FLASH FICTION INDEX 2: Dec. 2011 - May 2017


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

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Post May 01, 2016, 09:47:47 AM

The Museum Earth Challenge

The Last Flicker of the Sun

By:
The Dark Angel



I dreamt of returning to this place and even though I'm standing where it happened, it is a wistful remembrance, enveloping me in the human emotion of guilt. I can never shake it. This cold barren rock is a fitting analogy of my heart.

Melvian, the planet's curator that I built after the disaster, has been slipping in and out of sub space as visitors arrive to stand in the ruins of a once great people. I turned him off. I began drafting its schematics a few days before Wesley was murdered.

I am pensive as I stand feeling the melancholy wash over me. Three hundred years has not chased it away.

I remember standing...

...terrified...

(crying)...I still am.

*
"Welcome dignitaries, scientist and honored guest to the Space Telescopic Science Institute, who is hosting this demonstration provided by Tachyon Communication Industries, the leader in wormhole digital transference technology. My name is Dr. Daniel Sorenson, a professor of planetary science at the Global Space Institute of Technology."

I began to drift in thought, 'he was just too damn handsome to be a scientist. His chiseled frame, his dark blue eyes, I could get lost in there'. Oh.

"What we are going to observe on the planetary viewer, is the opening of a miniature wormhole, no larger in diameter than a dime. This will be performed by a team of engineers from Brussels. We have a video conference set up with them from here in California.

This will be the closest wormhole ever artificially created near the Sun. This wormhole will be used for communication and digital downloads virtually at the speed of light. Tachyons can easily zip out of its super compressed form with its maximum speed limit unchanged." Daniel spoke with ease to the audience.. He turned and gave me a glance.

"Angelina," Daniel spoke to me, while I was day dreaming. "Angelina..." he spoke again and I snapped out of it.

"Yes, I have the trajectory calculations Dr. Sorenson," I said this as my eyes wandered...aimlessly...checking him out. 'Don’t look at him there, don't look at him there, don't look at him...oh, I've gone and done it. Damn, I'm doing it again. Did he see me do that?

Embarrassed over my roving gaze, I inputted the calculations and sent the trajectory coordinates to the scientists in Brussels.

Moments later, we saw a swirling movement of particles enlarged on the screen to the sounds of surprise and amazement from the eyewitnesses to this breakthrough event.

Suddenly, the wormhole began to expand, faster than we could react. Space debris began to be pulled into the wormhole at an alarming speed.

"What is happening?” Dr. Sorenson shouted to the lead scientist in Brussels, utilizing a split screen on the viewer.

"The trajectory calculations you sent us were off!" Dr. Bellman, the authority in interstellar phenomenon shouted. "The miniature wormhole is being expanded at an expediential rate. The other end has opened up into a Quasi-stellar black hole in the center of the galaxy."

"What can we do to close this end of the wormhole?" Dr. Sorenson asked anxiously.

Dr. Bellman spoke, "It appears this wormhole has opened up inside a black hole with a gravitational pull 20,000 times stronger than the sun."

Physicist Dr. Gordon Arterton of the European Space Agency interrupted the two-way conversation stating that the gravitational pull of the super massive black hole is one million times more massive than the Sun.

As they spoke, the sun began to be pulled into the event horizon at a point too close to be saved.

Everyone watched as the sun tore apart, its matter ripping into fragments, bleeding towards the wormhole, which acted as a funnel for the massive black hole on the other side of the opening. The fusion within the sun created coronal mass ejections producing shock waves, sending gigantic solar flares towards the Earth, annihilating thousands of miles including people, animals and plant life.

I watch...too scared to realize what I had done.

In seconds, the sun was gone.

*

It took eight and a half minutes before the sun's final light in transit reached the Earth and then the sun just flickered out.

The humans put up a valiant fight for survival, building dome communities using geothermal heat for energy.

Photosynthesis halted immediately. Most plants died in a few weeks. Large trees, survived for several decades, thanks to slow metabolism and substantial sugar stores. But without sunlight, the oxygen generated by plant life ceased.

With the food chain's bottom tier knocked out, most animals died quickly, except for scavengers, which picked over the dead remains until the cold killed them.

Within one day, the average global surface temperature dropped below 0°F. In a week, it was –100°F.

The top layers of the ocean surfaces froze over, but the ice insulated the deep water below and prevented the oceans from freezing solid. The Earth became a mother ship for the creatures of the deep, but after 50 years, they too died.

Without the gravitational pull from the sun, Earth could no longer remain in its orbit and sailed off in a straight line into space. Free from the sun’s gravity, the Earth continued traveling at the same speed, approximately 18 miles per second into that eternal night.

The Earth's gravity kept everything on the planet grounded. All that remained were buildings and discarded possessions. Many other life forms came to view what humans held dear - appliances, toothbrushes, televisions, and computers - technology that made life easier...or did it? Was it the drive for newer technology that caused mankind's downfall? Did humans have to know everything?

Daniel never knew I was an alien in the form of a human woman. (crying) I would have told him.


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Post May 01, 2016, 10:02:01 AM

The Museum Earth Challenge

Consensus Reality

By:
Eddie Sullivan



Melvian was worn out, his tentacles were killing him. Shuttling sentient beings back and forth through the museum all day really took it out of the Rigilian. If he had to do another twenty years of this his spolak would give out long before he retired. He locked the front door and started back to his office by way of the gift shop. Trilia was there and she beckoned him over to the counter.

“I have on dish of real Terran fudge ripple left. It is yours if you want it.”

“I would rather have a Snorlak fizz.”

She grinned with her lower mouth, mandibles in the up position. He was aroused by this. It would make sense to mount her and spray her with his glokenshaz so she could replicate. It had been such a long day though, maybe tomorrow.

“A bit early to be hitting the Snorlak, isn’t it? Just have a Rum and Coke or two. That way you can pilot yourself home.”

Her concern for his well-being was attractive enough to make his glokenshaz twist and throb. He needed to say good bye or else he would get caught up in a replication session that would just leave him more tired. It would also lead to something that Trilia had gleaned onto from an old Terran archive called “cuddling”. That would be a nightmare. The thought of her inside him licking his cerebellum was uncomfortable.

“Well, I need to go. Things to check on don’t you know. Have you seen Wesley?”

The android Wesley was made to resemble a real Terran male from three hundred years ago. The data running his personality matrix was downloaded from the private diaries of one of old Earth’s greatest and most beloved celebrities. He was a heroic astronaut who had given his life to save their primitive orbiting space station. The true shame was he had died just before the Tremulon Empire made first contact. Many believed he would have known better than the ridiculous Earth ambassador who had greeted the Tremulon advance representative by tightly grasping his rectal tubes and shaking vigorously. The war that had come from that had all but wiped out their civilization. Many believed that it was an accident. The Terran Holocaust Museum was here to remind them that new civilizations must be embraced by the Galactic Commune carefully. A misunderstanding could again lead to disaster.

Melvian was the expert, the Terrans logic came naturally to him. He could explain why they used popsicles to soothe the ailment known as hemorrhoids. The intricate military applications of the deadly smart phone were obvious to him. Earth’s biographical series of their last president, “Jersey Shore” was his favorite selection on the historical channel. The curator felt a personal duty to be as in tune with humans as possible. Unfortunately no matter what strides he made toward compassionate synergy with the culture of old Earth one glaring shortcoming was insurmountable. Every night he felt the overwhelming urge to kill Wesley.

And kill Wesley he did, night after night. Shooting, strangling, and burning him were the ways that he ended him most nights. Variety came in the form of decapitations or small explosions. It vexed Melvian so much that his failure was so large. He understood every aspect of the lost civilization’s culture so well, even their religious instructional documentaries , their sacred “hardcore pornography”. Why could he not love Wesley like all the others that passed through these sacred halls.

The android came into view with his mop and bucket. He insisted on ritually purifying every surface each night with water compulsively. Tonight he would electrocute Wesley while he mopped the floor. Ultimately it did no harm. The bodies went into the simulator and were used for materials so there was no waste. The personality back up was downloaded wirelessly precisely at closing time so the android never recalled he had been destroyed. It was a wonderful loop hole which allowed Melvian this extravagantly anti-social behavior sans consequences.

As he got closer to Wesley he heard the labored humming, wheezing breathing the bot imitated. Apparently the real Wesley had been blessed with a condition known as asthma which was a sign of intelligence and virility to humans. The sound of it grated on each and every nerve in Melvian’s futowx. It was a miracle to him that he could wait till the end of the day each time to end this vile pile of Nurgud dung. He felt bad about thinking that way though, guilty of near blasphemy against the most beloved figure in the galaxy.

The power cord that had been surreptitiously stripped at a strategic spotted in the middle lay across the display of tabasco sauce, a unguent that Earth mystics used to rub in their eyes to give themselves visions. He trundled by Wesley with a nod. He heard the front door click closed as Trilia left for the night.

“Hey Mr. Melvian! Whatcha doing? Can I help ya? I would do anything for a friend you know!”

Melvian turned to him so they were face to snokel.

“Why yes Wesley! Could you please go grab that cord and put it away?”

The android promptly sauntered over with a cheery spring in his step. It was then that Melvian tipped the bucket of water that he left on the floor between them. The momentum of the spill sent the water toward Wesley. A moment later there was a flash as the current flowed through the water into Wesley. Melvian watched as Wesley convulsed and burned from the inside out. It brought tears to his eyes. He felt shame, but he also felt an overwhelming sense of right. Something deep inside him, some symbiotic Terran consciousness told him that Wesley was an abomination. Despite all he knew about their history and that Wesley was their most treasured member, he knew better. Wesley must continue to die. He was a monster. Melvian hated him.


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Post May 01, 2016, 10:03:41 AM

The Museum Earth Challenge

All We Can Do...

By:
Sergio Palumbo



Opening hours at Museum Earth were daily from 9:00 to 18:00, and the planet was easy to get to if you happened to visit the old-fashioned Solar System. Obviously the surface itself had been completely changed since when it had been a habitable world where an alien species known as Humans once resided - along with many varied colorful animals.

When you reached that, there were many choices you could make, depending upon your preferences. For example, the diverse cultural life of Africa was revealed through everyday objects and works of art since the most ancient times. The Museum’s collection of over 500,000 African items included archaeological materials from across the entire continent. So it was best to have a good look at them if you wanted to form a clear opinion about how human life had been lived through the centuries in the many countries that once were present on this continent.

Another choice were the specific regional cultures that had spread through South America, before and after contact with European travelers during the sixteenth century.

The Asia exhibit was also a must-see, whose strong regional differences had long been connected through trade, commerce and shared religious systems. In addition to increasing variations in language, the holo-depliants said that Asia had developed localized cultural networks, patterns of government, technology and styles of artistic representation that were indeed noteworthy.

All these artifacts looked incredible, given the primitive species they came from, or so thought the pale-skinned bipedal curator named Melvian. He eyed the few tourists who were presently watching some pictures on the wall of a house that had long been abandoned, certainly since his own species the Gennd-le had first arrived. They were now in charge of overseeing the entire planet.

At a certain point, one of the robed group of twelve-legged, greenish-faced aliens called Spzyle, who had come to spend an entire week on this lost world, moved away from the others and addressed the massive head of the curator himself. He was probably a male, though Melvian really couldn’t tell.

“May I ask you a question, sir?” the other asked the curator, while staring at his pronounced brown facial features.

“Of course. I’m always happy to be of help.”

So the Spzyle tourist said, “I’ve heard that this planet had about eight billion intelligent inhabitants when it all happened, and billions of other animal species…Is that true?”

“Yes, indeed!” the curator smiled and replied in a mild tone. “You’re certainly right.”

“And, the time when it happened, I mean, the disappearance of the yellow sun of this system…wasn’t that just 300 years ago?”

“Yes, this is true as well,” the Gennd-le nodded.

“Could you enlighten me about the process the planet underwent when your spaceships came? The way all of this was preserved…”

“Of course. The way our high technicians work is very simple: at first they create an alternate source of power and heat to balance out the lack of energy coming from the sun that has disappeared. Then they simply spread it out in order to make the surface maintain the necessary climate. Then they expand their operations to leave every single living being - plants, animals and humans - stuck in the same place they were in when the process started. That way they can maintain the color, appearance and vividness the subjects had before they all were immobilized leaving them suspended exactly as if they still were alive. Though, they are not, obviously. There’s no better way of protecting the image of this planet and its many species as they looked when we arrived. Just like an old-fashioned holo-picture!”

“I see…” the tourist said. “I imagine there is no other way. This was a planet so beautiful in its glorious days of life, at least from the holo-videos we’ve seen!” the guest pointed out.

“Yes, correct… All the members of our species can do is preserve what we find, as we branch out into space…” Melvian said in a low tone.

“What’s next?” the Spzyle starkly inquired of the imposing curator.

“I’ve been told that our industries are planning on acquiring systems in the Gray Sector, where they’ll reach another yellow star called Virginis 61. Once there, our energy ships will feed on that sun, transferring all its energy into the great hypocells of our spaceships. At that point, the stored energy will be brought to our system where it will be used as an energy supply for our civilization to grow better back on Mother Planet. In the meantime, the appointed historians sent there will do their best to preserve the main – and the only habitable - world in that Sector, not too differently from what they did for Earth three centuries ago, along with other space systems we’ve absorbed. It’s a good way to keep the memory of an alien world fresh even after that life has been forced out of it once and for all, due to the destruction of its sun and the planet’s climate and overall conditions.”

“So, this is how your species keeps upgrading…”

“Suns are valuable and we need them in order to sustain our people and our space exploration. But we are always eager to preserve as much of the planets as we can, so that at least a memory of those primitive aliens will always be at the disposal of our historians, and of other alien tourists like you, my dear. Just like some mummified bodies.”

“Thanks for all you do in the interest of history!” the other exclaimed.

You’re welcome!” the curator uttered in a pleased tone.

“Now, I must go. There are so many other continents to visit, and only a few free days left before going back to work.”

“Yes, indeed! But please, take your time, as none of these primitive creatures are going anywhere. Not anymore…” the Gennd-le administrator conceded, with a peculiar sneer on his merry face.


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Post May 01, 2016, 10:05:38 AM

The Museum Earth Challenge

- Winner -


Heist

By:
N.J. Kailhofer



The tumbling sound of Jenga blocks across the large room surprised the thief. His best eye darted around to look at a frustrated Nibo female at the demonstrator station. He could see that under her thin, lime-green tunic, her ample frontal glands were enlarged, perhaps from her failure to stack the blocks. She had long legs, and that suited him fine. He had a thing for bipeds.

He brushed off his museum nametag and slid over. "Having trouble?"

Her fair skin blushed, a trait he found delightful. "A little. It says even Earth children could master this test. How could a child have done this?"

"Ah," he realized, smelling the tantalizing scent of Jaklo perfume on her. "Humans had an extra joint just before their hands called a wrist, making them extremely dexterous for a vertebrate species. They had another one in the middle of their legs, called a knee."

She boggled. "Amazing. They must have looked ridiculous when they walked."

He gave his most charming smile. "I know, right?" He flourished a tentacle in greeting. "I'm Rinn."

She shook his appendage and smiled shyly back. "I saw your nametag. I'm Kira."

"So very pleased to make your acquaintance, Kira." He secreted a powerful batch of pheromones in her direction. "May I help direct you to a less... frustrating section of our lovely museum? We have scores of Earthly delights and devices throughout the structure to amaze even the skeptical of critics, let alone a sophisticated beauty like yourself."

Kira blushed again. The sight of it made him quiver. "Come now," he prodded, "what would most captivate you