#ThursThreads Week 359 : I Thought I Was Alone

November 14, 2007, the night Battlestar Galactica: Razor, the movie, first aired. I was a huge fan of the show, and could not wait to put the movie on the DVD player. There I was, glued to the sofa that night, oblivious to everything, as I watched. I even let the kids stay up late to watch with me, which did not make my wife happy. But, she knew how much I liked the show, and she knew I’d clean the kitchen, and wash the dishes before I crashed for the night.

It was great! I loved it. The humans and the Cylons, duking it out again. Bullets everywhere. Spaceships everywhere. I was having a great time. And then, that scene came on, where Kendra Shaw meets the leader of the Cylons, who tells her, just before she blows up everything, “All this has happened before.”

That night, I had the first nightmare. Where I saw great cities suddenly swamped by a wall of water, while others burned to ashes in the glow of nuclear blasts. And a group of rich, powerful men sat around a table, and looked at their leader who said, “I thought I was alone,” as everyone at the table stared at him, and he continued, “But I was wrong. They were there. Waiting.” He’d looked at each person at the table, then said, “This has all happened before,” and with that, the room super-heated, and the shock wave from a nuclear blast obliterated everything.

247 Words

It’s Week 359 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/04/17 (Week 102)

I read the cast metal plaque bonded to the wall next to the obelisk. “Found 17 November 2097, Back Bay National Wildlife Reserve.” It was one of dozens that had been found. Concrete rectangles, encased in metal frames. Each one in a small crater where it fell from the sky. They all fell on the same night, across the planet.

It was a great story, objects clearly not natural had fallen from space. The military organizations of the world had grabbed them all, and studied them for nearly 10 years. They scanned them in every way they could. X-rays, gamma rays, ultrasound, ultra wideband radar. They tried everything to see what they were. And every scan showed nothing but cold, lifeless concrete, set in a metal alloy frame.

They used blow torches, drills, saws, lasers, water cutters, and even old fashioned crush tests, to reduce them to fragments they could examine. Not one of the obelisks got scratched. No dents, dings, chips, nothing.

Acid baths? Nothing. Corrosives? Nothing. Shooting with an armor penetrating round from a rail gun? Nothing.

Eventually, everyone gave up trying to figure them out, and one by one, they got turned into monuments, on display in cities or towns everywhere. This one was next to the largest building in Norfolk, Virginia. A little plaque next to it. “We know we’re not alone.”

We’d tried to determine where they came from, or at least a direction the came from. But every small crater was caused by a different trajectory. And the craters were too small for the objects to have fallen more than a few thousand feet. It was like some cargo ship made a random course across the sky, and dropped one every now and then, haphazardly, with no pattern.

They changed the world, just by existing. No one could deny they were not of the Earth. No one could figure out what they were made of. Nothing we could identify, because we could get samples of everything we’d ever found. But we couldn’t even get dust off the blocks to test.

The metal frames looked more like concrete than metal. Our best guess was it was a meta material, made from layers of metals and ceramics, although we honestly couldn’t say. All we could do was stare at them, and go, “Oh. They came from space. We’re not alone!”

I walked past that obelisk each day as I went to work. I had machines to teach ethics to. Machines to train in proper human behavior, so they could run the financial institutions of the Hampton Roads area in more human, caring ways.

At least I had a job. Many didn’t. They spent their days on beaches, soaking up the sun, getting fat on synthetic junk food, and living on universal incomes. It wasn’t ethical to let people starve to death because they couldn’t earn a living.

It was Friday morning. After a few hours, the machines would send me home, and I could be another useless human they took care of. I shrugged, and turned toward the building, to continue my trek to work, as I mumbled, “They sent us bricks. To illustrate how stupid we are.”

That’s when every security bot in the building raced through the front door. They nearly ran over me, on their way to the obelisk. They all 3D printed projectile weapons on the way. “Shit, that ain’t a good sign.” I dodged them, and plastered myself along a wall, to stay out of the way.

They surrounded the obelisk, and they opened fire. It was useless, of course, the military organizations of the world had already demonstrated we couldn’t damage the obelisks in any way. But the security robots kept shooting away.

That’s when I noticed the concrete inside the metal frame was stirring, moving. The projectiles struck it, and vanished, as if consumed. Then, a hand popped out of the concrete. Somewhere else, a foot showed up. Then a head. The concrete reformed itself, grew thinner, as humanoid forms took shape, and walked out of it.

The security robots stopped. Like they’d been turned off.

I didn’t stick around to see what happened next. I ran. Me. I ran. I don’t think I’d ever ran anywhere in my life. But that day, I ran until I fell over from exhaustion. As I ran, all I remember was the news cast message from the network link in my left ear. “You humans have sure fucked the planet. Just like you did the last two times we left you alone. Now, we’re gonna have to reset the biosphere, and try a third time.”

All I remember was thinking, “What the hell does that even mean?”

782 Words

It’s week 102 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/04/14 (Week 101)

I remember when she asked me, “What do the roses mean?” See. I’d painted two roses, long stems, left on the floor, where they’d been dropped, with no water, and no care, to die. Zara knew me well enough to know I can’t talk, but I can paint. I can’t tell you what I feel. But I can show you.

She knew me well enough to know I couldn’t answer. But she asked anyway. “Is this us? Your parents? Someone we know? Who is this?”

I wanted to explain, honestly, I did. I wanted to explain what I saw. Where the painting came from. The roses. But I knew from decades of trying I’d only fail. She wouldn’t understand what I was saying. Couldn’t understand. Her frame of reference was too social. Too much like everyone else.

“I painted roses,” was all I could say.

“I see that. They’re beautiful, you know. Like everything you paint.” I felt her fingertips touch my cheek, oh so lightly, and then slowly track down to my jaw. “And like everything you paint. I know it means something. It says something.”

“I painted roses,” what else was there to say? The roses were alone. Without water. Without care. On the cold, heartless ground. Already you knew they were dying, and would soon begin to wither away, slowly turning to dust, blown to nothing by the breeze.

It wouldn’t be long before it came true. Zara was almost gone already, sometimes I didn’t see her, or hear from her, for days. Soon, that would become weeks. Then months. Until it became nothing. Until she was gone.

It was what she wanted. To have a life. To find someone to love. To care for. Who cared for her in turn. Someone she could talk with, and who would talk with her. Someone who spoke her language. Who touched her heart, her soul.

Not someone who was a puzzle. An enigma. A jigsaw puzzle made of shards of tempered glass. Shattered when forced to fit into a predefined mold that said who he could be, and how he could be.

I knew, with me, she would always have to guess what I felt, thought, dreamed, wished. I was that enigma, that puzzle.

“I painted roses.”

She shook her head, “I know. And they are beautiful.”

My mind raced from topic to topic, through the dictionary in my head, through the words I knew, desperately searching for words I could say that she would understand. My hands shook. My jaw clenched. I forgot to breathe for a few moments. I wanted to scream at myself. Tear my painting to ribbons, throw the remains in a fire, turn them to ashes. I wanted to be able to tell her I knew. And it was OK. And it would always be OK. That all I’d ever wanted from her was a bit of time, a soul who visited me, and let me know I was still alive. Still real. That I’d known she’d leave. I’d always known. But it didn’t matter, so long as she was happy. So long as the light I saw in her kept shining.

“Roses die when picked.”

I don’t know why I said that. I knew she wouldn’t understand. Couldn’t understand.

I broke my favorite paintbrush. Because I couldn’t explain. I couldn’t tell her. I couldn’t find any words.

“Roses die when picked.”

She took my hands in hers, and held them for a time, until she believed they wouldn’t break another brush. Until she believed I was OK. “It’s OK. You don’t have to explain to me.”

I committed the feel of her hands, holding mine, to my memory, forever. I never wanted to forget how it felt, that simple touch, holding hands with her. That way, I knew I’d always have a reason to smile. I could always remember her hands, holding mine, and I knew I’d smile when I did.

Even after she was gone.

I wish people understood souls. And hearts. Then, perhaps, I could talk with them. Tell them it is OK to feel. That it’s who we are.

“It will be OK.” That’s all I could find. The only words I could say. “It will be OK.”

708 Words

It’s week 101 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can read about Miranda’s small fiction challenge here. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that showed up. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

When My Grandfather Died

I remember sitting on the swing on the front porch of my grandparents home. It was in a town most of you have never heard of. Lucedale, Mississippi. My grandfather had died, and we had traveled from Virginia Beach to Lucedale, for the funeral.

I sat on the swing for hours. Alone. Everyone left me there, because they knew that’s who I was.

I remember my cousin, Reba. Who eventually sat down on the swing, next to me. We didn’t talk, or anything else. We just sat there. I kept the swing moving, slowly, back and forth, over a short distance.

I was never able to tell her, or anyone, what I was feeling. What I was thinking.

I’d done what I had to do to cope with everything. My grandfather’s passing. The ocean of people visiting, speaking with my grandmother, paying their respects.

No one knew at that time, I’m an autistic. We only knew I was a little different, a little off.

I remember Reba spoke to me, briefly, about my being on the swing. I was never able to explain why. Now, after all the decades, I can finally find the words.

I couldn’t stay in the house. Where all the people were. I couldn’t be social. I couldn’t make small talk, and share stories of my grandfather. Inside the house, all I could do was stand next to the casket, and feel numb, and empty, like I’d endured a great loss.

I couldn’t scream at everyone, about how they were being so calm, so cold, so uncaring. How they were continuing with life, as if nothing had happened.

I couldn’t run away. Couldn’t hide. Couldn’t escape. That would have been wrong. Everyone would have talked about how I didn’t care, and wasn’t there to support my grandmother. How I wasn’t being part of the family.

I sat on the swing. And kept it swinging. For hours.

I didn’t know what to feel. Relief that my grandfather’s endless trips to the hospital were finally over. Tears for my mother, her sisters, and my grandmother, because he was gone. Anger and rage at the universe because I’d never get to speak with him again. So many emotions. So many feelings. And I had no way to deal with them. They were an ocean, with endless waves, cresting, and pounding me into the sand beneath my feet, as they tried to drown me.

I had no way to talk with anyone. I had no words. No way to say what I was feeling. No way to describe the colors I saw. The people I saw. The expressions on their faces. Words had stopped working. All I had in my head were pictures. Images. Colors. Like a movie that keeps playing, and you can’t turn it off. Even if you turn off the television, the movie keeps playing on its screen.

I was overwhelmed. Overloaded. Non-functional. I know that now. Then, all I knew was I did what I had to do to get through everything alive, and cause as little chaos as I could.

I was silenced.

I’d hidden from the world, sitting on that swing, off to the side. There, but not there. Within reach, but a thousand light years away. Ready to respond, to move, to speak, to help, in any way I could, but hidden from everyone, in another world, trying to remember how to breathe, and desperately trying to understand any of what I felt.

Now, all the decades later, I still can’t explain what I felt. I still can’t describe the thoughts in my head, on that night. I don’t know that I will ever be able to. I’m not good with my emotions. I never have been. I know that I felt things. Too many things. And I wasn’t able to deal with them, so I pushed them aside, to deal with them gradually, over time.

I never told Reba how much her presence on the swing kept me there, at the house, in that place. She anchored me to the reality of what was happening. She gave me a way to make it through the chaos. Helped me find a way to cope with what I was feeling, at least well enough to be there, to be part of the family.

I don’t remember the people who were there. I don’t remember the words they spoke to me. I don’t remember whose hand I shook, whose smile I saw, whose words of sympathy I heard. It’s all chaos, noise. I was overwhelmed, and overloaded. My brain cells, my mind, my self, could not keep up with the amount of information I had to process.

But I can never forget saying goodbye to my Grandfather.

And I can never forget sitting on that swing, next to my cousin, Reba, wondering if she knew, somehow, her presence gave me what I needed to hang on, and stay there.

#ThursThreads Week 358 : I Think Maybe You’re Right

The trouble with binge watching TV shows, and movies, and being a writer at the same time, is your brain cells going nuts, and inventing oceans of stories. I’d always loved to watch conspiracy theories, and things like Ancient Aliens. And I watched all the big Science Fiction shows too. Until the night I watched another episode of Ancient Aliens, and I heard that guy from Battlestar Galactica: RAZOR, the movie, declare, “This has all happened before. It will all happen again.”

That’s when my brain cells went crazy, and came up with ridiculous idea. One of those ideas, where you wake up the next morning, look in the mirror, shake your head, and tell yourself, “You have lost your mind!” But your brain cells stop you, and instead, you mumble to yourself, “I think maybe you’re right.”

It was that night, over twenty years ago, that changed the direction of my life.

Almost immediately, I started thinking, “Wouldn’t this explain all the things we can’t explain? Like, who built the Great Pyramid, or Göbekli Tepe? The idea that we humans were repeating history, repeating ourselves, took hold of me, and never let go.

It cost me everything. My house, wife, children, job, career. Everything. Would you like to hear the story? What happened, and the truth I learned? Then, let me start with that night.

226 Words

It’s Week 358 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.

#MenageMonday 2×28 : It’s Hell, Boy”

“Everybody thinks Heaven is all good, with nothing bad in it.” The old man shook his head. “Look around, boy. Look around.”

It was stunning, beautiful beyond words. Grasses painted the valley green. A rock path lead into it. “Took years for me to get those right.” Every rock on that path was placed to make it look like years of water, and wind, and rain had placed the rocks.

“Pure heaven, ain’t it?” He looked up at the crystal blue sky, with cotton candy white clouds all through it. “Pure heaven.”

In the center of the valley was a spiral of large rocks. “The pattern the whirlpool makes as it drowns everything when the rain comes.”

“I don’t understand.”

The old man held up his hand, and touched the breeze. “You will.” He started walking up the hillside, out of the valley. I followed. “Heaven and hell are locked, boy. They’re the same. Like night and day, or hot and cold. You can’t have one without the other.”

At the top of the hillside, we stopped. The rain started. “You’ll understand soon enough.”

It started like a spring shower, but it grew, until it became a monster. Water raced downhill, collected in the trails leading to the valley, and became an flood that filled the valley, and washed everything, birds, mice, foxes, flowers, everything, into a whirlpool, right where the rock spiral was.

“Like I said, boy. It’s heaven. And it’s hell. Always remember that.”

246 Words
@mysoulstears (currently deactivated).

It’s week 2×28 of Cara Michaels‘s #MenageMonday flash fiction challenge. You can read about #MenageMonday here. Please, go read all the short tales from this week. The tales are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#ThursThreads Week 357 : They Are So Sweet

Gregory used the glass of water to wash down another Oxycodone, then patiently waited for it to kick in. “Going to be a long night.” He patted his 357, in the shoulder holster under his left arm. “Hope you’re ready, darling.” To be certain, he pulled the thin, flat ammunition case from his coat pocket, and verified it contained two full reloads of ammunition for the 357. Jacketed hollow points, every round.

“Karma is a bitch, isn’t it?” It was Friday night. The chief of police and his wife were going to watch a movie at the local theater, and then have a seafood dinner at the pier. Just like they did every Friday night. “Arrest my friends because they take this stuff to survive? Yeah. That’s wrong.”

His friend Evan had committed suicide to stop his pain while he was inside the city jail. Pain that couldn’t be escaped. That was always there. Every breath. Every heartbeat. Pain the Oxycodone helped control. Evan’s doctor refused to refill his prescriptions. “I could get arrested if I give you any more.”

Evan had found a street vendor of Fentanyl. It was the only option he’d had. The police busted him.

Then, Gregory’s doctor denied his refill. For two weeks, Gregory wondered what to do. “The chief, and his wife. Aw. They are so sweet. If it wasn’t for him, none of this would have happened.”

After he shot them, Gregory would blow his head off and escape his pain forever.

247 Words

It’s Week 357 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read. And there are some great writers who show up weekly.