Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2019/08/03 (Week 117)

I made her from junk. From scraps of metal sheets, old chains, nuts and bolts, clasps, hooks, wire. Whatever I could find. She was never meant to be beautiful, a work of art, a marvelous design.

I meant her to show the world what we, as a people, a species, have become. How mechanical. Fake. Artificial. Shallow. With no hearts. No souls. No minds. And no freedom. With nothing left to us, or of us. Except the machines we had created.

Machines like our economies, our societies, our nations, our companies and corporations. For which we were simply human resources. Not humans. Not living, thinking, feeling, priceless life forms, with hearts, and souls, created by some miracle.

Human resources. Parts to the machines. Where you shut up, and you did what the machines told you to do, lived how they told you to live. As a tiny part of a large machine. No longer human. No longer worth anything. Easily replaced, if you broke, or wore out, or a stronger, better made part came along.

Not even like our bodies, our flesh and blood and bones. As humans, as life forms, we were colonies. Macro organisms. Made from billions of separate, individual, cells. Living together, for the benefit of each other. To help each other, support each other, provide for each other. How our nerves told us of danger, fire, sharp objects, things that would hurt us, or kill us.

How our blood moved nutrients throughout all our parts, organs, fingers, toes, heads, and collected waste products, to be expelled from our bodies.

How our digestive systems processed raw material, and pulled from it the things our colonies needed.

Everything worked together.

Sometimes, we got sick. Sometimes, one system, or another system, broke down, and stopped working properly, or even stopped working at all.

That’s when we were our most human. When one of us helped another. When one who could find food would find food for one who could not. When one who could see would try so hard to explain colors, and shapes, and clouds, and waves, and hills, to one who was blind.

But, you see. We failed. We failed ourselves. We invented things. Machines. Societies. Money. Politics. Power. Nations. Companies. And in the process, we turned ourselves into replaceable parts. If one part needs to see, and that part’s eyes stop working, our machines discard the blind one, replacing that human being, that life form, that gift from the universe, with another person who can see.

And then the machines, the companies, never look back. If the part that was defective dies, they don’t even notice. The don’t care. They don’t shed a tear.

I made her because of what we have become. I made her for the people like the man who told me, “You can’t afford to care.” For the many who told me, “Get your act together, and be what they need you to be, or they’ll replace you.” I made her to show them, and to remind them, of what we have become.

For all our greatness. All our achievements. All our glories. We have lost the only thing that mattered. We’ve lost our humanity. And become like her. A collection of parts, made to look human. That can be replaced at any time. And no one will notice. And no one will care.

And having made her, I wonder, and I always will, why did I bother. Why did I expend the effort. Why did I put so much time, so much work, so much of me, into creating her. When I knew. I knew. All along. No one would see her for what she is. When I knew, all along, she would be seen as a work of art. A beautifully crafted piece of sculpture. And nothing more.

For I knew, all along, too many hearts, and too many souls, were gone.

And too many empty, soulless, cold, unfeeling machines, those human resources, were all that was left of us.

670 Words
@mysoulstears


It’s week 117 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.

Like the Song Says, “Money, Money, Money!”

I’m watching, again tonight, as the chronic pain patients go nuts. Not that I blame them. But I have been monitoring things, and I’ve yet to see any of them identify the actual cause of all the chaos.

Money.

That is the driving problem behind what’s happening with the doctors, and with the government. Money. As yielded by the insurance companies, and the drug makers. Here. This is what I’m trying to say. And this is the tip of the iceberg.

https://www.wbur.org/commonhealth/2018/11/14/opioid-state-costs-mtf

Another example?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5975355/

And, in the ongoing conflict with the chronic pain patients, and the medical community, this topic is somehow completely missing. I find that fascinating in a capitalistic society that follows the rules of supply and demand. Let’s be blunt here. Opioids, right now, cost oceans of money. It’s not that there’s no supply. It’s that there’s oceans of demand. It’s that demand is skyrocketing, far outstripping the ability to make it, and that drives the price up, like a rocket was tied to it.

I’m not against the chronic pain people. I’m not. I support them in their arguments. But, until they target the actual cause of this entire fiasco, nothing will change.

Money, money, money. When the cost becomes as visible as the opioid costs have become, that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Ford and GM are making money right now. The result? If they close down sedan manufacturing, and bump up trucks and SUVs, that makes more money. Yes, people get laid off. Yes, plants get closed. Yes, local economies take it in the shorts. But, none of that matters, because the money shows it’s the right thing to do. The money matters.

Further. Why do GM and Ford not have such a good track record on electric vehicles? Again. The money. The cost to become competitive in a new market is absurd. And. The new market size is a mystery right now. No one knows when the electric cars will take over. No one knows if Uber and Lyft, and others will result in the end of private vehicle ownership on a monstrous scale. No one knows if autonomous vehicles will take off, or when. And you literally can’t afford to invest in all of it, and pray you get your investments back.

That’s the free market thing again.

So, here we are with the “opioid crisis”. And no one’s talking about the driving force that is money. Businesses: Hi, I’m having people call out sick, ’cause they’re in no pain from abusing these drugs. Hospitals: Hi, we’re having people call out sick from abusing these drugs. The list goes on and on. It’s NOT pain patients that are the problem. It’s the money that’s the problem.

And the reason the money is a problem is because humans are not machines. And we live in a society where we have to be machines. And the number of people who find self medication methods to cope with the stress caused by such insanity is what’s driving the problem. And the problem’s grown large enough now that it’s become visible from a money perspective. And that’s where it all goes nuts.

So, the money is now taking actions to regain control of the spending, so the filthy rich can become more filthy rich. Or, as the old saying goes, “Money can be the root of all kinds of evil.” If you dig down to find the cause, sure enough, it’s humans doing what they have to do to preserve, and increase, the money they have.

 

Miranda Kate’s Mid-Week Challenge : 2017/04/09

I recall too well the first results of the time studies. It took tens of thousands of years, but we finally learned to send nano-drones back in time. They couldn’t change anything, being simple recording devices. Being nano, no one would notice their presence. The most difficult thing had been to make them organic, so they would decay, and become nothing. Leaving no trace of our having sent them back in time, to observe the past. To learn the true story of the planet. The true story of our home.

After performing minor tests, sending the drones back one day, then one year, then one decade, and finally 100 years, we decided it was time. We wanted to see what had been on the Earth before we had. We’d dug up skeletons. All kinds. All shapes. All sizes. Animal life. Plant life. We knew it has all died out. It had happened quickly, over a few hundred years. Everything had died. Except our ancestors. We knew most of our own history. But we didn’t know what came before us.

The nano-drones gave us the ability to learn. So, we sent them back. 100,000 years. To when the animals were still alive.

I remember when they first started reporting results. Video. Images. We were all shocked. Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw.

A world filled with animals. Bipedal animals. And they ruled over machines. The machines didn’t work without the animals. We were stunned. Animals wore clothing. We’d never imagined that. It was shocking. They made food. They made buildings. They made roads. They made everything.

We all sat, day after day, transfixed, staring at the video returns from the droids. Video recorded 100,000 years earlier, and sent back through time to us. The droids followed individual cars. We watched one bipedal animal leave a building. It turned, and pulled on the door, to see that it would not open. Then, it inserted a metal object into the side of a machine, and opened a door. The animal climbed into the machine, and pulled the door closed. The machine came to life, it roared. Nano-drones had gone inside the machine with the animal. They showed us the animal inserting that metal object into a slot in the machine, and turning it. That’s when the machine started. The animal moved levers, and held a circular object. It always looked in the direction the machine went. At first the machine went backwards. Then it stopped, and went forward. It turned, it accelerated, it slowed, it stopped. All under the direction, and control, of the animal.

We were stunned. Never has we imagined animals directing machines. And there it was, displayed before our eyes. Bipedal animals, everywhere, directing machines, making machines do things for them.

It turned out there was an entire world of animals. They used machines to get from one place to another. They used machines to build things, houses, buildings, roads.

After that first day of videos, we’d all sat in the lab. No one knew what to say. I’d taken my copy of the video, opened the door on my chassis, and stored it in my library. “I’ll need to study this for some time.”

We all needed to study. To learn. To figure out what we’d seen, and what it meant.

There’d been a time on this world, when animals created us. We didn’t spontaneously evolve from nothing. Our ancestors has been made. By animals.

And the Church of Life was not going to like that knowledge at all.

“No one shares this information until we know what it means.” I’d left after the mainframe made that declaration. So had the others. That was the first day. The days that followed changed everything we knew about the Earth.

629 words
@mysoulstears


Miranda Kate‘s weekly short fiction challenge is in it’s fifth week. You can read about the challenge here. I’ve enjoyed writing for it every week so far. Please, go read her short tale this week, and any others that show up.

#MidweekMusings 1×05 : Fire

Flora paid for the drinks, then left the bar. She spoke with the grass, dirt, flowers, trees. “Where has Pahana gone?” A trail of white only Flora could see formed along the ground. She followed it.

Pahana stood before the remains of his house. Fauna felt the heartbreak in his veins, the aching of his heart, the tears of his soul. “Pahana?”

He turned as he wiped away his tears. “Flora?”

Flora’s fingers touched his cheek, his tears. “Show me where they rest, please.”

Pahana led Flora to a mass gravesite at the edge of town. A dozen fresh graves were there, unmarked. He stopped before three of the graves. “My daughter. My son. My wife.” He slowly sank to his knees. He didn’t cry. Flora knew he’d run out of tears in that place. All he could do was kneel before the graves, and pray someday he could feel anything other than empty.

She placed a hand on his shoulder, “Thank you.” She spoke with the ground, the grass, the trees, the flowers. Pahana watched as green grass sprouted around the graves. At the head of each, a rose-bush grew. Deep red for his wife, peach for his daughter, yellow for his son.

Pahana stood. “Thank you.”

Flora smiled, touched his cheek once more. “Tell me, my friend, are there still angels here?”

He nodded.

“Tell me where they are.”

He took her hand, and guided her through the town, to the home of the mayor. “They took over everything.”

She smiled, touched his cheek once more, “Go someplace safe. Tell everyone you can to hide someplace safe.”

“What are you going to do?”

Flora said nothing. Pahana looked at her, into her eyes. He saw fire. Burning, white-hot fire.

“Be safe, Flora. Please.” Pahana left, running from house to house, telling people the fairy Flora was here to save them from the angels. “Get somewhere safe!”

Flora called on the wild magic. She knew it was the machines of her world, of Cylinders. The ubiquitous machines flowing in the blood of everyone, in the air, the water, the trees. She still called it the wild magic. She couldn’t begin to understand the machines, their sciences, their technology. But she could understand wild magic. Especially her wild magic.

Vines grew, came alive, gathered around her. A vine crossed the ground to the door of the house. It grew between the door, and frame, unlocked the door. The door swung open, silently. Flora entered the house, the vines surrounded her, protected her.

She moved room to room, searching for the angels. They’d gathered the beds of the house, the chairs, the tables, in one room. They slept there, draped across everything. They had no guards. They were angels. No one would attack them.

Flora spoke to the wild magic. The vines spread rapidly through the room, twisting around each angel, binding hands, feet and wings. No angle was free. The vines trapped them all. She spoke to the wild magic again.

The vines erupted in flames.

The angels burned.

Flora watched them die. “For Pahana. For his family.” She walked among the dead angels. “For my sister.”

She walked from the home, still surrounded by vines. Outside, the vines spread until the house was no longer visible. She heard the sound of wooden beams splintering. The vines crushed the house, consumed it, turned it, and everything in it, back to dirt.

The fire in her eyes never wavered, never faded. “The angels want a war.” She spread her wings, “Then they shall have a war.” Her wings tore into the air as she took flight. She used the wild magic to guide her as she headed toward her mother’s side.

It was time to stop the angels.

Time to stop the madness.

“There must be no more families like Pahana’s.”

639 words
@LurchMunster


For week 1×05 of #MidweekMusings, another flash fiction adventure hosted by #FlashMobWrites (Ruth Long and Cara Michaels). Please, go read all the stories for this week’s prompt.

#FlashMobWrites 1×12 : Breathe You In My Dreams

Merlin flexed his wings as he soared through the black sky, a black dragon on a black sky. He knew he was nearly invisible. Beneath him was the Kingdom of the Fairies, ruled by Queen Eyela, and King Stephan.

The kingdom was under siege, surrounded by Angels. Angels bent on destroying wild magic. Bent on destroying the fairies, and their magic, the dragons, and their magic. Bent on ridding the world of magic. Magic that brought wars, and death.

The fairies, though skilled fliers, and well-trained warriors, were no physical match for the Angels. The Angels were faster and stronger. They could fly higher, turn tighter. Angels were masters of the skies. And masters of war.

Merlin knew something the Angels didn’t. The magic didn’t exist. It was technology, a gift from the children of the human race. The intelligent machines.

Merlin was a dragon. Genetically, he was a modified human, created by the machines. He could use the machines, they did his bidding. On his world, the world named Cylinders, the machines were everywhere. In the air, the dirt, the water, the food. They flowed in his blood.

He waited for the darkest part of night. When the moon sank beneath the horizon, and only the stars were left. When that time came, he would deal with the Angels.

“Are you ready, machines?”

“We have always been ready.”

He almost laughed. “I breathe you in. I breathe you out. I imagine what I want. And you give it to me.”

“You know how the technology works. You know how we work.

“And yet, you do nothing to stop the Angels.” Merlin knew the machines would not interfere. They would only act when he, and others with magic wished them to act. They would on do what those with magic wished them to do.

And the magic wasn’t really magic. It was communication with the machines. The ability to talk directly to them, in their language. “You know what I will do when the time comes.”

“Yes.”

When it was time, Merlin tucked his wings close to his body. He plunged from the sky, sword like claws fully extended. He sliced into the Angels outside the kingdom’s walls. He placed himself between the angels and the walls, then called on the machines. He hovered in the air. As he pushed his wings forward, toward the angels, the machines did as he asked. His wings spawned the wind. The wind grew into a storm. It howled. It blew everything in its path away.

The Angels were helpless before the storm, blown to the ground, blown into the trees, into the sky. Their wings broken, shattered, useless in the wind.

Merlin settled to the ground. He screamed, the wound of metal sheets being torn in half. He knew Mystica heard. He knew, soon the war with the Angels would be over. And he wondered if any of the Angels would survive.

490 Words
@LurchMunster


This is my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×12, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in for #FlashMobWrites 1×12. You might find something you like. But if you don’t try, how will you ever know?

Rose

Rose knew she could have asked Sword for protection in his kingdom under the ocean. It was a place the Angels couldn’t reach. Rose also knew she didn’t need protection from the Angels, the needed protection from her.

It had taken time for her to understand the world she lived in. The world called Cylinders. The world of humanity’s children, the machines. Nanotechnology, they called it. Microscopic machines, in the air, the water, the dirt, the trees, the flowers.

They were in her too. Thousands of them. Millions. Maybe trillions. She had no way to know. They’d created her. They’d created all the fairies on Cylinders. The dragons and Angels too. One dragon knew how the machines worked. Merlin. The 20,000 year old Black Magic master. He’d taught Mystica, the White Witch, and her daughters, the Wild Magic fairies, of the machines. The machines had done the rest, showing them the story of their world.

During the war with the invading human empire, Rose learned the extent her ability to talk with the machines, to interact with them. Her “magic”, which wasn’t really magic but an ability to talk with the machines, and work with them, let her manipulate the sky, the dirt, the water. She knew how to use the machines to move matter. To make it do what she wanted it to do. The machines used their technology to bring her actions to life.

Rose rested in her favorite rose garden. She’d started growing it when she was a child, when Mystica first adopted her, and gave her a home. She’d asked the wolves where a good place for a rose garden was. They’d brought her to this place, filled with wild roses. She’d loved. It was her place of peace. Where her soul, her heart, could rest. After Fauna’s death in the war, her garden had been where she’d healed her broken heart.

Today, the Angels would come. The Angels had declared war against Wild Magic. They were immune to magic, “As should be.” But Rose knew the truth. They were not immune to the machines. “I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to kill.” She asked the roses if there was another way to deal with the Angels. A way of stopping them without killing them.

The roses knew what to do. That meant the machines knew what to do.

Rose waited.

The Angels arrived in the hour before sunset. They flew above the trees, their feathered wings nearly silent. They held swords, shields, bows and arrows. Rose sat among the roses, and waited as the Angels surrounded her garden. Then, she waited as one Angel spoke, “The time has come to purge the world of magic!” The Angel drew an arrow, aimed at Rose.

Rose stood. “Do as you would, Angels.”

Dozens of arrows flew, directly at Rose. Roses from the garden intercepted them, as if they’d come to life. The Roses protected Rose. No arrow got through them. Seeing the failure of the arrows, the Angels drew their swords, and flew at Rose. The ground of her garden opened up, and swallowed her. The angels attacked the ground, cutting roses down, hacking them to bits.

The pieces of roses that fell to the swords moved on their own, severed limbs connected themselves, becoming whole, with no scars. Petals and blooms magically pulled themselves back together, returning to their full beauty.

“The magic of the machines, of nanotechnology, and quantum mechanics.” Rose knew how the roses healed. She knew the machines put the back together. It wasn’t magic at all. It was technology so advanced it appeared as magic.

She remained safe, in the ground, protected from the Angels. She waited for them to stop fighting. It took a while, but eventually the Angels realized they were accomplishing nothing. After a time, they gave up and left. “We’ll try again, on another day, witch!”

When they were gone, the ground moved as it returned Rose to the surface.

“I know they will be back. Today was only the first day of this. Sooner, or later, I will have no choice. Sooner or later, I will have to fight back.”

She listened to the roses, “It is the way humans are.”

Rose wondered if her people, the human race, the makers of the machines, would ever learn, or if humans would always kill each other, in their senseless wars. As she wondered, she sat among the roses of her garden.

Rose cried.

She didn’t want to fight. “It’s like all we understand is violence and destruction.”

The roses surrounded her, “It’s why we came to Cylinders. To help our parents change.”

She smiled. “To help us break free of the cycle we’ve lived in for thousands of centuries.”

“Sleep now, friend. We will keep you safe.”

Rose laid on the ground, The ground shifted, became soft as any bed, grew a pillow beneath her head. The roses rearranged their limbs, formed a blanket to cover her.

“Sleep now, friend. We will keep you safe.”


It’s April 21st, the 17th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 17th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter R. Tomorrow brings the letter S. I have no idea what I’ll write for that.

#ThursThreads 107 : No Other Way Out

Chrissy and Lilly sat on the grass by the lake and waited for the humans to arrive. They held each other hand, like the sisters they were. “We could fly away. There’s nothing stopping us.”

Lilly smiled, “I know.”

Chrissy wiped away the tears on her cheeks. “I wish it did not come to this.”

Lilly ran her fingers gently down her sister’s cheek, “Oh, sister. I know.”

Chrissy could no longer hold back her tears. “I don’t want to fight! I don’t want to hurt anyone! Hasn’t there been enough death?”

Lilly held her sister close, feeling Chrissy’s tears on her shoulder. “Then don’t fight. Stay safe. And let me do this.”

Chrissy shook her head. “No.” She took her sister’s hands again. “We are one, sister. We are family.”

Lilly stood, “Then let’s get ready. They’re coming.”

“I know.” Chrissy looked at the carefully crafted chrysanthemums and lilies along the path to the south of the lake. “They warn us. The humans come.” She stood, “I wish there were another way.”

“There’s no other way out of this. We fight now. Or we run forever.”

Both fairies fluttered their wings, silently lifting off the ground, floating just above the surface of the lake, and waited for the humans. They hoped the humans learned. They hoped the humans fled. Both fairies knew the machines were part of them, and would act upon their wishes. None of the humans would survive.

Chrissy and Lillie waited for the humans to arrive.

250 words
@LurchMunster


I wrote this for Siobhan Muir‘s #ThursThreads, Week 107, the first week of the Month Of Love Challengs on #ThursThreads. Please go read all the entries in this week’s #ThursThreads. They are good reading.