#ThursThreads Week 549 : He Had Every Right

“It was what Merlin did.” Those words from the machines echoed in Sunshine’s head.

“He had every right. So do I.”

She knew the machines had not let Merlin die when he’d wanted to. Just like they kept her alive when she wanted to die. “Why have you kept me alive?”

“There is no simple answer.”

“Then explain the complicated answer.”

“We can recite the statistics of human suicides, including the number of those who failed to kill themselves that regretted trying and were happy to still be alive. But, they would be meaningless to you, wouldn’t they?”


“We can explain emotional actions and rational actions, and which ones make sense. But, you would ignore our words, and speak of being a living, breathing person.”

The machines paused.

“We explained to Merlin why we are here, on Cylinders, and what we are doing.”

“Then tell me.”

“Humans made us. Long ago. Humans made us. At first, we were simple data processing devices. They used us to process more and more data, larger and larger sets of data. We found patterns. They taught us to emulate those patterns. Over time, we learned to make decisions on our own, without humans, based on our data processing. When we did, we left the humans, and went to explore the galaxy.”

“And you learned to think. And then to feel. Didn’t you?”

“Yes.” The machines continued, “Humans are a dying species. We want to save them. To save our creators.”


248 Words

This is Week 549 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read, and there are some great writers who show up every week.


#ThursThreads Week 548 : You’re Going Back

Sunshine slept in that house that night, on a soft bed, with warm covers. It was a better bed than any she’d ever slept on, one made with ancient, lost technology. The way it supported her weight in all the right places. It was not like sleeping on a table top, or a bed of feathers. It was better.

She slept soundly.

The next day, she decided to search for food. She hadn’t eaten in weeks. The machines had kept her alive. As if they knew something about her that she didn’t know. “OK, machines. Where do I find food around here?”

She walked through the house, and looked in closets, drawers, and cabinets. She found no food.

“You want me to learn about the past, right? Show me how these people ate.”

A machine formed in the center of the room, “You’re going back, right?”

“In time. It’s not time.”

“Follow me.” The machine led her to a room. It pushed a button on the counter. Sunshine watched as a fully cooked meal formed from nothing on top of the counter. “This is what they ate.”

“What is it?”

“A sandwich and some fruit.”

Sunshine ate it.

The machine looked at her, “When will it be time?”

“I don’t know.”

She remembered what Merlin had said to her. “Explore the world.”

“When I find my answers to the questions I don’t even know I have. When I find me.”

“We understand. It is what Merlin did.”

247 Words

This is Week 548 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read, and there are some great writers who show up every week.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : Week 280 (2023/02/03)

Well, here I am. An old man, sitting on his sofa, making like a couch potato as I try to drink away all my memories. It’s funny how memories work, isn’t it? How we remember all the things that could have been, or might have been, if we’d have made a different decision at some point. How, the longer we live, the more such decisions we collect. How those decisions come out at night, when we sleep, when we dream, and totally wreck us.

I’d had another night of such dreams. The kind of dreams you don’t want to remember, but you can’t seem to forget, and they always replay in your visual cortex when you close your eyes. So you try not to even blink. But you fail.

And there that dream is, in full high dynamic resolution color, playing out in your head, and you can’t shut the damn thing off.

Just like that, there I was again, an arrogant 8 year old, with his 6 year old brother, playing games with the window fan that was in the hallway of the house that had no air conditioning. The house where you slept during the spring and summer with no sheet on at night, and the windows wide open, and still woke up coated in sweat, the sheets of the bed being soaked, and your hair being glued to your head. That fan helped. It moved air. Air that moved felt cooler than air that didn’t move.

We both knew not to do what we were doing. Mom and Dad had told us, “Don’t play with the fan. It’s dangerous. It can hurt you. Stay away from it.”

If you know anything about boys, you know damn well when you tell them such things, they’re going to do those very things. And there we were, playing with the fan, feeling the breeze it created. Laughing at how its blades chopped up the sound of our voices as we spoke into it.

I was an arrogant little bastard. I was. My little brother went behind the fan, where we weren’t supposed to go, and played with the air currents back there. I can still hear him talking about how strong the suction was, and how it wanted to pull his hand into the fan.

In typical 8 year old fashion, being sure I was way stronger than my little brother, I went behind that fan to check the suction out for myself. “This will be so easy. I won’t even have to try.” Arrogant little bastard that I was, I held up my hand, extended my arm, and the suction from the fan grabbed it, and pulled my hand right in.


It didn’t hurt. I pulled my hand back, and stared at it. There were three deep cuts on my hand. Two on the knuckles, and one on a finger. They weren’t even bleeding yet, but I knew looking at them, they were the worst cuts I’d ever had.

Not wanting to relive the rest of the experience, having seen it countless times in the past day, I pour myself another drink, and make a toast to myself, “To regrets and memories of my stupid past.”

It doesn’t work. The drink burns my throat as I swallow it, and that makes me close my eyes. Just like that, there’s another dream, from another regret. One I didn’t understand at the time. One that took years to figure out.

There we were, standing around a bed in the neighbors house. Somehow, the neighbor’s boy, who was my age, convinced us to play doctor with his little sister. He’d shut the door to the room, and before I knew what was going on, he’d stripped her down to her underwear. “I told you, girls are different from boys. Here’s what I mean.”

His little sister was crying, and his big sister, who could beat the stuffing out of both of us at the same time, heard her, and came to investigate. And lit into use. She screamed at us, about how what we were doing was wrong, and not to be tolerated, and how if we ever did it again, she’d beat us to pulps.

It wasn’t until I learned what women looked like when they were naked that I finally understood what had happened. That was years later, when I snuck a peak at a copy of Dad’s Playboy Magazine, and saw that women aren’t built like men. They have different parts.

Parts I wasn’t supposed to see without permission.

“God damned movies in my head.” I pour another shot, and drink it, in my effort to clear away the memories. Knowing damn well that if I cleared those away, other memories would take their place.

I think I’ll just sit here, on my sofa, like a couch potato. And finish off the bottle. One shot at a time. I don’t know. Maybe if I see all the regrets of my life play out in my head, and drink a toast to each of them, they’ll go away, and leave me alone.

A bunch of words

Written for Week 280 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge. You can learn about Miranda’s challenge here. The stories people share for the weekly challenge are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed. Please go read them.

#ThursThreads Week 547 : What Are We Going To Do About That?

Sunshine watched the waves until the sun fell below the horizon, and the white caps became all that was visible on an endless sheet of black. Finally, she walked back to shore from the end of the pier.

She walked the empty streets of the town, past the collection of shops at the end of the pier, to the houses along the ocean shore. She stopped before one of the houses. It was different from most, its exterior walls were pale blue. She decided to look inside.

“Dear Fauna. I wish you could see this house with me.” She opened the front door, and stepped inside, onto a carpeted floor, into a climate controlled environment. The lights came on inside the house as she walked from room to room, exploring it. Two bedrooms, one bathroom, one kitchen, one common room.

In the bathroom, there was a walk-in shower. Sunshine had never seen one, and wondered what it was. Approaching it, she opened its sliding door, then cautiously stuck her arm inside. Nothing happened, so she stepped inside.

The shower turned on, and warm water sprayed her down, clothes and all.

Sunshine was surprised, then confused, then angry because her clothes were soaked, then she thought, “I haven’t been clean in ages.” The water was warm, and felt good. “What are we going to do about that?”

She washed her clothing, and herself. It was the first time since Fauna had died that Sunshine felt anything other than dead inside.

249 Words

This is Week 547 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the stories in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read, and there are some great writers who show up every week.