February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Results


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Post March 04, 2018, 09:19:40 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Here are a few comments that came to me as I read each story. I realize these were written in a shorter time than is normal for the competition and may be first drafts or close. Use or ignore these comments as you deem appropriate.


Defective Huh?- Jim Statton

I loved the idea behind this story—a clone being cloned; and, of course, mutations happen.

One thing I’ve read often in commentary about flash fiction is that authors many times start the story in the wrong place. The advice most often given is to start in media res. Or in other words, get to the point. I wonder if this should start with the third paragraph.

Another thing to consider is verb tense. Use active verbs. For example, instead of “was trying,” you might write “The one on my left struggled to strap restraints across my chest…” I would show the reader here why he’s having a problem. Another example is “as I was backing out.” “as I backed out” might be better.

Good job, Jim, given the short timeframe to get it done.


The Worship of the Unending Pain - Sergio

This was an interesting read, but I didn’t buy into the premise. If a citizen of another country living on the island can be euthanized, why would this change if the clone was recreated? He would simply be in a cycle of clone-euthanize-reclone, etc. Maybe I missed something.

As with Jim’s story, I wonder if the opening sentence is needed. You mention the island in the second paragraph and could add a descriptive phrase there.

I looked up the treatments for ALS (medications, occupational, physical and speech therapy) and find it hard to believe the doctors can’t treat him at least at a minimal level.

“It didn’t take long before Frank was called in to the main hospital in the capital.” Earlier you wrote there was only one hospital on the island. Is this the same one? I’m confused.


Divide and Conquer - Robin

Since I seem to be commenting on beginnings, I liked this one. It peaked my interest and left me wanting to read (eat?) more.

“So many eating and not just those of the same gender.” Not sure why this is here. Why wouldn’t both genders eat?

I got confused at the bit of conversation starting with “Something is strange, can you feel it?” He speaks the first line. I guess she says the second line, and then the third? Or is there another person here?

“it all began when a large bio-pharma company was finding new ways of engineering…” Consider something stronger than “was finding.”

This was an interesting concept and an enjoyable read.


They Prey on the Hurts of Others - Megawatts

For a first story after a long layoff, this is well done. I thought there needed to be a bit more background provided before Daniel got mad. It felt like a disconnect for the change to happen so fast. And who is the baby? Later I see it’s Nicky. Maybe use grandson instead of baby.

Welcome back, Megawatts. I look forward to reading more of your stories.
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Post March 04, 2018, 12:26:55 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Some points I have on the stories.


Double Double by Jim Harrington

The story about a clone invasion meant for various planets was foiled by mistakes by the clone creators and a single clone who began to question his existence. Murder, intrigue...what else could you want under a thousand words.

Very satisfying tale.

_____________________________

The Worship of the Unending Pain by Sergio Palumbo

This reminded me of the Spanish Inquisition. A religious governing order who insists all pain is retribution for evil doings. For those who escaped the island, clones were created to force them to suffer for the people who had the good sense to get off the island.

This is a good idea for a movie.

_____________________________

They Prey on the Hurts of Others by Megawatts

This was such an emotional piece, well told, it was easy to be pulled into empathy with the character's loss.

Here is professional phrasing within this story. "With the air streaming through his hair and the feel of the Harley answering his commands, his mind flashed back to images and the hospital that treated him once for a hereditary disorder."

Wow! That caught my attention.

Also, the disguised cloning facility was clever.

______________________________

Divide and Conquer by Robin B. Lipinski

A world invasion beginning in a laboratory with human cells being infused with artificial intellect.

I liked the concept. I would liked to have seen more of the genesis of how this world take over began.

The primal thought process of single cells formulating was something I hadn't seen or read before.

Original fiction.

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Post March 04, 2018, 12:35:13 PM

The Voting Results

There were 7 votes entered which included the 5 writers in the contest and 2 regular members.

The votes are one way to benefit the writers, comments are another and encouraging one another is also helpful. And that is what we should be doing.

The votes received were as follows:


Double Double - by Jim Harrington (1)
Defective Huh? - by Jim Statton (2)
The Worship of the Unending Pain - by Sergio Palumbo (2)
Divide and Conquer - by Robin B. Lipinski (1)
They Prey on the Hurts of Others - by Megawatts (1)


Thank you everyone for your time and talents.
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Post March 05, 2018, 05:00:14 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Results

For jpharrin:

This was an interesting read, but I didn’t buy into the premise. If a citizen of another country living on the island can be euthanized, why would this change if the clone was recreated? He would simply be in a cycle of clone-euthanize-reclone, etc. Maybe I missed something.


Just as a brief explanation, fact is that on that fictitious (evil...) Island, people from other countries, who underwent euthanasy in their native country, were recreated as clones, and as citizens of that Island itself, in order to make them live and suffer according to the strict laws of that country-island...it is as if saying that they escaped suffering during their previous life, but they can't escape here again according to the views of the government of that place...a sad premise, but it's Sci-Fi, of course... :)

and find it hard to believe the doctors can’t treat him at least at a minimal level.


The doctors on this Island do not need to find, or provide someone with treatment for stopping pain...they only had to overlook people suffer and die by nature...with no way to stop suffering before their last day...a cruel point of view, but in history we have seen something worse than that...no intention of criticizing existing values others may have, it's just a Sci-Fi entry set in a fictitious country that we hope will never be true...though, we can't be sure...eh,eh :D :D...technology of the future put at the service of some questionable ends in that field might happen sooner or later...better if it is never of course...

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Post March 11, 2018, 08:39:02 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

Jim Statton wrote:I have a question about writing. How much description should be included in a flash fiction piece? Just a general over view to get the idea of what everything looks like or a more in depth visual of the physical and internal attributes of the characters.


To me, the answer is highly unclear and variable! (and in a story about math and physics, with highly unclear variables!)

Well contending stories have gone both ways. To me it's the subtle situation with the word count. Too much description and suddenly you're out of words for a coherent plot!

(Or, since my pun engine seems to be sputtering to life, graveyard plot!)

Somewhere before the next mammoth walks an ice age, I hope to submit some stories to the main 'zine under my regular name. The Flash word limit seems a but thin for my best ideas to spread out in. So I treat it as a realtime writer's notebook!

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Post March 11, 2018, 09:04:37 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

jpharrin wrote:...
Use or ignore these comments as you deem appropriate.
...
((Regarding - Tao))
The Worship of the Unending Pain - Sergio

This was an interesting read, but I didn’t buy into the premise. If a citizen of another country living on the island can be euthanized, why would this change if the clone was recreated? He would simply be in a cycle of clone-euthanize-reclone, etc. Maybe I missed something.

As with Jim’s story, I wonder if the opening sentence is needed. You mention the island in the second paragraph and could add a descriptive phrase there.

I looked up the treatments for ALS (medications, occupational, physical and speech therapy) and find it hard to believe the doctors can’t treat him at least at a minimal level.

“It didn’t take long before Frank was called in to the main hospital in the capital.” Earlier you wrote there was only one hospital on the island. Is this the same one? I’m confused.


I might catch up to Ente's story later, but these notes were enough for me to start a writer's discussion!
\0/

1. "Where to start, get to the point, etc."
Except joke stories, the 998 word limit will force the writer to get to the point in at most 800 words! I have a distaste for a too-aggressive 'attention grabbing' opening that then takes the entire story to unravel! Notice how often you said you were confused! In another comment you remarked it felt like a "disconnect" when it "happens too fast."

So thinketh I. *Because* this is Aphelion where all genres apply, one cannot use the "cheating shortcuts" of "assuming reality". As a mock faux example to make a point:

{{}}

The Hairy Man Shot Sally. Sally was his Mother.
Time Ended. Yesterday.
The Hairy Man put away his gun and turned to Chapter Two of "How to deal with Explosive People". He had shot a Mutant, the Scarlet NOVA, before she went off.

...

His VidPhone buzzed.
"Johnny, that southern temper of yours, did you have to shoot her?"
"We're South Side. She was from North Virginia. NOVA. You know, ever since then-President Trump seceded the South again, crime has picked up among the Undesirables."
"But she was only a Class Two Mutant on the Lensherr Scale."
"Adoption is a bitch."
"So that's how you met your Mother? You shot her?"
"She worked for the Atlanta Police as Chief. But I didn't shoot the deputy."
"Okay, look, we gotta talk this over. Northside got Delaware, that's where a lot of the Incorporation Articles for companies are."
"Yeah, but I didn't expect Spectrum to get rid of Time Magazine when they consolidated their Warner Group business."
"Northside didn't see that former Southern Baby Bell get Yahoo's ops business back in 2017 either."
The burly man named Johnny pounded his fist on the bar bench. "Gimme another Southern Comfort, Alex! Tonight is gonna be ridic in the streets. I shot the Sheriff. But I didn't know she was a NOVA."

{{{}}

So it's just street politics with a lot of slang from 2021. But at least it's Earth. In "this timeline". Without Airships. Or Aliens. Or Mars Landings. Yet.

I prefer a sort of Google Earth/Maps Zoom In to know roughly where you are, when you are, if it's the same when, and crucial story assumptions, because every story starts over from scratch, and it just gets exhausting to read 100 openers with a gun firing, attached to 100 different scenarios!

:shock:

2. Hospitals, and related setups
Smaller towns get to have "a simple hospital", but it can rapidly get out of hand! So you can have something like Island Hospitals Corporation with a main facility somewhere on the island, but then especially if islands have erratic infrastructure, grab any six room building, sterilize it into Steampunk Oblivion so it's nice and shiny (once!), jam two nurses, the Med Students of the Apocalypse, and Old Doc Allegheny who insists on practicing until he's 88 but can only work twelve hours a week, and Voila! You have a Branch of the hospital!

So someone with a long term condition, who just needs the med student to feed him, clothe him, and bathe him, and hope he doesn't die in his sleep, can do just fine there for a year until he worsens.

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Post March 11, 2018, 11:17:11 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

TaoPhoenix wrote:
jpharrin wrote:
1. "Where to start, get to the point, etc."


I’ve been interviewing editors and publishers for my Six Questions For. . . blog (https://sixquestionsfor.blogspot.com/) since 2012. Much or what I’ve learned about writing has come from these posts (as is the case with other writers who have commented on the value of the posts.) There are currently 655 posts on the site. Here are a few comments from short story magazine editors about openings.

“We just want to be engaged from the first sentence or line, and we want that engagement to carry through the entire piece.” — Rob Pockat and Signe Jorgenson, Stoneboat Literary Journal

“The first paragraph is key, grab my attention, with either the beauty of the words or the intrigue of the action, preferably both. Ignite my curiosity. Give me a sentence to swoon over. Pull me into your world.” — Philip Elliot, Into the Void Magazine

“Lately we've been seeing a lot of submissions that start three or four pages too late—there's lots of static world-building and description before the story really gets going.” — Beth Wodzinski, Shimmer Magazine

“I prefer information about characters to emerge naturally throughout a story, instead of getting a big information dump of description front-loaded at the beginning.” — Nathan Rosen, Microhorror

My comments about openings were suggestions based on my experience. I had a story rejected once because the editor thought the opening sentence was a cliche. :)
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Post March 12, 2018, 12:36:27 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Results

Who am I to decide I'm better than the pros!

But the one that gives me hope the note about "the beauty of the words" - that's closer to what I do. I agree, 3-4 pages too late is bad, but maybe a beautiful first paragraph...

I also need to be careful time hasn't marched on past me! I have no idea what the genre has been doing for the last decade!

:shock:

The second line is "info naturally". So part of what I was getting at might be in there too, "Bam Pow Someone died" doesn't feel natural either!

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Post March 12, 2018, 04:10:14 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

TaoPhoenix wrote:
Jim Statton wrote:I have a question about writing. How much description should be included in a flash fiction piece? Just a general over view to get the idea of what everything looks like or a more in depth visual of the physical and internal attributes of the characters.


To me, the answer is highly unclear and variable! (and in a story about math and physics, with highly unclear variables!)

Well contending stories have gone both ways. To me it's the subtle situation with the word count. Too much description and suddenly you're out of words for a coherent plot!

(Or, since my pun engine seems to be sputtering to life, graveyard plot!)

Somewhere before the next mammoth walks an ice age, I hope to submit some stories to the main 'zine under my regular name. The Flash word limit seems a but thin for my best ideas to spread out in. So I treat it as a realtime writer's notebook!

I suppose it can go both ways. A author must make a choice on the level of description they will use. It depends on what the writer wants from their story.

Ultimately, if you love what you write, that is what is most important for an amateur writer. I imagine one must think of the payer interests if the writer turns professional.
Last edited by Jim Statton on March 12, 2018, 04:20:10 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post March 12, 2018, 04:19:33 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

TaoPhoenix wrote:1. "Where to start, get to the point, etc."
Except joke stories, the 998 word limit will force the writer to get to the point in at most 800 words! I have a distaste for a too-aggressive 'attention grabbing' opening that then takes the entire story to unravel! Notice how often you said you were confused! In another comment you remarked it felt like a "disconnect" when it "happens too fast."

I'm beginning to realize that a writer must develop his writing to the way they think (to be true to themselves), because that is where their motivation is and their reason to work at writing.

All performers get comments and criticism and the writer has to be the final judge if they are hitting the mark, that is if they are writing for their own enjoyment or selling their manuscripts to publishers who share their interest in their writing style.

The technical side of writing is universal so following the rules of writing may not be something a writer can circumvent.
Last edited by Jim Statton on March 12, 2018, 04:57:42 AM, edited 2 times in total.

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Post March 12, 2018, 04:23:00 AM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Results

TaoPhoenix wrote:Who am I to decide I'm better than the pros!

But the one that gives me hope the note about "the beauty of the words" - that's closer to what I do. I agree, 3-4 pages too late is bad, but maybe a beautiful first paragraph...

I also need to be careful time hasn't marched on past me! I have no idea what the genre has been doing for the last decade!

:shock:

The second line is "info naturally". So part of what I was getting at might be in there too, "Bam Pow Someone died" doesn't feel natural either!

I've never written a piece that relies on the language alone. I'll have to think about that. Thanks for bringing up that point.
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Post March 12, 2018, 02:38:01 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Results

Comment on Jim Harrington's "Double Double": the "clones" in this story did not behave like biological organisms, which is what clones are. When tazed, the threatening double displays definite characteristics of an electromechanical duplicate: eyes, sizzling, wire popping out.

Moreso, killing one true biological clone would not affect the others in the room (who all "died."

This makes me think that Jim had a mistaken notion of the nature of clones, and assumed that android machines were included in the definition.

Hope this helps,

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Post March 12, 2018, 02:50:58 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Voting

jpharrin wrote:
TaoPhoenix wrote:
jpharrin wrote:
1. "Where to start, get to the point, etc."


I’ve been interviewing editors and publishers for my Six Questions For. . . blog (https://sixquestionsfor.blogspot.com/) since 2012. Much or what I’ve learned about writing has come from these posts (as is the case with other writers who have commented on the value of the posts.) There are currently 655 posts on the site. Here are a few comments from short story magazine editors about openings.

“We just want to be engaged from the first sentence or line, and we want that engagement to carry through the entire piece.” — Rob Pockat and Signe Jorgenson, Stoneboat Literary Journal

“The first paragraph is key, grab my attention, with either the beauty of the words or the intrigue of the action, preferably both. Ignite my curiosity. Give me a sentence to swoon over. Pull me into your world.” — Philip Elliot, Into the Void Magazine

“Lately we've been seeing a lot of submissions that start three or four pages too late—there's lots of static world-building and description before the story really gets going.” — Beth Wodzinski, Shimmer Magazine

“I prefer information about characters to emerge naturally throughout a story, instead of getting a big information dump of description front-loaded at the beginning.” — Nathan Rosen, Microhorror

My comments about openings were suggestions based on my experience. I had a story rejected once because the editor thought the opening sentence was a cliche. :)

They're talking about immersion, which is a completely valid point, as stressed so brutally here:

http://creativityhacker.ca/immerse-or-die/
_____________________________
Tao, on another hand, is talking about clarity in the introduction of the story setting, which is a particular bugaboo of his, though not to be diminished generally. Go through the IOD entries and you'll find stories that got kicked for neglecting to tell the reader where the action is taking place.
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Post March 12, 2018, 08:43:34 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Results

Jim Statton wrote:
TaoPhoenix wrote:
I've never written a piece that relies on the language alone. I'll have to think about that. Thanks for bringing up that point.


Not the whole piece, just the opener.

Some of my famous inspirations quoted elsewhere I now think had that in the style.

Damon Knight, Cordwainer Smith, and I think Arthur C. Clarke.

Something like you get a mental snapshot of what Larry Niven called a "Playground of the Mind" that you wanted to spend time in after the story proper was over.

I think very roughly that sense isn't there on a story with too aggressive of a "Bang the gun went off".

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Post March 12, 2018, 09:18:11 PM

Re: February 2018 Flash Fiction Contest - The Results

TaoPhoenix wrote:
Jim Statton wrote:
TaoPhoenix wrote:
I've never written a piece that relies on the language alone. I'll have to think about that. Thanks for bringing up that point.


Not the whole piece, just the opener.

Some of my famous inspirations quoted elsewhere I now think had that in the style.

Damon Knight, Cordwainer Smith, and I think Arthur C. Clarke.

Something like you get a mental snapshot of what Larry Niven called a "Playground of the Mind" that you wanted to spend time in after the story proper was over.

I think very roughly that sense isn't there on a story with too aggressive of a "Bang the gun went off".

I think for a change of pace, reclining back and reading a story that leans on language can be refreshing. I think of the novels, "Rebecca" and "Gone With the Wind". But of course, they had all of the other writing elements working on full boil.
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Post March 18, 2018, 12:19:51 AM

Double Double by Jim Harrington

Double Double
by Jim Harrington

“Let me see if I have this straight,” Alex said to his best friend Brad. “A gentleman came up to you last Monday afternoon on the street, shook your hand vigorously, and congratulated you for doing an excellent job on a task you’d never heard of.”

“That’s correct,” Brad replied sitting across the booth from his friend since high school, a plate of Huevos Rancheros cooling on a plate in front of him.

“And then two days ago a young brunette you’d never met before with, shall we say, well-developed breasts and a birthmark over her left eye came up from behind you at a party and rubbed the girls against you while whispering in your ear.”

“Yes.”

“And you found this distasteful how?” Alex said with raised eyebrows and a grin. “Never mind.” He bit into one of his beef tacos with extra jalapeños before continuing. “Perhaps your mental condition is such it makes it difficult for you to know truth from fiction.”

“But that’s what happened.”

“Bullfinches.” Alex swigged some beer and waved to the waitress for two more Dos Equis. “Then, yesterday, you saw this man who looks exactly like you.”

“Yes.” Brad shifted on his seat as the waitress arrived.

“Your twin?”

“Not that I know of.”

“Did he see you?” Alex asked

“I don’t believe so.”

“And you’ve never seen him before.”

“No.”

“You’re sure.”

“Dammit, yes, I’m sure. How many times do I have to say it?”

Alex leaned over the table in a conspiratorial fashion. “And now you think you must be a clone, or something similar.”

“What else could it be? We look alike, walk with the same gait, and wear identical clothing.” Brad sat up. “Maybe he and I are both clones, and I’ve yet to meet the real me.”

“Whoa,” Alex said. “That’s a stretch.”

“Maybe that’s what this is all about. Someone is stretching the rules.”

Before he could continue, Brad felt a presence enter the room. He turned. It was his double. Unlike the previous time, the man’s eyes were blood orange, anger covered his face like a mask, and his hands were outstretched as if he was about to strangle someone. Drool oozed from the corner of his mouth. When the man didn’t stop, Brad pulled a taser from his belt, set it on high, and fired. The man fell to the ground. A wire popped out where the beam broke the skin. His eyes sizzled. A dark green fluid flowed from his nose.

When Brad looked up, he saw another ten people on the floor, including their waitress. He turned back to Alex and saw he was down also. Brad knelt next to his friend and held his hand.

“We were supposed to all live on different planets,” Alex whispered. “Someone screwed up. It wasn’t your fault, man. Wasn’t your fault. It was. . .” Before he could finish, Alex shook as if stuck by lightning and stopped breathing.

Brad’s orders were to not tell anyone of his true identity. Not even his friends. He was glad now he hadn’t. His government agency learned of the clone invasion via an intercepted message, but had no way of knowing who were the real residents and who were the imposters. Now that a few secret identities had been exposed, the group could move forward with finding the source. The next step, though, was obvious—to identify one of the clones on a neighboring planet and kill it, causing the rest to die. Hopefully, this could be done before the clones’ creator figured out how to stop Brad’s plan from happening.

The End
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Post March 18, 2018, 12:23:18 AM

Defective Huh? by Jim Statton

Defective Huh?
by Jim Statton

The dawn of a new day. A damnable day. A dawning doublely damnably day.

And with it - a smile half-cocked. If misery loves company, my life is set. I think I've tapped into something here. Tap...tap...tap.

The sky lit up one Nebraska night. It would have been beautiful to see. However, I was in the basement of a research hospital in New York that night. White tile walls and floors with the smell of amonia permenating the air. My DNA was about to be sliced, mapped and resequenced for the creation of a new human species.

I felt like Adam and Eve all rolled up into one deliberately miserable person. I wish I was a little bit of Eve, cause I've never really had a girlfriend and I would have liked to have had a steady date.

"Will you stop that chattering, unit?" The man standing over the gurney that I was laying on thought he could talk down to me just because - he was wearing a white scientific looking coat. Stern looking man with a short beard. He looked rather unkempt for a scientist.

How dare him speak down to me like I couldn't have easily stolen a white coat from the supply room and told HIM off.

He yelled again. "I got this white coat when I earned a degree in genetic engineering so just keep your mumblings to yourself!"

He looked angry. Oh poo.

After thinking for a moment I said to myself, "Damn! Was I talking out loud? Could he hear my inner voice? Is my unending speaking irritating the..."

"Yes, please just shut up!" He was all mad and frowny faced again.

"Oops. Maybe I don't have a...(repeating the words again in a whisper)...maybe I don't have an inner voice."

Another scientist came into the room. He was tall and lanky with a dark receding hairline. He was an order giver. Oh, he thinks he's something, just because all his girlfriends were built from spare parts.

He pointed to me and told the first scientist, "We'll silence the clone's vocal processors while we replicate his genes. Maybe this time, his genetic material won't disintegrate so easily."

I said to the whitecoats, "Say what? I'm a what?"

Finally realizing the implications of what the scientists were saying about me, I got mad and yelled, "What are you motor fakers talkin' about?"

"Restrain him!" the second scientist said to the orderlies as they were entering the room. The two men got on each side of my table. The one on my left was trying to strap restraints across my chest and the other grabbed my right arm so the white coats could give me an injection.

I felt so helpless. No...I really didn't. I grabbed both men by the balls and squeezed real hard like I was making orange juice. They screamed.

"I bet you didn't know I would do that, did you? We clones may not be too smart, we just don't have anything to lose."

I jumped off the table, grabbed the syringe and began waving it around like a weapon.

A large, burly security man grabbed me as I was backing out of the room. I jabbed him in the thigh with the needle. That sucker began screaming in my ear. Damn that was loud.

I ran down the corridor toward an exit sign, running over patients in wheelchairs put-putin' along. Yeah, like I'm suppose to give them the right away.

I ran out the door and down the street and into a bar called The Clam Bake. I noticed the joint had wall to wall biker chicks who were looking me over pretty good. Then I noticed I was naked.

Of course, I thought to myself, genetic experiments go hand-in-hand with being naked, for the test subjects that is. Normally, this would be the premise for a bad dream, but I don't know...my prospects for female companionship looks pretty good about now.

The End
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Post March 18, 2018, 12:26:30 AM

Divide and Conquer by Robin B. Lipinski

Divide and Conquer
by Robin B. Lipinski

With the light came the blurs, the dust, the smells and sounds. With the light came movement; heat; life.

All around there was activity to show something was going on, it was happening, it was another day.

Mainly though, there was hunger. Such ravenous hunger and he ate till he could hardly eat anymore, and then after a short time span, he would eat again.

All around him, the others feasted also. So many eating and not just those of the same gender. She was ravenous also, and she ate till she could hardly eat anymore, and then after a short time span, she would eat again.

Music played in the background; sound of a beating heart. The mood was moist and warm. It was a beautiful orgy of consumption and crowd.

“Hey, just to let you know, I’m going to eat you…” he told her.

“No, I’m going to eat you,” she said in reply.

The results varied, he ate her, she ate him. The orgy of consumption was vivid and violent. The crowd grew. The sound of the beating heart becoming overwhelming to the point of being almost unbearable.

“Something is strange, can you feel it?” he asked his neighbor.

“Yes, I can feel it…”the reply came before he was consumed by her.

She said, “I feel it too. Very strange.”

“Yes, I feel it too,” another female voice stated just before she was devoured by him.

Surreal is a real name to describe what really cannot be described. The beating sound of the heart was now so loud no other sounds could be heard. The crowd so huge the numbers were uncountable. The moisture, heat, smells, taste; orgy of Life so huge, so vibrant, so surreal, it was indeed, real.

No longer could the individual voices of her or him be understood. It is here that only a narrator can fill in a mind reading this story which really cannot be understood if the reader was relying on logic or familiar data.

What you’ve been reading about is an experiment gone horribly wrong. A case of science starting a chain reaction that cannot be stopped. An, ‘end of the world’ scenario.

You see, it all began when a large bio-pharma company was finding new ways of engineering artificial intelligence. Of combining intellect with real life.

This company infused cells with sub DNA particle’s much smaller than the standard DNA humanity was familiar with. The result was a cell able to experience cognitive reasoning; voice; hearing; touch; all the familial abilities of so many other species.

They could replicate fast, so very fast. Each cell the same, each cell remembering, each cell hungry.

As for male/female sex… there was not any, nor was it needed. They were cells. The female cells had received their sub DNA from a female human lab assistant while the male cells came from the lead male scientists. Both types needed as to replace the computer zero and one, both needed for the mainframe of the new life form. Both needed to grow, multiply, consume, and take over the world.

Already they had consumed any creature in the lab possessing a beating heart and with the open door of the lab now leading to new feeding opportunities, the new Adam and Eve were poised to show this world a new perspective on Life.

The Beginning

The End
KNEEL before Zod!
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Post March 18, 2018, 12:28:05 AM

They Prey on the Hurts of Others By Megawatts

“When Timmy died . . . I was devastated. How I loved him. I loved him as much as you,” Monica said, Timmy and Daniel mother.

“Why didn’t you tell me,” Daniel said.

“It was so long ago . . . then you came along and my mind settled on you. You were such a nice and loving baby, everything that your dad and me ever hoped for,” Monica said.

Daniel got up and tossed the box of pictures and certificates across the room. He looked at his mom for a moment then turned and walked toward the door. At the door he stopped. He turned and looked at his mom again, grit his teeth which twisted his face into a semi-snarl with eyes piercing so deep into her soul, that they appeared as laser beams locking onto a military target.

He said nothing for a moment.

“You’ll never and I mean never see the baby again! How could you!” Daniel said. Sweat beads formed on his forehead as his eyes continued to drill into hers.

Out he stormed with his mother pleading with him to come back. She begged and begged.

He fired up his Harley, clunked it in gear and sped down the driveway and out onto Shady Lane. He revved up the engine which caused a neighbor to yell, “Slow down!” Dan ignored the order and sped down the two blocks to Sunrise Boulevard. At the stop sign he made a right.

With the air streaming through his hair and the feel of the Harley answering his commands, his mind flashed back to images and the hospital that treated him once for a hereditary disorder.

Gene Disorganizing Syndrome. What a joke. His wife Cindy a registered nurse couldn’t find anything out about that disorder.

About two miles down the boulevard, Dan pulled over and parked in front of ‘Advance Medical and Diagnostic Center,’ a hospital that was closed to most patients. The hospital had no emergency room, and no outpatient or any community services, yet the parking lots were full everyday. For years his mother took him there. He finally rebelled at eighteen and refused to go. That caused many phone calls to his home and some visits by doctors. Dan wouldn’t talk to them; he had enough of the bullshit—especially the needles and the never-ending tests they always wanted. No more!

Now at twenty-two he was married—against his mother’s wishes and especially the wishes of doctors from the medical center according to what his mother said. He didn’t believe his parents anymore nor did he trust anyone from that center.

Dan got himself checked out at the Cleveland Clinic in which they preformed extensive tests to see if this Gene Disorganizing Syndrome had any merit. It didn’t! No such syndrome existed in any medical journals anywhere in the world.

A swarm of picketers were outside the hospital and chanting, “We have a right to know!” Dan sped past them and gave them a thumbs up. How could anybody know. And the people that should be trusted lied. His parents.

Once at home, Cindy hugged Dan and wouldn’t let go for a long time.

“Honey, I love you . . . you’re the best thing that ever happened to me. If something would ever happen to you . . . .” Cindy said.

Dan glared at his wife but his eyes changed into a loving look that only a wife and husband know. He didn’t know what to say, yet his feelings for his parent mixed themselves like an eddy seen at coastal waters cascading around rocks. His hatred for his parents started to wane, and he knew feelings often drove loved ones to act out of desperation.

“Honey, I don’t know what I’d do if we lost little Nicky. I . . . don’t know. Maybe I’d want . . . I don’t know Honey I just don’t know------“ Cindy said.

Little Nicky ran over to his father with a Star Troop Attack Ship and buzzed his dad.

“Vooom, Vooom , Vooom,” came out of little Nicky as he buzzed his father.

Little Nicky ran back toward the family dog, Rambo. Rambo immediately ran behind the sofa upon Nicky’s approach and snuggled himself well in. He decided to wait out the siege there.

Cindy picked up Nicky and hugged him. Nicky still had the Starship and continued to make Vooom sounds as his mom hugged and hugged him.

“I just don’t know, Honey,” Cindy said.

“I’ll be on the noon news,” Dan said.

Dan turned on the TV and sure enough what the newspaper article said this morning, the local TV now had a full report on it live from in front of Advance Medical and Diagnostic Center.

The news reporter outside the facility said: “We have further information that this is a research facility disguised as a private hospital that was supposed to select patients with very rare disorders. That was an elaborate cover story–one that worked for years. If it wasn’t for Dr. Ocolan the whistle blower, we might never have known that this facility has been illegally cloning humans for twenty-five years. They approach young couples that have lost an infant or young child from an accident and while the body is still fresh . . . .”

“Oh-my-God,” Cindy said.

Dan picked up some pictures of his parents and him that he got out this morning: The pictures were when he was a kid. “My older brother looked like me so much. Now I know why. They said he got killed by a drunk driver when he was four. I know that is true. But this . . . .”

“Honey, if anything happened to Nicky would we . . . ,” Cindy started to say.

Dan’s forehead crumpled into a frown and his eyes narrowed.

“I’ll have to calm down before I talk to my parents. Honey I want you and the baby to come along.

I just don’t know about things now. I just . . . .”

The End
KNEEL before Zod!
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Post March 18, 2018, 12:36:25 AM

The Worship of the Unending Pain by Sergio Palumbo

Everything seemed pleasant on the sunny island, but nothing was really as it appeared.

Since the moment Frank Brett, a middle-aged dark-haired man, had started feeling pain in his arms and legs, he had been afraid that something might be very wrong, but his worries had only become real when the doctors at the only hospital on the island told him the cause: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.

There was no treatment on this island for the illness, no way to become healthy again. The illness he was affected by was always deadly…it was just a matter of time.

What was even worse was that, in this country, the citizens weren’t allowed to travel abroad to seek treatment. A person could try to escape but it was nearly impossible given the distances involved in traversing the Pacific Ocean. And you couldn’t board an airplane or a boat without the proper authorization from the local government.

That brought him to another problem: euthanasia was not allowed on the island. It had never been approved of by the authorities. The fact that the ruling (though never voted) political party was called The Worship of the Unending Pain told you everything about their views on the subject. According to the religious beliefs of the government, a citizen had to live according to the will of the Great Giver of Joys and Pains, who didn’t allow anyone to stray from their predestined path. This also meant that, if you were rich and fortunate, your life might be as pleasant as anyone could hope for. On the other hand, if some illness affected you, well, you just had to accept your sad destiny and that burden until you drew your last breath, with no way to end your suffering.

As there was no way to get permission to be euthanatized, Frank knew his only choice left was to live until he died a slow, painful death. It would take months of pain…

Then, one day, in a desperate act of rebellion, he decided to try something dangerous. He steeled himself and approached one of the few tourists who visited the small island. Luckily he was wealthy and was able to ask for assistance by giving the visitor a small fortune. It was only by good luck that the tourist didn’t report him immediately to the government. The tourist safely made it off the island with all the money he had been given in secret and with the genetic data of his Frank had provided.

Many long weeks went by and the man thought that his desperate attempt had been unfruitful. Then, one day, using a secret way of communicating, he got a reply from that same tourist - but what he read left him speechless.

It didn’t take long before Frank was called in to the main hospital in the capital. He was surprised to find a high-ranking officer of the Worship already in his room. The man was immediately ordered to sit down.

“Mr. Frank Brett, you have been diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which is a deadly and painful illness. Do you know why we called you here today?” the officer asked him.

“Yes, possibly. I think this meeting must be connected to what I recently discovered…” he replied.

“And what is that?” the other insisted, in a low tone.

“That I am just a clone. The clone of a dead man.”

“Yes, that is true. And what else did you learn?”

“I discovered that my other self, the man I was before dying and before being reborn as a clone here, was born and lived in a country where the Worship of the Unending Pain doesn’t rule. He was affected by ALS like me but he was allowed to undergo euthanasia finally.” Frank lowered his eyes.

“So, what happened when that man, the one you are a clone of, died?” the officer inquired.

“The genetic materials from his corpse were harvested, brought to this island in secrecy where the Worship used the DNA to clone me, and so I was born.”

“Do you know why our government did this?” the other continued.

“I believe so. The Great Giver of Joys and Pains can’t accept it when people choose to put an end to their life, even if they are in pain with no hope left - because this is not in accordance with the principles of this government.”

“Precisely. The Worship itself can’t prevent people in other countries from putting an end to their life legally, and it can’t fight against such powerful lands. All we can do is to take the genetic materials from the corpses of people who were euthanized and make them be born again on this independent and secluded island. Of course, all the clones are born with the same illness as their originals! You see: we can’t allow anyone to escape the destiny that was meant for them! If they died through euthanasia in their native country, they are reborn here to suffer until the end of their days, as our principles dictate.”

“Are you saying that I’m notthe only clone on this island? That there are others?” Frank looked shocked.

“Of course there are. All the other citizens on this island are clones except for the members of the Worship itself. They are clones of dead people, people who tried to escape their illness. This is why we force them to be born again and undergo the dutiful, painful path they were meant to experience.”

Frank looked at the man who was mercilessly sneering now, and the only thought that came to his mind was the saying, ‘A trouble shared is a trouble halved.’ Then he lowered his eyes another time, really saddened. He doubted that sharing this woe would be of any comfort to him when the long nights of suffering came.

And the end would require more time to happen, with the pain getting worse and worse each day, unfortunately…

The End
KNEEL before Zod!
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