay, unlimited power.  Radu suddenly recognized he controlled everyone.  Their minds would obey his every whim.  So simple.  He enjoyed type O blood, whether positive or negative, and AB, but only positive.  A bit of culling, and selective breeding, and he could enjoy his favorites for as long as the Sun permitted life to survive on Earth.

The End

This was surprising. Fine tale told smartly.

Great ending!

Shakespeare said, "Brevity is the soul of wit."

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Post May 24, 2017, 01:17:12 PM

Re: 06 The Lily Pads of Your Minds by Gareth D Jones

Daniel Johnson wrote:The Lily Pads of Your Minds by Gareth D Jones

Guillaume yawned and stretched in the warm comfort of his bed, blinking against the sliver of sunlight that laced his pillow. He needed a decent coffee to wake up to. He closed his eyes and stretched his mind instead. His perception leaped away - he always pictured it being like a frog – and landed briefly on the mind surface of Marissa Hesketh who lived in the apartment below. Minds were like ponds, some of them dark and murky, and Guillaume could rest briefly on the surface, as though on a lily pad, observing without interfering. Marissa was pouring a bowl of Low-Cal Special cereal, being ‘good’ to fit in with the fitness zeitgeist. The cereal wasn’t particularly tasty though. Guillaume decided to cheer her up. He dipped a finger below the surface of her mind, if indeed frogs have fingers, and nudged her towards adding chocolate chips to the bowl. That made it much more tasty, and honestly who cared that she was a size 14 instead of a size 12?

His mind hopped down another floor and outside the door where the whistling postman was walking down the path and thinking about how nice it must be to deliver the mail in sunny Bermuda instead of chilly London. There he could wear Bermuda shorts all year. Did they wear Bermuda shorts in Bermuda, or was that just a stereotype like French people wearing strings of onions and Mexicans wearing big hats?

Across the road a dog walker was heading for the corner of the street. Guillaume decided not to delve into the mind of someone who choose to walk around carrying a plastic bag of dog poop.

Around the corner, on the main road, a student was heading for college and thinking, seemingly, of nothing.

A bit further along the road was the coffee shop. Janine was in the midst of serving a self-important businessman in a dark suit and bright tie. Guillaume diverted her mind from that task and set her about the task of preparing his creamy mocha latte deluxe.

“That’s not my order,” the business man snapped.

Janine ignored the man and finished off Guillaume’s drink.

“Now, see here…” the businessman tailed off as Guillaume hopped over to him and impelled him to take the drink from Janine and leave the shop without his own order. He headed along the main road towards Guillaume’s side street and handed the coffee on to the postman who had just finished the row of houses. The postman returned to Guillaume’s apartment block door and paused. Guillaume sent Marissa down to collect the coffee and bring it up to his own door. By this time he had climbed out of bed and put on his robe.

“Thanks, Marissa,” he said and closed the door on her bemused face. He took the coffee into the kitchen and sat down to enjoy its strong, smooth flavor. First task of the day complete. Time to get on with taking over the world. If only he could figure out what he wanted to do with the world once he’d taken it over.

The End

I liked the confidence in which the story is told. Visually appealing. Interesting plot.

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Post May 24, 2017, 01:23:54 PM

Re: 14 The Day the Earth Moved by Martin Westlake

Daniel Johnson wrote:The Day the Earth Moved by Martin Westlake

I know, I know; I know that I didn’t need to carry out the experiment, and I know that the answer was already out there. A quick search on the internet was all it required. I knew that. But I had my reasons, as you’ll see.

It took a lot of planning and preparation. Even when you control everybody’s mind, as I now did, you can’t just order everybody about. You have to think about where, and when, and not just how you get everybody there, but how everything will be managed whilst they are gone. And I obviously couldn’t have done all of that myself. Besides, I didn’t want to. That was the point.

So, the first step, once I had planted the idea in everybody’s mind (since I controlled their minds, nobody questioned the idea), was to get them to start talking among themselves. Since they all had the same overarching aim, the results were most gratifying. Peace broke out everywhere immediately.

The second step was for them to put the necessary structures in place so that they could transform their complete agreement about the end into a discussion about the means. Politics everywhere was transformed from the petty and the local to the noble and the global. There was a common project, and mankind everywhere devoted her - and himself to the realization of the dream. Poverty very soon came to be seen as an inefficiency, a distraction and a waste, and so it was very soon eradicated. Employment was full, very full.

The third step was the science. Man’s ingenuity and sheer scientific genius was put to work to calculate where and when. It wasn’t just about moving people there, but about enabling them to live – to eat and drink – both on the way there and on the way back. The European landmass was the obvious choice because of its well-developed transport infrastructure. Germany and the surrounding territory was chosen because of its motorway network and many waterways. The project would take time, it was agreed; time to develop everything and time to get everybody there (not to mention getting everybody back). A symbolic target date, 2100, was commonly agreed.

The fourth step was working out how. By 2100 there would be 11.2 billion people on the earth. How could they migrate safely to one place in the world, eating and drinking on the way (and waste products would need to be recycled)? What about the young and the old and the infirm? And what about communication and coordination systems? Never did the old dictum, ‘where there’s a will there’s a way’ seem more apposite.

The fifth step was implementation. The plans had been laid. The science had been established. Now it was time to put everything into action. The next eighty years were spent in harmonious endeavor and industry. It was immensely gratifying to see everybody – literally everybody – working cheerfully and conscientiously for the common cause. This was especially heart-warming given that so many of those working on the project would never see it come to fruition.

So, it came to the day, 1 July 2010, when everybody was in place and everybody was ready. Rehearsals had been organized on a local basis so that everybody knew how to act. Some twelve billion earplugs were manufactured and distributed. Hundreds of thousands of massive screens were erected and interconnected with sophisticated atomic clocks to ensure a completely simultaneous countdown. At ten seconds to midday, the countdown began and over eleven billion people started to count in all the languages of the world (well, almost all; I didn’t bother with the lost tribes people in the Amazonian jungle); ten, nine, eight, seven… And at ‘zero’ eleven billion people jumped in the air simultaneously and landed simultaneously, making a thunderous noise that would have burst eardrums, if it had not been for the ear plugs.

And the result? It was just as all those scientists on the internet had always predicted. Sophisticated measuring machines confirmed that when everybody had landed, the world had moved by about one hundredth of the width of a hydrogen atom. Yes, the world moved for everybody – a very tiny bit.

It took twenty-five years for the world’s populations to revert to their ‘normal’ locations. Of course, not everybody went back to where they had come from, and the very nature of normality had been changed irrevocably by the massive exercise that everybody had been engaged in for so long. And that was the point. The whole of mankind was now confronted with an existential bifurcation. Basically, the world could go back to the petty and the local, or it could stay at the level of the noble and the global.

It used to be said that if you gave a man a fish he would eat for one day, but if you taught him how to fish, he would eat for the rest of his life. I waited anxiously for another fifty years, but I needn’t have worried. Mankind had finally understood that the only thing in the way of mankind was mankind itself. Such scourges as war, water shortages, climate change, hunger, poverty, and disease had already become things of the past, and there they now remained. The world governance structures that had been developed to achieve the mass jump (as it had become known) immediately found new common projects; developing the technology to avoid asteroid impacts, colonizing the moon, traveling to Mars, and so on. All it had taken was one truly common project, by which I mean a project that had truly involved everybody. And that is what the world is now; a project that truly involves everybody.

The Earth moved in more senses than one at midday on 1 July 2100.

The End

Wow, how scientifically developed. Your character changed the world by getting everyone to agree on one thing and have unity worldwide. Amazing concept! Believable.

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Post May 24, 2017, 01:29:13 PM

Re: 08 Omnipotent by Roderick D. Turner

Daniel Johnson wrote:Omnipotent by Roderick D. Turner

“So, how would you like it if—”

“What? You could do anything, to anyone, anytime?”

“You know how it goes, Lace,” he says. “Chance like this comes along once, if at all. Take it or leave it, I’m either in charge or I’m relegated to being your consort for all eternity.”

“Not,” I say.

“Not what? Your consort?”

“I would not like it,” I say. “Turn it down.”

“Lacey, it’s like winning the ultimate lottery. Hold the reins, the power. Do whatever I want, with nobody to tell me what to do.”

“If you were any less perceptive I’d think I was living with a celery stalk,” I say. “Do you not get it? Even for someone with your thick skin, it’ll drive you insane. Think about it. Even you must be able to see what it’s all about.”

Ford glares at me, shakes his head. “No. It’s you that doesn’t get it Lacey. Someone walks up to you and hands you a billion dollars, shakes your hand and says ‘it’s all yours buddy, go crazy,’ you don’t just give it back. This, this is even more incredible. You saw what I could do, just for that moment. After the angel, or whatever, gave me my free trial.”

I walk to the apartment door, fling it wide. It slams into the planter and knocks my prize roses to the floor, soil scattering across the hallway. Scream in frustration, clenching my fists to my sides. “Your mind is made up,” I say, the words clipped and forced. “So get out.” I look at him, daring him to object. “I don’t want to see you again.”

“Lace, take it easy,” he says. But I see it in his eyes, he’s already on the ego trip, the power high, the drug of his own omnipotence. He stands in the doorway, looks back at me. “You know I’ll be back,” he says. “And when I show up—” he squints at me, the confidence oozing from him like a toxin, “well, you’ll be glad to see me.” Then he turns, steps into the hall. And I slam the door behind him.

***

The next day, it all begins. In only the first afternoon, war is declared between the United Nations forces and the non-UN Alliance. Missiles fly, but no nuclear warheads. Thousands die. There is not a country in the world that does not feel the impact. There are rumors of an island in the Caribbean, entirely spared from any disruption. But even with the isolation, the physical separation, the effort Ford makes to distance himself, I can feel his anguish. His every whim catered for, but his world falling apart around him.

He lasts for three days. When he shows up at my door, I am ready for him. Prepared to have my very soul adjusted, adapted to meet his needs. But he does nothing to change me. Stands in the hallway where, days before, he strode away with such arrogance. A broken man now, eyes wild with horror. Leaning against the wall, unable to speak.

“It’s the knowing,” I say. “Isn’t it Ford? Knowing all. Too much for any one mind. Knowing what’s happening, and being unable to manage all of it at once. Even if you don’t want to help, tell yourself you don’t care, it’s a lie. But you can’t control it all.”

His gaze finds mine, and for a moment I see the man I knew. “Take it away, Lacey,” he whispers. “For God’s sake. I can’t stand it.”

I walk forward, cradle his head against my chest. “You’ve taken the first step already,” I say. “The rest is just time.”

He clings to me like a drowning man. “How do I get rid of it?” he moans.

“Someone else is already taking the offer,” I say. “Already making the same mistake you made.”

He pulls away from me, and I see his face change as I watch. Stress and burden lift from his entire frame, the weight of the world suddenly removed.

“How did you know?” Incredulous, awed.

“The year before I met you,” I say. “The crisis in Pakistan.”

His eyes grow suddenly huge as he stares at me.

“Yes, Ford. I was God for a day as well.”

The End

I loved the relationship between the two guys, talking about seizing power when a person is not ready for it with bad consequence following. Lessons to be learned. Great dialogue.

Liked it!

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Post May 24, 2017, 01:32:10 PM

Re: 01 Ivy and Justin by K. Vesi

Daniel Johnson wrote:Ivy and Justin by K. Vesi

“Justin, I told you a million times!” Ivy called out as she sat among her stuffed animals. She had arranged them in a semi-circle so that she could see all of them and they, her.

Justin peered out of the doorway of their shared bathroom, toothbrush in hand. “Actually, it was three.”

“So, this is four times: it’s mine!” Ivy said. “I’m the one who found the marble.”

“I’d call it a sphere,” Justin said, coming into the room, having finished his morning routine. “I know you found it. I just don’t want to go to school today.”

“No, school is important. I like school,” she said. She picked up the robin-egg-blue sphere and looked at it with one eye squinted closed.

“What you did yesterday makes me scared,” he said. “I need some time to relax.”

“School is so much fun. I think I should make everybody go to school, even Mom and Dad!”

“No, Ivy don't do that!” said Justin. He plopped himself down just outside his sister’s stuffed animals’ admiration perimeter.

“Only kids go to school. And who’s everybody?”

“What do you mean?” she said.

“Everybody on our street, or our country, or the world?” he said.

“How would I know? I’m only in grade two. If you look at it close, you can see clouds.”

“Clouds?” said Justin and he leaned in to have a look. “Wow, and you can see the continents. This may mean when you say everybody, it's the world. Tell me, what are you thinking right now.”

Ivy smiled. “Umm….”

“Justin, Ivy,” said their mother as she opened Ivy’s bedroom door. “We just got a call. There will be no school today.”

Ivy beamed; Justin’s body slumped with relief.

“The teachers will be cleaning the school today from top to bottom,” their mother continued. “Some health outbreak could happen if they don’t.”

“Mommy, the school is so gross,” said Ivy. “The corners of my classroom have this brown gunk and I pointed it out to Mrs. Praine and she said it was nothing.”

“Well,” said their mother. “Maybe Mrs. Praine did do something because the school will be cleaned. I’m going to work from home today, so if you need me I will be at the computer.”

Brother and sister listened as their mother’s footsteps faded away.

“Didn’t you want Mom and Dad to stop fighting?” said Ivy.

“Yes, I did,” said Justin. “We heard them talking about divorce. You had the sphere in your hand. All you did was wish they should love each other again and they instantly hugged and apologized to each other. But, Ivy, I think aliens made this sphere. If you controlled Mom and Dad like that, then maybe aliens plan to control us. The world is in danger. Where did you find it, anyways?”

“Umm, Justin,” said Ivy, nervously. “I did think of a few things this morning. Sorry, I forgot to tell you.”

“Ivy, what have you done!”

Justin jumped up and bolted out of the room. Ivy followed at a slower pace. She joined her brother on the front porch.

“Why are there loads of people outside walking puppies?” said Justin.

“Everybody gets a puppy,” said Ivy. “And everybody having a puppy is a good idea.”

A city van pulled up alongside an elderly couple. Two men got out of the back and handed the couple a leash with a very excited puppy on the other end.

“Ivy!”

Ivy turned her attention to where her brother was pointing. There were several city vans parked along the street. City workers were up on ladders, spraying the tree leaves.

“Trees will be pink?” said Justin.

“Not all trees, just some,” she said.

“I told you this before,” said Justin. “You only like the color pink because you’re a girl and television and the internet told you to like pink.”

“No, it’s my favorite color,” said Ivy. “Nobody told me to like it.”

“Fine. But you can’t paint trees; that will kill them. They’re green because of photosynthesis.”

“Photo what?”

“I’ll tell you about that later. Just stop people from painting trees pink.”

“Done,” said Ivy, the sphere in her hand.

Simultaneously, the city workers answered calls on their cellphones. They all got down from their ladders, only to go back up with cutters. They began to cut the pink leaves away from the trees.

“Thanks Justin. I don’t want to kill trees,” said Ivy.

“I know,” said Justin. “But we have to check something.”

They went back inside. Justin turned on the television.

“As quickly as it started,” said the newscaster; “The global initiative to paint some trees pink has ended. The paint was shown to kill the trees. However, the worldwide movement to give everybody a puppy is gaining momentum. This initiative will take decades, but it is a good idea. In health news, today is teachers-clean-the-school day. Stan has more on that. Stan--”

Justin turned to his sister. “Ivy, where did you find the sphere?”

Ivy’s face flushed; she looked down at the ground.

“I didn’t find it,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion. “You did, yesterday. You went to Lake Ontario and the marble was among the rocks. You brought it home and showed me. When you left your bedroom for a minute, I picked it up and wished I had been the one to find it. I think I made you forget you found it.”

“That’s okay,” said Justin and he placed his hand on his sister’s shoulder. “At least we know what to do. We’ll throw it back in the lake. I’ll do my best to throw it far. Maybe the aliens lost the sphere and can’t find it when it’s in the water.”

“Mom won’t let us go to the lake,” said Ivy.

Justin stared at his sister, knowingly.

“Oh,” she said.

The End

This story had a lot of lessons. Two children discovering what life is about by temporarily using power and then deciding to reject it for all the right reasons. If I had that power as a kid, the world would be in such a mess.

Loved this story.

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Post May 24, 2017, 01:57:13 PM

Re: Voting Stage - May Flash Fiction Challenge

Jim Statton wrote:I've been gone awhile, lot of folks involved this month. I've never seen this before. You guys must be really proud.

That's all for now!


Thank you! :)
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Post May 24, 2017, 02:43:10 PM

Re: 05 For the Greater Good by Hope Gillette

Daniel Johnson wrote:For the Greater Good by Hope Gillette

Silence was the order of the hour, though the echo of rain could be heard on the parapets outside. Beyond the low thrum of the raindrops, the chamber was quiet, its sole inhabitant slouched in thought, staring intently at the object of his concern.

It had no eyes to speak of, but the orb at the center of the room was staring back at him--Ulor was certain of it.

That he should have come into possession of such a thing was unbelievable to the mage; the majority of the world had forgotten the very existence of domination relics. Hidden away, locked beneath piles of earth and the remnants of a lost civilization, this particular orb almost cost Ulor his life. And now he planned to use the relic. Insanity!

He squinted at the aquamarine sphere, held up on an elaborate pedestal of silver. Am I really going to do this? he asked himself. Can I sentence humanity to such a fate?

He knew the answer despite the doubts swirling through his thoughts. It was the only way; his last, final act before departing the world of the living.

"Master?" came a tentative summons from the Corridor of the North. "You called, Master?"

Ulor peeled his gaze away from the relic to acknowledge Hector, one of his most accomplished acolytes. He smiled at the lad, a boy of no more than 15 years, and motioned for him to join Ulor on the dais where he sat.

"Are you ready, Hector?" he asked. "Did you bring the snakesbane and yellow thrall?"

The youth nodded, setting down a box sealed with the herbalist's mark.

"Good. Very good." Ulor pushed himself to his feet, ignoring the internal creak of his old bones. Just one more task. Just this one thing¸ he reminded himself.

"Are we really going to do this, Master? Can we really touch the minds of everyone in the world?" Hector warily glanced at the domination relic. "Mind control...I mean...is such a thing really possible?"

The older mage nodded. "Indeed, lad, it is. And tonight we will right a very ancient wrong."

Ulor didn't expect Hector to understand the intent behind the night's ritual, and for that reason, the senior mage kept his plans secret. All Hector knew was to take the orb to a nearby cavern after Ulor's ceremony reached completion. There, in the depths of the caves, an ornate chest had been placed where the relic could be stashed safely.

Of course, Hector didn't know about the dragon living deep in the earth there. A dragon Ulor charged with keeping the orb after it was deposited. No one believed in dragons anymore, either, but only in an immortal dragon's treasure horde would such an item of power be safe.

"Now, Hector, light the snakesbane and place it in the basin by the Corridor of the South."

The youth did as he was told, his demeanor melancholy. Ulor couldn't blame him; all acolytes knew one day their masters would pass into the spirit realm through a great deed of magic, but few actually had to take part in the process. Even though Hector understood death was not the end of ends for their kind, it would be many more years before the budding mage would fully grasp such a concept.

The smell of burning snakesbane slowly filled the room, and Ulor took his place by the domination relic's pedestal. He was attempting something none before him had ever dared: to control the minds of humanity as a whole. He only needed a moment to complete his task, and that was likely all he would gain, even with power as great as his.

In one moment, he would implant a command--a notion to be maintained in the minds of humanity from that instant onward--as long as the relic existed to keep the magic going.

For all Hector knew, Ulor was going to put an end to the violence gripping every nation by the throat. He was going to quell the aggression in mankind and start an age of renewal. And Ulor was going to do those things--just not quite how Hector assumed.

"Boy," he commanded, "heed me, now." Satisfied Hector's unwavering attention was on him, Ulor continued. "Humanity is a burden on this world. We take. We destroy. We do not renew what we use, and we do not respect the creatures that have come before us. Humanity," he paused and placed his hands on the orb, "is a disease on this world."

The acolyte nodded, though his expression betrayed his uncertainty.

Ulor closed his eyes, tilting his face toward the heavens. Soon, he would be linked with every mind in the world; soon, he would put an end to the rampant, destructive flood that was humanity. He would bandage the wound of the world with one simple command:

No more children.

The ancient mage started his incantation.

The beauty of the domination relic was, of course, that it maintained unquestioning servitude. Yes, in the past such tools were used primarily to control one or two individuals at best. Ulor was linking to all of the human race, but he wasn't seeking total obedience. He just needed compliance in one particular matter...

A connection to the orb established, he reached out into the ether with his consciousness. Such powerful magic required the draining of his life force, but Ulor was steadfast in his task. Before the last moments of his life ebbed away, he felt the universal connection he'd been searching for.

A smile on his face, the body of the mage slumped to the floor, never to rise again.

The End.

This story is re-readable. I enjoyed the nuances the second time around even more. This is quite a world the author built and visually true to the story.

Impressive talent.
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Post May 24, 2017, 03:09:28 PM

Special Note

I am so very pleased at the unselfish way you authors are reading and commenting and encouraging each other. I feel I have made some good friends among you writers.

I'm proud of all of you.
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Post May 24, 2017, 03:25:43 PM

Re: Voting Stage - May Flash Fiction Challenge

Daniel Johnson wrote:The clicking the quote button was an important part of my plan in bringing in people to the challenge who are nervous and uncomfortable with forum methodology. Many have written me about not participating for that reason. There are a lot of them. I solved that with using the quote button.

I do not want to add any new thing during this challenge. I want to make an easy transition for those who are first timers.


I respect your good intentions, Daniel, but in trying to make things easier for your friends, you've taught them bad habits.

It's common internet etiquette to 'snip' irrelevant text so that people don't have to wade through it. Please learn this practice; an admin or moderator somewhere will chastise you if you don't. Do be sure to leave in enough relevant text so that readers aren't having to ask you what you were talking about. You'll get chastised for that, too.

Odd that there's no 'help' button available on this forum and that everyone just assumes that everyone knows how to work forum controls.

Since you're worried that your friends are unfamiliar with forums, here is the FAQ for this board's software; they may want to bookmark it:

https://www.phpbb.com/community/help/fa ... 8d273b#f61

Even that doesn't give instructions for handling quotes; for that, look here:

https://www.phpbb.com/community/help/bbcode

Play around with this stuff, and check the results with the 'Preview' button--it will open another frame above your text box. The Preview cannot be used to edit; just scroll back down to your text editing box for that and repeat until the preview looks the way you want it to.

You can delete material from a quote wherever you want to snip unneeded text, but be sure to use the word 'snip' on its own line, as though it's a separate paragraph.

When you're done it should look like this:
snip

Original quote Original quote Original quote Original quote Original quote Original quote

snip

Original quote Original quote Original quote

snip


If you want to comment on more than one portion of a large quote, first, copy and paste a portion and make sure it's enclosed with quote tags. Write your comment, then repeat the procedure with the next portion. You won't need to mark the snips with this approach, but be sure to copy and paste the title and author name into the 'Subject' box or the top of your post. Be sure to preview it before hitting 'Submit;' it's easy to lose track of quote tags.

That method will result in this:

Original quote Original quote Original quote


Reader's review comments

Original quote Original quote Original quote


Reader's review comments
-----------------------
Hope this helps.
I was raised by humans. What's your excuse?
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Post May 24, 2017, 03:42:51 PM

Re: Voting Stage - May Flash Fiction Challenge

Lester Curtis wrote:
Daniel Johnson wrote:The clicking the quote button was an important part of my plan in bringing in people to the challenge who are nervous and uncomfortable with forum methodology. Many have written me about not participating for that reason. There are a lot of them. I solved that with using the quote button.

I do not want to add any new thing during this challenge. I want to make an easy transition for those who are first timers.


I respect your good intentions, Daniel, but in trying to make things easier for your friends, you've taught them bad habits.

It's common internet etiquette to 'snip' irrelevant text so that people don't have to wade through it. Please learn this practice; an admin or moderator somewhere will chastise you if you don't. Do be sure to leave in enough relevant text so that readers aren't having to ask you what you were talking about. You'll get chastised for that, too.

Odd that there's no 'help' button available on this forum and that everyone just assumes that everyone knows how to work forum controls.

Since you're worried that your friends are unfamiliar with forums, here is the FAQ for this board's software; they may want to bookmark it:

https://www.phpbb.com/community/help/fa ... 8d273b#f61

Even that doesn't give instructions for handling quotes; for that, look here:

https://www.phpbb.com/community/help/bbcode

Play around with this stuff, and check the results with the 'Preview' button--it will open another frame above your text box. The Preview cannot be used to edit; just scroll back down to your text editing box for that and repeat until the preview looks the way you want it to.

You can delete material from a quote wherever you want to snip unneeded text, but be sure to use the word 'snip' on its own line, as though it's a separate paragraph.

When you're done it should look like this:
snip

Original quote Original quote Original quote Original quote Original quote Original quote

snip

Original quote Original quote Original quote

snip


If you want to comment on more than one portion of a large quote, first, copy and paste a portion and make sure it's enclosed with quote tags. Write your comment, then repeat the procedure with the next portion. You won't need to mark the snips with this approach, but be sure to copy and paste the title and author name into the 'Subject' box or the top of your post. Be sure to preview it before hitting 'Submit;' it's easy to lose track of quote tags.

That method will result in this:

Original quote Original quote Original quote


Reader's review comments

Original quote Original quote Original quote


Reader's review comments
-----------------------
Hope this helps.

Well it does help and it would be good to have a tutorial written up to refer to.

I didn't know any of these writers before the March challenge, except Sergio from previous challenge and 15 of these 19 participants I met for the first time two weeks ago. I was just saying that they are becoming friends.

The promotion for this challenge took 40 hours added to another 20 hours to administrate. I contacted hundreds of writers from writing clubs, Aphelion's membership roster and outside sources. So no Lester, it wasn't me just inviting friends and that was how this happened.

I had planned to send out a tutorial with the promo on the next challenge. I didn't consider for this one until I had a large number of writers send me e-mails asking how to post comments. I told them the easiest way was to hit the quote button and repeated in the set up.

With five days remaining before the voting results, your help may be too difficult for the many first timers we have who have never been on this forum. If people can follow it, fine. But with the new people, it likely would hinder the free flowing response we are getting.

So for now and until Sunday evening, we'll stick with the guidelines stated for this challenge and any changes can be implemented on future ones.
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Post May 24, 2017, 08:11:40 PM

Re: Voting Stage - May Flash Fiction Challenge

Daniel,

You're doing a magnificent job! You're really a natural at this type of work. Thank you for motivating me to write. Take encouragement from all the writers who believe in you and wrote and sent in stories, I mean excellent stories.

Thank you for this experience!

Genna

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Post May 24, 2017, 09:17:10 PM

Re: Voting Stage - May Flash Fiction Challenge

I wished I had made the time to send in a story. I would have loved to have gotten all this attention from some great writers. Whenever you do another, please let me know.

The writer's organization I'm in are writing flash for the main section of this site, about nine stories. They'll be sending it to you in a week or so.


Okay, I'll read and make some comments.

Thank you Daniel.
Last edited by Chrissy Hampton on May 24, 2017, 09:41:10 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post May 24, 2017, 09:23:06 PM

Re: 18 The Director by Ryan Harris

Daniel Johnson wrote:“The Director” by Ryan Harris

I shouldn't have done it. A year of my life that I'll never get back.

As a medical student, hopeful to be a doctor, the thought of playing God attracted me. Being in control of anything gave me a high that was almost bizarre.

A year earlier I had written an essay during pre-med. The topic was "How I Would Change The World." Looking back, the powers-that-be were fishing for a Director candidate. Most of my thoughts were the usual ideas: peace, environmental change, and improving health for people. My single deviation was to reduce population growth. I didn't specify how it would happen but they seemed to like it.

In class one Tuesday, I was asked by two well-dressed gentleman to talk in the hallway. They escorted me to an empty classroom and informed me they were commission agents for the Director Program.
"My name is Agent Jones," the taller, bald one said, "and this is my partner Agent Bodkins." They held up their ID's.

"What's this all about?" I asked.

"Just come with us."

I was promptly flown to New York City. Agents Jones and Bodkins took me to the United Nations General Assembly. There, I was ushered into a private meeting with Rhys Fairbanks, the Secretary General of the United Nations.

"Son, you've been chosen for the Director Program. It's an incredibly honor and an immense responsibility but we feel you can change the world for the better," said Fairbanks.

"The Director Program?"

"In short, it's a year-long contract in which you control the actions of everyone on the planet. Almost like a video game. You can influence legislative bodies, heads of state, the masses, whomever you choose."

"It's pretty sudden, sir. I don't know if I can handle this responsibility."

"I'm sorry, son, but the plans are already in motion. You have no choice in this matter."

I looked down, suddenly afraid. "What if I refuse?"

"Let's just say you wouldn't want that option. Take it for what it is and make positive change for Earth. You'll be flown to TrueScope Space Station for the duration of your contract. Sign here."
The Secretary General pushed a bleach-white piece of paper across his desk. I signed the appropriate line and was immediately flown to Cape Canaveral for NASA to do their part in my journey.

The thought of going to space was exciting but spending a year out there was daunting.

Viewing Earth from space can literally take one's breath away and make them tear up from the sheerness of spatial microscopy.

TrueScope was cramped but my sleeping quarters had the best amenities. Even with the grand room, I had to be integrated into the program at least twelve hours--more if I chose to do so.

The interface was quite easy to navigate. I spent most of my time, as I figured, in the category of legislators and lawmakers. My first few months were spent on population control and environmental improvement.

Being in control of the world seems like a great idea in theory. In reality, the job ate away at my emotions and gave me nightmares.

What Fairbanks or the tech experts didn't tell me, by choice or accidental omission, was the daily list. Lists of births and deaths popped onto my top-left screen every twenty-four hours. I learned not to click on the names except of the mandatory ten required of me. Selecting a name would give details of birth or death, along with a video of the event.

The one I recall most was a young boy by the name of Dillon. He was six years of age, inquisitive, and bright from what I'd seen of his historical footage.

My early months of being Director were filled with mistakes, one of which cost Dillon his life.

Population control was a directive option for legislators, lawmakers, and politicians. It was a command I used freely early on. Not realizing there were subcategories, my directive implied that population could be reduced by any means possible.

Dillon's death video was graphic. His native Brisbane was implementing mass murder as a means of controlling population. It broke my heart to see him running in vain from the soldier that killed him. It was something I wasn't prepared for.

After many a trial and error, I learned my way around the interface. Even so, any decision made became a painstaking process. I had to think about how many lives I would affect and on what scale it would affect the world.

Piece of mind over productivity was my ultimate decision in making it through the program with my sanity intact. It worked out and I came through as a changed man.
I've been a doctor for eighteen years now and I can say the program made me a better physician. People should not be deities, but being the Director is life-changing.

The End

I'm doing this from notes that I scribbled down while I was reading.


If men in black approach you for the government, just forget about it. There up to no good.

Ryan, you wrote a good solid dramatic story with a lot of sci fi elements pertaining to the mind control. Is there more from you I can read somewhere?

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Post May 24, 2017, 09:27:16 PM

Re: 12 Mister Adjuster by Alexander D Jones

Daniel Johnson wrote:Mister Adjuster by Alexander D Jones

Clive's eyes darted from left to right and back again as he scanned the doctor's waiting room. There was so much wrong with it, so much that was - out of place.

To start with he set his sights on the notice board opposite him. There were various posters pinned in random places. There was no order to it. Clive winced. How could someone see that and think it looked okay? He couldn't get up and fix it though, that was 'not proper' according to his mother. There was another man who sat just under the pin board on his phone. Clive's eyes narrowed on him and he pressed his index and middle finger to his temple. The man stood up slowly and started taking the posters off the board.

The receptionist stood from behind her desk

"Excuse me, Sir,"

Clive sent her to the vending machine.

Clive had been able to control minds since he was about fourteen, he had no idea how the powers had come about but he liked the idea that he was able to fix all of the little misjudgments that annoyed him so.

Eventually the man finished putting the posters back in a more grid-like order. Clive allowed him to sit back down and return to his phone. As he did so the receptionist returned from her walk rubbing her forehead. She looked around the waiting room in a rather bemused fashion before returning to her desk.

As she did so Clive noticed her computer screen, more specifically the top of her computer screen. There were several small characters stuck to it. Unfortunately for both herself and Clive, they weren't exactly in line. Clive sighed. The receptionist would have to have a small break from her work while he helped her adjust them.

The End

This child reminds me of Monk, the TV series. Maybe he's one in the making. I know a boy who is a button pusher. His mother has to watch his hands when they go out in public.

Clive is really cute!

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Post May 24, 2017, 09:31:34 PM

Re: 09 101 Uses For Mind Control Slaves by Frank Martin

Daniel Johnson wrote:101 Uses For Mind Control Slaves by Frank Martin

“So who did you buy?” The elite demon shell loved misery - in others. He liked smelling the sweat from fear and hopelessness oozing out of enslaved humans. A common trait among mind programmers and carvers who afflict pain to literally cause human products to lose their mind for the purpose of recreating new thought patterns and personalities.

The transaction was held in a dark, underground area, which had a maze of secret passages for various ritual abuses and black market activity.

The human shell (body) becomes nothing when the demon suppresses the soul and moves in. The programmer was named Arieack. He wreaked with stench, combining his inward and outward filth. His face was in a perpetual smirk, frozen like a sinister mannequin.

“I got me a celebrity singer, Lady Abele. I knew I wanted her when she disrobed on stage at a bar last month. The demons in her went wild.” The middle easterner grinned with a animalistic predatory like gleam in his eye. His name is Emir Sheikh Nahyarum. Oil and munitions was his trade.

“Her handlers were giving away samples that night, but she was so tranced, she didn’t know who she was or where she was at. I like it when they can’t resist. I had one sometime back who cried while I was on top of her. Some part of her must have felt shame, but the chip held her in place,” the Sheikh said transfixed on the hallway.

This son of an oil sheik knew his share of fleshbots. He was robed in the garb of his country, but you could feel he was murderous.

From down the corridor, handlers were escorting Lady Abele to the prospective buyers at the end of the hall. She was a world star, but also a unknowing prostitute. Owners worked their human property to make money in many ways. This weekend, she was a mindless whore, devoid of self awareness.

As they reached the group of men, one of them signaled with his finger to undress her. They stripped her naked as the men leered at her while walking around her uncovered body. Some of the men smelled her in various places like a dog. With flagrant carnality these men salivated, drooling onto their clothes.

The bidding was fierce and fast.

The top bidder scooped her up and carried her to his limonene, leaving her cloths in a pile on the ground where she once stood.

Meanwhile, the dark lord was watching everything. He was not omnipotent like his Creator, but he was able to see through the eyes of every human slave he controlled.

He orchestrated the abusing of humanity, turning the stability of their world upside down, deprecating on their morals, until fear reigned. Then he could take his human form, becoming the world leader, their dark savior. He controlled everyone, except for a few who were devout to God. The Almighty took care of them.

The Sheikh drove to a secret place and carried the nude superstar into an abandoned warehouse owned by a member of the dark alliance. They own every titan of industry.

Lady Abele was strapped to a gurney as he laid out his instruments of torture onto a metal table. Rats scurried by his feet, the only light being hand held palm beacons.

He placed a probe between her legs, fastening it with electrodes. He draped a serpent around her breasts, which slithered in every direction. The switch was in his hand. He pushed the button. Volts of electricity surged through her reproductive organs. She screamed in agony. The snake bit her with each twitch and every verbal sound she made.

The Sheikh gave her a shot of venom antidote. After a few minutes, he jolted her again. She screamed with all of her might. The snake made numerous puncture marks on her stomach. She was given more antidote.

She passed out. The Sheikh pulled out large scissors and cut the head off the snake. It’s body twisted for a short while and then both parts died. The blood trickled off her body.

He pulled out large pins to torment her further. She was awaken with drugs designed to keep her conscious and more drugs to heighten the sensation of the pain.

She was programmed not to speak, but as the Sheikh approached her with the needles, she mouthed the words ‘please no’.

He rammed a pin into her foot and into the bone causing her to scream bolting up from the gurney, breaking one of the restraints. He shoved her back down tying her once again to the table and proceeded to grind needles into her bones for hours.

Early the next morning, the Sheikh took her limp body back to where he had paid for her the night before. He placed her nude form in the arms of her handler and said, “Thrilling experience.”

The handler was given a packet of money and the Sheikh left.

Lady Abele was placed in a robe and taken to a basement area of a hotel owned by the alliance. After bathing her and giving her more drugs to bring her around, the programmer came in and worked on her for the rest of the day.

Her handlers dressed her for a concert later that evening. She looked robotic and tranced as they shoved her onto the stage.

“Do you think she is physically and mentally ready to perform after last night?” her manager looked at the handler pondering what he had just asked.

The handler said, “She doesn’t remember or feel a thing. The technology is advanced.”

As the curtain opened, Lady Abele was sitting on a stool with a mic in her hand. She stared at the audience and then began to sing.

A tear rolled down her cheek.

The End

I don't know what to think about this one.

You got the suspense and heavy drama, plenty of action. But, I didn't feel the humanity of the cruelty. I would like to feel something for Lady Abele, maybe more set up.

But, there was something unmistakable about your writing. You've got something there, I just can't put my finger on it.

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Post May 24, 2017, 09:32:36 PM

Re: 07 For a Mile or an Hour by Glenn M. Diamond

Daniel Johnson wrote:For a Mile or an Hour by Glenn M. Diamond

In a dim corner of a sleepy tavern off a state highway in the hill country of Wheatfield County on a muggy summer morning, three men stared at each other over a pitcher of watery beer. The felt-muffled thwack of billiard collisions punctuated the awkward silence. Two knew each other well. The third was Grimes, a hardware wholesaler from Granite City who had no idea where he was or how he got there. Only minutes earlier he was 100 miles away in his office writing up an order for toilet valves.

“Let me get this straight,” Grimes ventured, looking first at the rotund sandy-haired man sporting a ball cap with a tractor logo, and then to the slim dark-haired one in a western shirt and cowboy hat.

“You’re -- God. Right? That makes you...”

“Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my...” started the other.

God interrupted. “Oh STOP. Doesn’t that ever get old?”

“This can’t be happening,” Grimes concluded.

“True, in a way,” God agreed. “If I were really here, your body would disintegrate into subatomic particles. I’m merely a construct. Like him. He’s actually chained in the Abyss, but sometimes I take him along on these... field trips.”

Grimes felt a sickening revelation. “Oh. I’m dead. That’s just great. Mighty strange afterlife y’all fellers got here,” he drawled for local effect.

The cowboy shook his head side to side.

Grimes looked at God. “Not dead?”

“Not even close.”

“Then this is some sort of a test?”

The others nodded.

Grimes nervously recalled the famous tale of a humble man from 4000 years ago who was pushed to the absolute limit. “Not a test of faith I hope. I’d rather not have my whole family wiped out, along with my -- goats or whatever.”

“Nothing like that,” God assured him then explained the rules, which boiled down to Grimes gaining control over the entire human race for one hour. Not their bodies, but their minds. Grimes must decide what to do with this unimaginable power.

***

“When you’re ready,” God instructed, “simply think the idea in your mind while holding up two fingers. The hour will begin, but for us it will be over instantly and we’ll return here.”

The two men disappeared. Next, the table vanished followed by the tavern and the highway. Grimes sat against an oak tree with the big summer sky flooding overhead. Think, he ordered himself. Don’t screw this up.

Grimes figured he shouldn’t exploit this to benefit himself directly. And being only a mental power, he couldn’t just feed the hungry or pay off everyone’s mortgage. But he needed to help everyone; give them something they needed. He thought about it mighty hard, but never was any good at puzzles.

“How the hell do I know what other people need?” It struck him before he finished the question, which in fact held the answer. “That’s it!” He checked it over in his mind to be sure, then again with two raised fingers. He’d barely blinked when the tavern scene reappeared, along with the world’s strangest drinking buddies.

God smiled broadly as he reached out to shake Grimes’ hand. “Excellent!”

The cowboy was sullen and defeated. This was going to cut down on business dramatically.

“Where did you get such an elegant idea?” God asked. “Being omniscient I already know, but you might want to tell Old Sulfur Breath over there.”

Grimes credited his mom. “She always told me I’d never understand others until I walked a mile in their shoes. But I guess an hour would work also. So that’s what I did, made people spend an hour in someone else’s life.”

#

A mysterious outbreak of telepathic empathy spread across the globe. People experienced the pain, the joy, the fear, the hopes, the dreams, and the nightmares of someone who, generally speaking, was their opposite.

The contrasts were between rich and poor, old and young, healthy and sick, black and white, and on and on. They could be separated by oceans or merely the walls of a house.

Throughout zones of war, fighters of opposing sides saw the world through the eyes of their bitter enemies and suddenly grasped the futility and immorality of their violence and hatred. They knew it was time to stop.

In the boardrooms of industry and the halls of political power, the elite witnessed the world through the desperate eyes of war refugees, sweatshop workers, or those sickened from pollution; all borne of greed, corruption, and bigotry.

Those who lived in poverty, oppression, fear, or ignorance discovered, through the minds of others, the inspiring power of self-worth, education, courage, creativity, health, and security. They would confidently begin to elevate themselves by boldly claiming their most basic rights.

Even the virtuous gained something; a keen perception of the darkness in the few truly damaged souls who remained a risk to others. Such knowledge was vital to protecting society in the most humane and proactive ways.

#

Back in Granite City, Grimes thought he nodded off for a moment, but took a sip of his coffee and resumed ordering those toilet valves. Over the next week he barely noticed the headlines that reported peace treaties, famine relief, and the voluntary recalls of dangerous products. He’d inexplicably begun volunteering some time at the nursing home down the street, and hadn’t had much time to read the news.

The End


Entertaini9ng and well written story -- impressive

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Post May 24, 2017, 09:34:55 PM

Re: 17 A Bouquet of Flowers of the Mind by Florin Purluca.

Daniel Johnson wrote:A Bouquet of Flowers of the Mind by Florin Purluca.

I'm a modern demigod. One of the most depressed who ever existed.

But it has not always been so. I have been like you, once. The change occurred as a miracle, looking at a lollipop. A large, orange and glossy one, a vibrant color in the hand of a child wandering in a lonely, dusty street. I looked puzzled at her, in the sparkling light of the afternoon, and I thought of an orange. Round, succulent, hypnotic. A perfume like the madness of the cherry blossoms of May. An explosion of olfactory sensation culminated with the implosion of the phoning organ. But I was not scared. I said to myself that I had no reason to fear. I knew enough about autosuggestion. So all I had to do was channel my energy to another direction. That I did. Nevertheless, nothing changed. For twenty-four hours, through my preaching, the world continued to look built from a orange peel.

Nothing happened for a while, but then it was the taste of the night. Sweet, like a fondling chocolate. Dark deep, dense and bitter, expression of life after light. It was enough to close my eyes in the silence of the night, and the aroma progressively increased with the speed of a carousel. And that's when life began to flicker into me -- the flame of a wind turbulent candle. Stronger, faster, but with a sense of imbalance in the variability of the mind. Strong vibrations, superimposed on my thoughts, like a band of a million of lovers and mistresses that whisper to you that everything will be fine. But it was not, oh!, sweet lie of my impotence.

Falling over me, the voices, like a violent thunder. As the wave of a Leviathan rushed from the clouds into the sea. Billions of dreams, aspirations, love unfulfilled and sadness. Joy, regret and pain. A mélange of vigor with the breath of death. I was about to lose my mind and then He came to me. Invisible, with a marble voice:

-- Here, my child, this is my gift to you. A bouquet of flowers of the mind.

Without wanting, helpless, without knowing. As simply as that. A curse, like a beautiful gift.

It took me years to be able to stabilize and understand how to filter the billions of minds. A bunch of beggars, that's what they were. Once, being one of them, I fought and rescued them. I stopped the wars. I have brought peace and joy into their life, as a rare flower that rises every thousand years. And then they feared me. I had to be different. But it meant, for me, the chastisement. They hated me even more. But I knew the forgiveness, like the soft touch of a velvet blanket, and brought them the fruit of the Allocalips.

”Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

And it was done, according to His will, my will. Their rods, the rods of the pure ones, sang about the new Barabas. But how could I ever embrace betrayal, when my pain reverberates? I had become a poor man turned overnight into a wealthy and prosperous man, staring at his old friends. Even poorer, and more helpless.

And I put myself and thought about my soul, as no coins ever thought. I fell down and came through my brothers. I enjoyed life. I laughed when I had to cry. I cried when I should have laughed. I loved and hated those who did not love me despite my will.

Now I sit and look at the world, silently, perched on a steep bank, and marvel at His angel: the free will. I leave all my thoughts, the voices inside my head, to walk in their will and feel a wave of sadness as it slips over the sea mirror. I am the saddest demigod that ever existed, because once I was one like them and in my thirst after love and generosity I betrayed them. I despised their will and lured them, like I was in my turn, with a mirochant bouquet of the flowers of the mind.

The End.

Breathtakingly beautiful. I agree with another poster, it was a painting with words. You have an interesting way of communicating that I never heard before. Loved it!

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Post May 24, 2017, 09:38:05 PM

Re: 03 The Pettiness Device by Jean-Paul L. Garnier

Daniel Johnson wrote:The Pettiness Device by Jean-Paul L. Garnier

Bobby shifted around in his pocket and thumbed at the small device. He’d been too scared to push the button, but he knew that he couldn’t resist the temptation for much longer. Removing his hand from his pocket he switched the blinker on, signaling his intent to exit the freeway. The driver to his right sped up, blocking his passage, causing him to miss his exit. Glancing at the rearview his saw his face contort in grimace. His fingers found their way back to the device and without thinking he pushed the button. The blinker still flashed. He turned his head to the right and saw the line of cars back off to let him pass.

Off the freeway Bobby noticed that all the cars were yielding to him. When he arrived at an intersection at the same time as another car the driver waved for him to go first. He’d forgotten to turn the device off. He almost pushed the button again, then refrained, deciding to wait until the drive was over. It was smooth sailing for the rest of the ride.

The pettiness switch really does make life a lot easier. Do I actually need to turn it off? He didn’t say anything about leaving it on for long periods, he’d only said that the switch would turn off the pettiness of others. A strange pawn shop find. Bobby had bought the device on impulse, thinking it would be a good gift for his wife, who was always complaining about how petty people can be. As he was turning the knob of the front door he experienced a moment of hesitation and hit the switch once more before entering the house.

Tamara, his wife, sat watching the soaps, barely noticing his entrance. He threw his keys into the dish with a loud clank. Only then did Tamara stir. Without looking up from the TV she asked, “Did you remember to stop and get me more Chablis?” He had not. The strangeness of the courteous drive had made him forget all about her request.

Bobby was about to leave the house again, for the forgotten errand, when he decided to push the button. His fingers hadn’t left the device when he heard Tamara call out, “Don’t worry about it, I’m sure you’ve had a long day, and we still have some Chardonnay. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll pour us a glass.”

He was shocked. She was never kind to him when he got home from work. Usually she just wanted to give him an earful of TV gossip and complaints. She was still talking to him, but he didn’t hear. On the television a political debate was taking place, but the candidates were not debating. Instead, a series of apologies were taking place. The talking heads praised each other and spoke of each other’s favorable qualities. What could be going on, did the world change on my way home? Is this my doing?

He thumbed the device once more. The politicians froze for a minute with shocked looks on their faces. As they returned to arguing his wife spilled wine all over the floor. “Damn it, Bobby. I thought I asked you to pick up Chablis. You know I hate Chardonnay in the early evening.”

He pushed the button again. “Oh, how clumsy I am.” Tamara said to herself as she grabbed a towel and started cleaning up the mess. On the television the argument reverted to an almost sycophantic shower of compliments. Each candidate patiently waiting for the other to finish before rebutting with a comment equally polite.

Bobby went into the front yard to clear his head. Passersby waved from car windows. He pushed the button again and watched their demeanors change. The waving stopped as people ignored him and went back to navigating the thick traffic. A hand extended from a car window and from the hand extended a middle finger. The driver shouted insults at a passing vehicle. Bobby couldn’t resist hitting the button again, and again the moods of the drivers changed. This thing really works. Pettiness disappears instantly when I activate the device. I could do a lot of good for the world with this thing. He shuddered at the power that rested in his palm. Quickly he shut it off, fearful of the awesome control he now had over others.

Walking back in the house he was greeted with more of Tamara’s complaints. He sat on the couch trying to ignore the insult. The politicians were back to their mud-slinging. Tamara already seemed drunk. Her volume was rising in intensity. I can do something about it, why shouldn’t I? The allure of the button tainted his judgement and he pushed it without further thought. Tamara settled down. Through his thoughts he even heard her utter a kind word.

His mood sank. Why didn’t the man at the pawn shop warn me? This device may turn off the pettiness of others, but every time I reach for the button I’m being petty myself… Bobby sat up from the couch and went outside once more. He hit the button one last time, turning the pettiness of the world back on, then lifted the lid of the trash can and chucked the device in with the rest of the rubbish.

The End

This was just cool! I wish I had one of those. I would so zap people.

Jean-Paul, do you have more writing online that I can read?

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Post May 24, 2017, 09:44:24 PM

Re: 08 Omnipotent by Roderick D. Turner

Daniel Johnson wrote:Omnipotent by Roderick D. Turner

“So, how would you like it if—”

“What? You could do anything, to anyone, anytime?”

“You know how it goes, Lace,” he says. “Chance like this comes along once, if at all. Take it or leave it, I’m either in charge or I’m relegated to being your consort for all eternity.”

“Not,” I say.

“Not what? Your consort?”

“I would not like it,” I say. “Turn it down.”

“Lacey, it’s like winning the ultimate lottery. Hold the reins, the power. Do whatever I want, with nobody to tell me what to do.”

“If you were any less perceptive I’d think I was living with a celery stalk,” I say. “Do you not get it? Even for someone with your thick skin, it’ll drive you insane. Think about it. Even you must be able to see what it’s all about.”

Ford glares at me, shakes his head. “No. It’s you that doesn’t get it Lacey. Someone walks up to you and hands you a billion dollars, shakes your hand and says ‘it’s all yours buddy, go crazy,’ you don’t just give it back. This, this is even more incredible. You saw what I could do, just for that moment. After the angel, or whatever, gave me my free trial.”

I walk to the apartment door, fling it wide. It slams into the planter and knocks my prize roses to the floor, soil scattering across the hallway. Scream in frustration, clenching my fists to my sides. “Your mind is made up,” I say, the words clipped and forced. “So get out.” I look at him, daring him to object. “I don’t want to see you again.”

“Lace, take it easy,” he says. But I see it in his eyes, he’s already on the ego trip, the power high, the drug of his own omnipotence. He stands in the doorway, looks back at me. “You know I’ll be back,” he says. “And when I show up—” he squints at me, the confidence oozing from him like a toxin, “well, you’ll be glad to see me.” Then he turns, steps into the hall. And I slam the door behind him.

***

The next day, it all begins. In only the first afternoon, war is declared between the United Nations forces and the non-UN Alliance. Missiles fly, but no nuclear warheads. Thousands die. There is not a country in the world that does not feel the impact. There are rumors of an island in the Caribbean, entirely spared from any disruption. But even with the isolation, the physical separation, the effort Ford makes to distance himself, I can feel his anguish. His every whim catered for, but his world falling apart around him.

He lasts for three days. When he shows up at my door, I am ready for him. Prepared to have my very soul adjusted, adapted to meet his needs. But he does nothing to change me. Stands in the hallway where, days before, he strode away with such arrogance. A broken man now, eyes wild with horror. Leaning against the wall, unable to speak.

“It’s the knowing,” I say. “Isn’t it Ford? Knowing all. Too much for any one mind. Knowing what’s happening, and being unable to manage all of it at once. Even if you don’t want to help, tell yourself you don’t care, it’s a lie. But you can’t control it all.”

His gaze finds mine, and for a moment I see the man I knew. “Take it away, Lacey,” he whispers. “For God’s sake. I can’t stand it.”

I walk forward, cradle his head against my chest. “You’ve taken the first step already,” I say. “The rest is just time.”

He clings to me like a drowning man. “How do I get rid of it?” he moans.

“Someone else is already taking the offer,” I say. “Already making the same mistake you made.”

He pulls away from me, and I see his face change as I watch. Stress and burden lift from his entire frame, the weight of the world suddenly removed.

“How did you know?” Incredulous, awed.

“The year before I met you,” I say. “The crisis in Pakistan.”

His eyes grow suddenly huge as he stares at me.

“Yes, Ford. I was God for a day as well.”

The End


Good job with dialogue -- a little confused at first but it fell in place -- probably isn't important but how did they get power and how is it transferred?
Entertaining read.

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Post May 24, 2017, 09:53:47 PM

Re: 09 101 Uses For Mind Control Slaves by Frank Martin

Daniel Johnson wrote:101 Uses For Mind Control Slaves by Frank Martin

“So who did you buy?” The elite demon shell loved misery - in others. He liked smelling the sweat from fear and hopelessness oozing out of enslaved humans. A common trait among mind programmers and carvers who afflict pain to literally cause human products to lose their mind for the purpose of recreating new thought patterns and personalities.

The transaction was held in a dark, underground area, which had a maze of secret passages for various ritual abuses and black market activity.

The human shell (body) becomes nothing when the demon suppresses the soul and moves in. The programmer was named Arieack. He wreaked with stench, combining his inward and outward filth. His face was in a perpetual smirk, frozen like a sinister mannequin.

“I got me a celebrity singer, Lady Abele. I knew I wanted her when she disrobed on stage at a bar last month. The demons in her went wild.” The middle easterner grinned with a animalistic predatory like gleam in his eye. His name is Emir Sheikh Nahyarum. Oil and munitions was his trade.

“Her handlers were giving away samples that night, but she was so tranced, she didn’t know who she was or where she was at. I like it when they can’t resist. I had one sometime back who cried while I was on top of her. Some part of her must have felt shame, but the chip held her in place,” the Sheikh said transfixed on the hallway.

This son of an oil sheik knew his share of fleshbots. He was robed in the garb of his country, but you could feel he was murderous.

From down the corridor, handlers were escorting Lady Abele to the prospective buyers at the end of the hall. She was a world star, but also a unknowing prostitute. Owners worked their human property to make money in many ways. This weekend, she was a mindless whore, devoid of self awareness.

As they reached the group of men, one of them signaled with his finger to undress her. They stripped her naked as the men leered at her while walking around her uncovered body. Some of the men smelled her in various places like a dog. With flagrant carnality these men salivated, drooling onto their clothes.

The bidding was fierce and fast.

The top bidder scooped her up and carried her to his limonene, leaving her cloths in a pile on the ground where she once stood.

Meanwhile, the dark lord was watching everything. He was not omnipotent like his Creator, but he was able to see through the eyes of every human slave he controlled.

He orchestrated the abusing of humanity, turning the stability of their world upside down, deprecating on their morals, until fear reigned. Then he could take his human form, becoming the world leader, their dark savior. He controlled everyone, except for a few who were devout to God. The Almighty took care of them.

The Sheikh drove to a secret place and carried the nude superstar into an abandoned warehouse owned by a member of the dark alliance. They own every titan of industry.

Lady Abele was strapped to a gurney as he laid out his instruments of torture onto a metal table. Rats scurried by his feet, the only light being hand held palm beacons.

He placed a probe between her legs, fastening it with electrodes. He draped a serpent around her breasts, which slithered in every direction. The switch was in his hand. He pushed the button. Volts of electricity surged through her reproductive organs. She screamed in agony. The snake bit her with each twitch and every verbal sound she made.

The Sheikh gave her a shot of venom antidote. After a few minutes, he jolted her again. She screamed with all of her might. The snake made numerous puncture marks on her stomach. She was given more antidote.

She passed out. The Sheikh pulled out large scissors and cut the head off the snake. It’s body twisted for a short while and then both parts died. The blood trickled off her body.

He pulled out large pins to torment her further. She was awaken with drugs designed to keep her conscious and more drugs to heighten the sensation of the pain.

She was programmed not to speak, but as the Sheikh approached her with the needles, she mouthed the words ‘please no’.

He rammed a pin into her foot and into the bone causing her to scream bolting up from the gurney, breaking one of the restraints. He shoved her back down tying her once again to the table and proceeded to grind needles into her bones for hours.

Early the next morning, the Sheikh took her limp body back to where he had paid for her the night before. He placed her nude form in the arms of her handler and said, “Thrilling experience.”

The handler was given a packet of money and the Sheikh left.

Lady Abele was placed in a robe and taken to a basement area of a hotel owned by the alliance. After bathing her and giving her more drugs to bring her around, the programmer came in and worked on her for the rest of the day.

Her handlers dressed her for a concert later that evening. She looked robotic and tranced as they shoved her onto the stage.

“Do you think she is physically and mentally ready to perform after last night?” her manager looked at the handler pondering what he had just asked.

The handler said, “She doesn’t remember or feel a thing. The technology is advanced.”

As the curtain opened, Lady Abele was sitting on a stool with a mic in her hand. She stared at the audience and then began to sing.

A tear rolled down her cheek.

The End


A little intense for my tastes but I found it hard to not keep reading

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Post May 24, 2017, 11:17:20 PM

Re: 01 Ivy and Justin by K. Vesi

radagast-now wrote:
Daniel Johnson wrote:Ivy and Justin by K. Vesi

“Justin, I told you a million times!” Ivy called out as she sat among her stuffed animals. She had arranged them in a semi-circle so that she could see all of them and they, her.

Justin peered out of the doorway of their shared bathroom, toothbrush in hand. “Actually, it was three.”

<snipped>

Very well done. The dialogue carried the plot along nicely, all from the point of view of youngsters. With a nice twist at the end.


Thanks! Kvesi

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Location: Arizona

Post May 24, 2017, 11:37:36 PM

Re: 06 The Lily Pads of Your Minds by Gareth D Jones

Daniel Johnson wrote:The Lily Pads of Your Minds by Gareth D Jones

Guillaume yawned.......

The End


Well-written story and I enjoyed the extended metaphor synonymous with the story title. I also liked that it wasn't on a grand scale, just the small day-to-day activities people go through. Tried to find something to critique but no such luck.
"It is a cardinal sin to bore the reader."
- Larry Niven
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