#ThursThreads Week 383 : I Could Work On Him

The swarm inhabiting Delilah Jacobs continued negotiations with the swarm that inhabited Howard Wilson. “She has no interest in him.” It was how negotiations went. Two swarms came to terms with the result of two humans mating, and producing offspring.

Howard’s swarm answered, “I could work on him. Tune him up. Lean him out a bit. Dress him up a bit. What is she looking for?”

Delilah’s swarm had been through many negotiations over the centuries, and moved from Delilah’s great, great grandmother, through one daughter at a time, ending up in Delilah. “It’s a biochemical thing. She thinks he smells funny.”

“I could work on that too. Change what he eats. Change how his metabolism works.” There was a pause. “How would he need to be modified?”

Negotiations for modifications lasted two weeks. Howard and Delilah never figured out why their paths always crossed. When the final list of biochemical modifications for Howard was completed, Delilah’s swarm agreed to a few biochemical tweaks to improve her interest in him.

Then, they kept Delilah, and Howard, meeting, which eventually turned into dinner, and then dates, and finally a happy couple.

Delilah never did figure out why she fell for Howard, but she did. Even after they were married, she still wondered why she was so attracted to him. The swarm in her knew. It was as planned, and guaranteed the growth of the swarms. It didn’t care if the humans ever understood. Only survival mattered.

245 Words

It’s Week 383 of #ThursThreads, hosted by Siobhan Muir. Saw the prompt, and this popped into my head. 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 : 2019/02/27

Jack took the empty growler bottle from the garage, his mother had used it when his father still lived with them. It had been a way for her to keep some small bit of her sanity. He took the bottle to the kitchen, and cleaned it thoroughly, using dish soap, hot water, and plenty of elbow grease.

He then filled it with water. “Yep. I’m ready.” Next he went to his room, and fished the two goldfish his father had given him out of their bowl, placing them in the bottle. “There.” He sealed the bottle, and proceeded to the garage, where he got his bike.

It was a short ride from his house to the beach. Most wouldn’t call it a beach, he knew. It was more like a short strip of sand surrounded by rocks. Not many people visited it, instead, they visited the much bigger beach a couple of miles south, where the rocks were missing.

It was perfect for what Jack intended.

“Dear bastard of a father. This one’s for you, and all the hell you put me and Mom through.”

Jack parked his bike in a bike rack, and carefully made certain his chain was locked in place. He knew he probably didn’t need to lock his bike in place, that no one would steal it. “Another thing to thank Dear old Dad for.” He remembered learning to hide things from his Dad. So they didn’t turn up missing. Thrown away, broken, sold, whatever. With his Dad, who knew? “If I lock it in place, Dad can’t take it.”

It was shortly past sunrise. His mother was at work. She worked nights. All night. Every night. She had to. It was the only way to pay the bills. Especially since “Dear old Dad” had left, and took all his income with him. “Dear old Dad” was supposed to send money each month. He hadn’t sent a dime. Six months, and not one dime.

The beach was perfect. Quiet. Calm. No people. The sun painted the sky and the clouds in shades of gold. It glistened on the ocean waves, like little diamonds shining in the water. Jack loved to watch the ocean, and the way the sunlight played off the waves. It always calmed him.

He carried the growler with him. The two goldfish swam around in circles inside, oblivious to what he was planning. He wondered, “Do goldfish have feelings? Like people do? Or are they like my bastard Father? Filled with hate, and uncaring?”

He walked to the end of the beach, near the rocks, before he stopped. It was a quiet place. He could sit on the rocks, and watch the ocean, and the sun. And he could deal with his emotions about his father without anyone bothering him.

Jack put the growler on the sand. He laid it on its side, with the top pointed toward the ocean. He knew, if he opened it, gradually, the water would drain out. Not all the water. But most of it. That’s what he wanted.

He removed the growler’s lid, and watched the water pour out. It came out rapidly, at first, until the bottle was half empty. Then it slowed to a trickle. Finally, it stopped, except when the goldfish stirred it up enough to cause more to leak out.

It was glorious. He watched, as the goldfish slowly died from lack of oxygen in the water. They’d used it all. The water had become toxic to them. They couldn’t breathe. They slowed. They stopped moving. They died.

Jack watched them.

“That’s what I think of you, Dear old Dad.” Jack wished he could put his father in a bottle, throw it into the sea, then open it. And let his father drown. Trapped in a bottle he couldn’t escape.

He dumped the dead fish into the ocean. “Good riddance.”

He took the growler home, and put it where the goldfish bowl had been. “So I never forget what you did to Mom, or to me.”

673 Words (So, I went over…)

It’s week 96 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 : 2018/11/11

The old couple stood among the bricks, and stones. When we first came across the place, they told me this had been a cobblestone road, whatever that means. Just looked like someone went to a lot of troubled to put bricks out in a pattern to me. “A road leading nowhere, you mean?”

The old man shook his head, “You never knew. Never saw.”

The old woman smiled, “They get to start over. If they want. Change the world, if they want.”

“I know.” He knelt down, put his hands on the old rocks, “But it is good to remember how things were, isn’t it?”

We all started walking again. That search for food thing did that. Made people walk. You couldn’t stay put. If you did, you became someone else’s food. If you kept moving, you kept safe. So, we kept moving. Followed the bricks for a time. At least it was a flat surface, we could make good time.

There were remains of structures, buildings, homes, all over the place. Long since picked over, people looking for things they could use. Clothing, mostly. Anything cloth. Anything fabric. Didn’t matter if it came off a dead body. Didn’t matter if it was full of holes. It beat the hell out of nothing.

I think that’s what drew me to the old man and woman. They weren’t dressed in left overs. In scraps. No. They wore different things. Hand made, most of them, from animal skins. Hides, stitched together with rough thread. They looked a lot warmer than what I had on.

I didn’t know what it was about them, really. Why I would want to tag along with two old people. Everyone pretty much ignored them. Old people weren’t worth much. Didn’t have anything worth stealing. Mostly, they were ignored, and left to wander around until they starved to death.

These two were different. They knew how to find things to eat. Sure, it wasn’t meat. It wasn’t animals. But, it was good. Stuff off bushes, and trees. Not anything they could find in a can. Cans were running out, you know. I hadn’t seen one in days. But, they always found something to eat. And always where no one ever looked.

I figured I’d tag along with them, so I could learn something. Maybe not starve. Maybe not have to kill someone else, and eat them.

“I wonder which building was the library? And which was a store?” The old man pointed at different buildings.

“It doesn’t really matter now, does it.” The old woman pulled down his hand, and held on to it. “Let’s just walk. And remember what was. And hope for what might one day be. And forget.”

“You know we’ll never forget, don’t you.” The old man shook his head. “Everywhere we look. Everywhere we go. There are memories of what was. And how it all ended.”

We walked in silence for a time, until she stopped, and pointed at a large puddle of water covering some of the bricks. “Look. You can stare into the puddle, and almost see the history, can’t you?”

“The state capital. And it’s big dome. I got to see it once. Field trip in high school.”

“Oh, Frank. It must have been a beautiful building.”

“Yes, Valerie. It was.” He smiled. It was the happiest smile I ever saw on him. “And then, the world went insane.”

Valerie nodded. “Yes. It did.”

Frank, the old man, started walking again, “Do you think it’s the end of humanity?”

“Only time will tell, Frank. Only time will tell.”

Frank nodded. And I wondered what they were talking about. The end of humanity. If it was, it wouldn’t be so bad, would it? No more wondering if you were going to wake up, of if you were going to be cut into flank steaks during the night while you slept. That wouldn’t be a bad thing at all.

657 words

Saw the picture for week 80 of Miranda Kate‘s Mid-Week Challenge, and this little bit of fiction popped into my head. 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. And many of them are amazing.


#5SF : Edge

Sometimes, I feel like an old, discarded sword, no longer used, kept in a corner somewhere, left to rust. I used to hone my technical skills, my programming and security knowledge and ability, to a razor-sharp edge. I believed my survival depended on my skills. Until I put them down, and walked away from the life I’d always know. And like an old, rusty, useless sword, they’ve begun to rust; the razor-sharp edge my skills once had has faded, becoming old, rusty, and just as useless.

Here’s my weekly attempt at Lillie McFerrin‘s flash fiction challenge, Five Sentence Fiction. This week, the prompt is Edge.

Please, go read all the other entries to this week’s Five Sentence Fiction. It’s amazing what creative people can do with just five sentences.