#ThursThreads Week 271 : You’re Not Needed In This

Being invisible, silent, and having no heat signature makes it simple to watch chaos break out, as it did when Freddy, the IT guy arrived at work. It started as a normal day. Freddy dropped everything on his desk, made his run to the men’s room, and fetched his cup of coffee.

And that’s when normal ended. He sat down at his desk, and turned on his computer, and nothing happened. It didn’t turn on. “What?” He checked the power connections, but they were good. He checked and the fans were blowing air through the unit, so it was getting power.

He turned it off, counted to 10, and turned it back on. It booted up, but it loaded a bright red screen, with big yellow letters, “This machine has been encrypted, using a 4096 bit key. The key has been destroyed. Bye-Bye…”

Freddy’s phone started ringing endlessly. Every computer in the office had that same message on it. Freddy tried booting a different system from a flash drive, but the computer encrypted the drive’s contents. He tried restoring a backup from an external drive, but the computer encrypted that too.

I laughed, “It’s the BIOS, Freddy. On every motherboard.”

By the time Freddy realized what had happened, he’d been fired. “You’re not needed in this. Clearly, you couldn’t stop it. We need someone else.”

Freddy got drunk then tried to drive home. The wreck made the news the next morning, and I sighed, “Some people shouldn’t drink.”

246 Words
@mysoulstears


This is part 12 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 271 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/06/11

“Tell me once more, Olivia. What do you see when you look in the mirror?” I’d asked the question a thousand times, and Olivia always gave me the same answer.

“Not what you want me to see, doc.” She shook her head, and looked into the mirror in the remains of her family home. “Not what you want me to see.”

“I know.” I took a deep breath. This wasn’t about fixing things. Fixing things was easy. No. This was about bringing the dead to life. “So, tell me, please. What do you see?”

Olivia stood from where she sat, legs crossed, on the barren, wooden floor. A floor desperately in need of repair. Cleaning wasn’t enough. The floor needed work. Lots of it. So did the walls, and the brick they were made of. Brick that once hid behind smooth, well kept plaster. She walked to the mirror, cracked and no longer held in its casing. Like the entire home, it was wasting away.

“He’s there, you know.” She pointed at the remains of the mirror. “He’s there. Waiting for me.”

As the house wasted away, so did Olivia. Every since that day, so long ago, when the car came around the corner too fast. Jonathan had been playing, dancing to a sound only he heard. “He told me it was the piano from Beauty and The Beast.” She always cried when she spoke the words. “He moved right in time with it. I could hear the music as he danced.”

She collapsed to her knees, and once more was consumed by tears and grief. “He’s there. I see him dancing in the mirror.”

The car came around the corner too fast. The driver crossed into the other side of the road, aimed straight at an oncoming car.

Olivia stared into the mirror. “It’s there. In the mirror. Over and over again. My boy. Dancing.”

The oncoming car had nowhere to go. The fast car struck it head on. Parts flew in all directions. Glass from windshields, parts of headlights, side view mirrors, plastic and urethane from car bodies. Radiator fluid. All of it. Everywhere.

“He never got to say good-bye.”

All of it. Right next to Jonathan.

“He never got to look at me.”

Some of the parts from the collision had struck the boy. Olivia had seen it all. Seen her son stop dancing, the music of the song stop playing, as Jonathan was yanked in strange directions by the shrapnel from the wreck.

Then, before she could even scream, the momentum of the collision pushed both cars straight into Jonathan. The boy never had a chance.

Olivia stared into the mirror. “He’s there. Waiting.”

I’d been trying to reach her every since. Trying to help her through her grief. Through her sorrow. Not to heal her, for I knew, there are some wounds that never heal. Like the loss of a limb, or the ability to walk, or talk, or hear. Olivia had lost part of herself.

On that day, when those cars collided, and Jonathan died, so did Olivia’s heart. So did her soul. All that was left was an empty shell, slowly decaying, like the house she never left.

And I wondered, as I had every day for three years, if her heart and soul had died, was there any way to bring her back to life?

563 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 14th week. You can read about the challenge here. As I do every week, I wonder where the words I have written came from. How this started as a picture, and a song, and wound up where it did, I may never understand. But, I’m OK with that. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up. They are always little works of art, crafted with words, meant to be shared, and enjoyed.

#ThursThreads Week 270 : You’re Too Sick To Play

That night, I visited what had been Michelle’s workplace once more. It was time to gather more information, this time from the director of the Information Technology department. I’d noticed the workstation Michelle used always seemed to be broken. It was time to learn why.

A quick scan of the computer storage media showed frequent changes to the computer’s configuration at strange hours, especially when she was at lunch, or right after she’d left for the day. Further investigation demonstrated the computer configuration was hacked during those times. Someone had made it so Michelle’s computer would fail. Frequently. Resulting in far too many problems.

That someone turned out to be the IT director. A check of his computer verified the repeating, endless problems Michelle had. Since I was awake anyway, I visited his home, and checked his computers, which provided endless evidence of his hatred of Michelle, and his efforts to get her fired. The man had a treasure trove of things to do to mess up someone’s computer.

“Little man. You’re too sick to play such games.” Hacked, broken computers. Armors knew how to do that better than anyone. “Hope you can find another job, little man. You and your sick mind.” I knew exactly what to do. I headed back to the workplace, to perform a bit of magic on workstations and servers throughout the company. “You’re going to need a drink tomorrow night.”

It was time to have some fun.

244 Words
@mysoulstears


This is part 11 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 270 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/06/04

“So, you agreed ta not tell no one what you seen here, right?” Bubba grinned. “‘Cause they gotta shoot ya if ya tell.”

I nodded. “National security thing, right?”

“Yep. Nashnal secritity,” Bubba grinned, and tapped me on the shoulder. I thought my arm was going to fall off. Bubba was no little guy. I knew, looking at him, he could throw me like a basketball, and I’d probably fly through the air like one.

“Well,” he shrugged, “It’s that time.” He pointed to the entrance to the helicopter, where armed soldiers guarded the line, and people getting on had to be blindfolded first. “Time to put our heads in bags.”

It was pitch black in that bag. I couldn’t see a thing. Not even the texture of the fabric. Once my head was covered, I was escorted into the helicopter, and guided to a seat. Bubba wound up next to me. “Yeah. We ain’t allowed to see where we goin’. Safer that way. Less chance of leaks in stuff.”

The flight was over two hours. I have no idea where we went. I only know what was there, when we got of the flight, and they took off our bags. And I had never imagined anything like it.

“Govmint don’t want nobody knowin’ ‘bout dis.” Bubba rambled as we walked. “Specully them Christian types.” He was a talker, Bubba was. “Get ‘em all pissed off an talkin’ ‘bout it all being a guvmint plot.”

We took a long ride on a rail car, like a tourist train at a park. Maybe 45 or 50 minutes, between hills, and buttes, and plateaus. “Where the fuck are we, Bubba?”

“Maybe sumwheres in Wino-ming, er Knee-vahad. I don’t knows.”

The train stopped at a small station, and we all got out. It was one of the biggest archeological digs I’d ever seen. “Damn, there’s an entire city here!”

“Right!” Bubba bounced up and down, “An it’s fastinatin.”

“But, there aren’t supposed to be any cities here.” It was true. There was no record of a city, with monuments, and brick buildings, and who knew what else, ever having been in North America before the Europeans arrived, and started building them. Just Indians, and others. And their huts, and maybe some mud houses and stuff.

“Day say it’s like 40 thousands old,” Bubba whispered. “Fum long afore we existed.”

I received my assignment, where to dig, how to dig, what to be careful of, and how to report anything I found. I was part of a team. Bubba was part of another team. “Aww, little buddy. They put you on the little detail gang. You don’t get to fine da big stuff.”

“Big stuff?”

“You’ll see.”

And see I did. We were guided to where we were to work. Past all kinds of strange artifacts. What looked like paved, cobblestone roadways, separate homes, with garages. There were strange, huge circular items. “Did those hold pipes together?”

Someone answered, “No one knows.”

“What are they made of.”

The someone grinned. “Carbon fiber.”

“What?”

“Carbon fiber.” He waved at them. “Fiber composites. Over 40,000 years old. Maybe over 50,000.”

I had nothing to say.

“It’s ancient Earth history. The first proof anyone ever found. Ours is not the first technologically advanced civilization here.”

I stopped, and stared at the pipe segments. “Carbon fiber?”

Someone in my crew piped up, “Yeah. Seems we used to be an advanced civilization.”

“We?”

“Humans. We played around too much with the environment, though. And it went bad. Triggered all kinds of environmental chaos. Big flood, then big ice age type thing. All but wiped us out. All but wiped out everything.”

A third person spoke, a woman, “It’s why we’re here. The government wants to learn what happened, and see if we are on the same path of destruction. See if we are going to end up the same way.”

That was my first visit to the dig. It was true, I swear. We used to be more advanced, technologically, that we are now. We even learned about settlements on Mars, and the Moon. And, we’d abused the planet.

And Mother Earth killed us all, to survive.

693 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 13th week. You can read about the challenge here. I continue to enjoy writing for it every week so far. And every week I wonder where the words came from. This week, I’m guessing I’ve been watching Ancient Aliens from the History Channel too much. Please, go read Miranda’s short tale this week, and any others that show up.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/05/28

I walked to the end of my backyard boat dock, and waited. “She always comes after dark,” I knew those words well. It had taken time, but I’d learned them.

Her name was Lyria, and she was every bit as magical, and beautiful as her name. “Lyria,” I mumbled her name, and sighed, as I waited for sunset. I knew she’d arrive soon enough. She’d promised.

As I waited, I closed my eyes, and tried to paint her face in my mind. I found I couldn’t. No image I could conjure, no matter how simple, no matter how detailed, could capture what I saw when I looked at her. I sighed, then took a deep breath. “I keep trying, though I know it’s futile.”

The sun touched the horizon on the far side of the lake, and I felt my pulse rising. I felt everything in those moments. The soft breeze from the land, back to the lake, as the ground cooled more rapidly than the lake. A cool breeze. Just enough for my skin to sense it. Just enough for me to shudder at the exquisite sensation. I closed my eyes, and let my arms, shoulders, sides feel the breeze.

After a few moments, I opened my eyes, and found the sun. More of it was hidden now. The light of the sky was changing. Reds, pinks, oranges, and golds, started to paint the sky. It was all reflected on the surface of the lake. Such a still surface, no waves, no ripples. Like a mirror.

The clouds changed from white, cotton candy, to orange and gold cotton. The finest cotton of all, perfect puffs, each with feathered edges, pillowed puffs, and trails of fibers tying them together. The filled the sky, as far as I could see. I sat down, hung my feet off the end of the doc, let my toes touch the water.

“Lyria.”

I waited, as I watched the sun fall behind the horizon. Like a curtain being drawn upward, instead of lowered. The day was drawing to an end.

“She always comes after dark.”

I watched as more of the sun disappeared, with a brilliant flash of gold that lit the sky. The day had ended. It was dark, except for the light reflected and refracted by the clouds. So many shades of gold, yellow, orange. I couldn’t have painted a better sunset had I tried. I knew, no one could ever capture such a sunset, even with a camera. Any camera. It would be a small glimpse, a small sliver of the real image. And image I could remember. One I could paint in my mind, even if I didn’t close my eyes.

It was almost time.

I waited. My toes rested on the water’s surface. I didn’t move. I felt the water, let it talk to my toes, my skin, me. Touch can be so wonderful. Can express so much. Can say so much words can never capture.

Lyria came to me. Across the water of the lake, she walked, like it was solid ground. She stopped just out of my reach. She always did. I knew not to follow her. Not to reach for her. There are beings in this world we are not meant to hold. To touch them is to corrupt them. To ruin them.

I would not, could not ruin her.

She stood, on the water, and smiled at me, as she placed the tips of her fingers on my cheek. I cried. I always cried.

Then, Lyria sang.

And my heart was free.

When the dawn arrived, I stirred. I would be stiff. I was always stiff after I slept on the dock. But I did not care.

Lyria had come. As she’d promised. As she’s promised again, after she sang that night. A song she’s meant only for me. I heard her words. “When the time is right, I would see you again.”

I would be there, on the end of the dock. Waiting. When the time was right. Watching as the sun set. And the sky was transformed once again. For I knew.

Lyria would come.

And I knew, as did she. So long as she came, and sang for me, and touched my face, and held me while I slept.

My heart would find the will to keep going in a world I never made.

731 words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 12th week. You can read about the challenge here. I continue to enjoy writing for it every week so far. And every week I wonder where the words came from. Seems I just have to get out of my way, and let each story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

#ThursThreads Week 268: I Don’t Know What You’re Talking About

As Tiffany sat on her front doorstep, watching the fire department extinguish the smoldering remains of her car, listening to her neighbors tell her how lucky she was not to have blown up with it, one of her phone calls to Harry went viral on social media. It was played over, and over again, millions of times.

As her neighbors asked who would do such a horrible thing to her, blowing up her car, the world watched Tiffany strip naked, one article of clothing at a time, as she begged Harry to take care of the Michelle problem. They watched as Tiffany proposed a meeting with Harry, where he could explore the real model, and not a video. “If you help with my problem, I’ll give you anything you ask.”

As the police spoke with her, and informed her they’d find the culprit behind these car bombings, countless men decided her naked ass made a good wallpaper for their smart phones. The perfect break from a bad day at work.

As Tiffany sat in her home that day, in shock that her life had not turned out at all like she wanted, the FBI filed warrants for her arrest, and posted a bulletin for the capture of Harry.

When federal agents appeared on her doorstep the next morning, Tiffany’s only response to their questions was, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Even after they showed her the viral video.

And I knew. This was just getting started.

248 Words
@mysoulstears


This is part 10 of the Armor 17 story I started in Week 239 of #ThursThreads. It’s Week 268 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are always fun to read.

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/05/21

I walked the long halls, bone straight, a hundred doors down either side. Those doors had been bars that sealed tiny rooms. Two metal bunk beds jutted from one wall of each room, with a small basin, and toilet in each tiny room. There was no room for anything else.

I studied several rooms. Each had the same layout. In many, the bunks had fallen through, their springs rusted to dust. In some, there was nothing left, just filthy walls, covered in dust, and God only knew what else. No one had been in the building for years, and it showed.

Down the center of the hallway, the sun shined through arched windows. I wondered why they’d let the sunlight into such a place, given who had once been kept there. Some of the worst of the worst. Right up there with that movie character, what was his name? Hannibal?

But, the building was in the right place. The perfect place. Two blocks from where the university was building an engineering center. They needed space for students to live, to study, to work. And they needed it cheap. And quickly.

The old jail was perfect. Tear down the remaining parts of the barred door system, put in real doors, fix all the bunks and put privacy walls around the tiny toilets. Presto. Dorm rooms for cheap.

It would take a bit of paint. And a bit of drywall. A bunch of cheap tiles for the floors, and a bunch of new glass and frames for the windows in the hallway. But it was easily doable.

The best part was I could pitch the entire thing as a historical experience. Put up a small display in the entrance about the history of the place. The list of the worst crooks who’d stayed there, and died there.

I wondered if there were ghost stories tied to the place. That would make it better. The kids would fight to get into the place. The school would be happy to get a cheap dorm. The state would finally have a use for a long abandoned building. And I’d make a small fortune.

“Maybe we could have one of those ghost TV shows visit the place.” That would only drive the value of the idea up.

I took a few pictures, so I could edit them, show what the place would look like cleaned up, and ready for college students to fill it. How just enough privacy could be added to the place to make it work.

It was going to be a hell of a sales pitch. If I did it right, how could anyone say no?

443 Words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s 11th week. You can read about the challenge here. I continue to enjoy writing for it every week so far. And every week I wonder where the words came from. Seems I just have to get out of my way, and let each story happen. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.