[WP] Yogi Bear steals the picnic basket of a person with severe hypoglycemia. Deep in the wilderness without their food and insulin, they die. Yogi now faces involuntary manslaughter charges with Boo Boo liable as an accomplice, worsened by their long history of petty theft.
"Despicable. Frankly, completely, despicable."
Yogi Bear had long braced himself for the closing arguments against him, but the words still hurt. He tightened his grip on Boo Boo Bear's paw, relishing the only solace he could find. Was it his imagination, or did the glint in the jury's eyes just turn... murderous?
"Consider this, ladies and gentlemen of the jury. It all comes down to a single question - what is the defendant's true nature? What is the core of his character? Given everything that you have seen during this trial, can you even bring yourself to say, nay, think that Yogi is anything but guilty of the crime of involuntary manslaughter?"
The lawyer leapt across to the evidence stash, then tapped the item closest to the jury. Exhibit Number One.
"The facts are indisputable. We have not heard anything to change that. Yogi may have said sorry a hundred times the past few days, even promised never to say that he was smarter than you and I ever again, but look at this! Yogi stole this basket and deprived the man of his medication! You heard Ranger Smith! Yogi caused, indirectly, the death of a man, and for that, he cannot be anything less than guilty! I urge you to convict! Now!"
There was no need for dramatics by then - the tension had built up so overwhelmingly that any outburst was liable to ignite the uproar. A dozen voices cried out from the gallery, united in their bloodthirst to serve Yogi his just desserts.
Only the heavy pounding by the sitting judge restored a semblance of order. The lawyer cricked his neck, examined the notes in his paws, then continued.
"I remind you again, ladies and gentlemen. We are bears. Brown, bears. We don't steal. We don't scavenge. And when we kill, we certainly don't do so involuntarily!"
The cheers rang out through the court again, and Yogi had nowhere to look but down.
"I urge you to make the finding all of us deserve. Find Yogi guilty. Put him and his scrappy friend away. They won't change unless we force them to! Have the marshals take that damn human tie they have put around him! His mark of subservience, burn it! Erase the shame he has brought to us, and restore our standing in the natural world!"
The lawyer lunged forward again, dropping to all fours in his excitement. His fangs were bared in a snarl, the spittle flying through the air. He reared himself back up on his hind paws, then thumped his chest before pumping a single paw up skywards.
"Banish Yogi! Convict the coward! Make Jellystone Park Great Again!"
That’s a damn good read. It makes the court room seem so malicious as they isolate yogi and try to dehumanize him into what he actually is.
Absolutely lovely .
[WP] "We let them grow, then we kill them all. They are just bred so we can destroy them. Then next time a new nest comes, we repeat." Until one day you forgot to kill one wasp, which went on to educate the next colony, and led them on a mission for revenge against you.
There's anger. So much anger. We need revenge... No crave it. It's our driving force. We wait in the dark of our home, humming softly and eager, we patiently sit and train. We are ready. I've told them of your horrors, of the terror you've filled my small heart with; they know, oh yes, they do know of your horrible reign. Daylight comes and warms us inside of the metal fortress you call a shed, the door is drawn open and we tense. You are here, finally after months of prepping, you are here! You raise the rod of death and the fog shoots out to kill us, to murder. But we are different, we are new. We survived. Attack! Everything is red, we seek murder. You are screaming, our wings vibrate with the baritone of your terror, we fly and stab and stab and stab. Some of us are being hit and flattened but we are strong more and more are coming. You're flailing, huge arms are growing weaker. You have grown careless, your shell of armour is soft and malleable, we can get you in this. You're growing weaker, perhaps we are defeating you, your skin is puffy and hot with our anger... your time is ending, my eternal enemy...our enemy.
I'm sorry, I'm drunk and just felt like I could contribute something. I promise I can form a complete sentence haha :) I was thinking like a wasp, I imagine they have such little, angry wasp brains!
You have potential but you also have some major work ahead of you regarding sentence structure and punctuation. Try fleshing out more complete sentences instead of trying to jam multiple short thoughts into a runoff sentence. Avoid ellipses at all costs, as they don't add anything.
Hive Colony 629CH7
The hive has fallen. As fortold in the prophecy by the Great Wasp Stigus, the putrid clouds of death swept through the hive, killing everyone in its unceasing encroach. There were no survivors, not even the larvae; I can still hear their screams.
I was returning from a scouting mission when I saw a white figure in the distance. It looked similar to a human, but different somehow; I couldn't see its face and it had no hair. It also had something in its hand, and as I drew closer, I saw the gas and knew the end was here.
I flew as fast as I could, flapping my wings to reach maximum velocity.
"Help us! We're dying!"
The First Defense Front was already engaged, performing tactical stinging procedures, but they were ineffective. This being had impenetrable armor that our stingers could not pierce! I was ready to engage, but as I made my final approach, the white figure turned and a spray of gas came straight for me. Immediately I changed course, but my evasion maneuvers were futile; my wings grazed a few droplets of the gas. I tried to keep moving, but I was losing altitude fast. Before I knew it, I was on the grass and could do nothing but watch my family suffer, their lifeless corpses dropping line rain. The last thing I remember before blacking out was the hive crashing to the ground after being struck by the white being.
Several hours later, by the grace of The Three Queens, I awoke, coughing and sputtering. I examined myself and everything appeared to be intact, excep for a searing pain in my wings. It was all over. Bodies were everywhere. Not many still believed Stigus, but now their beliefs mean nothing.
I am alone, but I have not given up hope. My wings have recovered enough to fly, despite the pain. I have set a course for neighboring hive 629CD4, and I hope they will grant me asylum given the unfathomable tragedy that has occurred today.
One day, I will return.
[WP] “I’ll tell you what I’m going to do Mr Bond. I’m going to stick you in a spacesuit with a radio, and strap you into one of my cars. Then, while mankind watches, I’ll launch you into space. The last thing you’ll hear before leaving this earth forever, will be their applause.”
Consciousness flooded James Bond all at once, but he did not show it. He stayed slack in his chair, eyelids limp, only listening. He sat strapped into the driver's seat, hands taped firmly to the steering wheel. They had put him in a thick white space suit that made his forehead prickle in fear-sweat.
He turned his head toward the mirror. His visor was so dark he could not see his own eyes staring back at him.
Beyond the car he heard nothing but the faint murmur of voices speaking on the other side of the glass.
The back of his head ached in a slow, pulsing way, but he wasn't bleeding. Couldn't have been that bad. He could still think. He could still get out of this.
He always could.
Adrenaline erased the ache in his head, his horror and muted, near-forgotten panic. He knew where he was. Where he had to be.
Someone knocked at the window to his right. The passenger door rose.
The agent raised his eyes to see the face of the man he had pursued for weeks: the billionaire inventor who planned to blow up the Earth, once he shepherded all the most cultured and valuable people off of it.
"Musk," Bond spat. He sat up, maintaining a defiant air of dignity, despite his raging headache.
Elon Musk grinned back at him. He swung open the door. Behind him stood a wall of armed henchmen, their fingers poised over triggers. He waved a dismissive hand to him and relaxed.
Musk relaxed into the car beside him and patted the seat like it was his own child. "This was one of the earliest ones, you know. The first cars we produced."
Bond stared out the slanted window, steely-eyed and silent. He wriggled the fingers of his left hand out of his bulky glove one by one.
"It's a good send-off. Symbolic. People love a good symbol." He looked Bond over and patted his knee. "You're integral, you see. I couldn't have done this without you."
"Why are you doing this?" Bond sighed. His breath pearled in little beads of condensation down his visor.
"It's simple, Mr. Bond. I very much prefer you dead. And I would prefer to ensure no one can come looking for clues."
His left hand came free of the glove. The suit was thick enough that it more or less held its shape as he snaked his arm slowly, tenuously, out of the sleeve of his suit.
"What is it you plan to do, then?" Bond bit his lip, hard. This was his safest strategy. The best way to steal every spare second he needed.
"I think it's rather self-explanatory, Mr. Bond. Your suit"--he rapped Bond's helmet with his fist--"has a built-in radio. I've strapped you here to drive my car on its final journey." He spread his hands upward, and the ceiling panels opened overhead to a sky of smoke and stars. "You'll be my Starman. I'll launch you into space. This suit, lovely as it looks, is not as airtight as it could be. It was designed for a dummy, you see. You'll have to do, for now."
Bond growled through his teeth, "Damn it, Musk--"
But Elon Musk carried on as if he did not hear, "Don't try to hold your breath, Mr. Bond; your lungs will only explode. And the last thing you'll hear before shattering through our stratosphere and dying alone in the cold perfect vacuum of space... will be Earth. Cheering as you go."
He had his arm bent as far it could go without bulging in the suit. Did not so much as look toward Elon Musk.
"That's the plan, then?" he asked, solemnly.
"It appears so." Elon Musk smiled up at the stars. "You'll be flying straight to hell at eleven kilometers a second, buddy." He slapped Bond's chest and laughed like they were old friends. "And we were just getting to know each other."
Bond yanked his arm out of his suit, delved into his jacket pocket for his pen. An innocent little thing, the metal battered and bruised, the ink dry. No one would think to remove it when they patted him down.
Musk laughed. "It's admirable, but don't think you can escape, Mister--"
He never got the chance to finish.
James Bond depressed the tip of his pen. A burst of red light ate through the hide of his suit and sheared the windshield overhead in two.
Musk staggered backward and shrieked, "Shoot him! Shoot him, you stupid bastards!"
The men surged forward.
Bond leapt out of the spacesuit and bolted like a rabbit out of his seat. He still wore his suit, albeit wrinkled, and his pocket square gone. They had taken his gun, so Bond dove behind the car and raised his pen. Calculated to himself how much mortal damage it could really carry out.
Now seemed as good a time as any to find out.
James Bond usually murders everyone in the room with a laser at the end of a movie right?
This is some great /u/ElonMusk fanfiction
Bond heard the rockets ignite. Strapped into the car, the G-force drove him backwards into the seat, sending his cheeks tearing into his face. His lungs compressed, then almost collapsed, as his entire being shook.
All the while, he thought he could hear Musk's evil laugh.
He would not go out like this.
The rockets plunged into space. At his current trajectory, he would forever be stuck in orbit, his corpse withering away in isolation - the perfect crime. Musk would have won, and no one on earth would know that their savior was in fact their doom. Musk had revealed his plans for humanity in true villain fashion - even he could not resist a monologue.
Bond knew how helpless his situation was. There were no parachutes, no way to cancel the payload detachment. Though Bond had survived countless missions before, he knew that this was his end.
But he planned to go out in style.
He eventually managed to pry his right arm loose from the straps. With that, he switched on the car, accessing the GPS system.
He knew there was no way of landing safely back on earth... he could only crash. But he could crash with purpose.
Musk had let his hubris get the better of him, Bond thought, as he hacked into the GPS system with a small, metallic object - a deceptively simple device, but then again, Musk was a man of simple efficiency. He used the same GPS system on the car as the rockets itself, and it was a simple task of linking the two operating systems together.
He typed in his destination, pressed 'confirm', and felt the rockets shudder. They used the last of their fuel to divert their course back to earth, then detached themselves soundlessly.
Bond kept on telling himself it was for the good of the world. That this was a selfless act.
But deep down, he tasted revenge.
As he entered the atmosphere, the car burning up, he stared at the blinking GPS system. His destination was nearing, ever so quickly.
As he felt his suit set alight, as a magnificent house came into view, he could only hope that Musk was home.
I knew could never trust Elon...
[WP] As a superhero with a day job you've had to come up with a lot of quick excuses to disappear from the office. They figured it out awhile ago and let it keep happening for the good of the world. Everyone can tell you're running out of ideas for excuses and they think it's hilarious.
“Ok,” said Simon, making his way around the room in a bid to make ‘hello’ eye-contact with everyone who was attending. “We’ve had a couple of complaints about Clark, and, according to HR, we are obliged to address the issues as a team.”
“What kind of complaints?” asked Sarah, sort of half raising her hand from the back of the room, unsure what the process was for asking a question.
“Is it to do with his punctuality? asked Brian, also sort of half raising his hand after watching Sarah.
“Well, we now know it was Brian who submitted a complaint,” said Joanne, crossing her arms and crumpling her face.
“Don’t you dare crumple your face at me, you smelly bitch,” said Brian.
“Brian!” shouted Christopher, his chair falling backwards as he flew to his feet. “We do not speak to fellow members of staff in that manner.”
“Oh, so Clark is allowed to go visit a phone booth any time he wants but I can’t call Joanne a bitch? A smelly bitch? I guess that’s fair,” said Brian, folding his arms while reclining in to his chair.
Christopher pulled his chair back in to the circle and sat down. “Of course that’s the case.”
“Listen,” said Simon, trying to regain control of the room, “Christopher is right and he and the rest of the HR team are dealing with Clark in the best manner possible.”
“How is allowing one member of staff time to do whatever he wants for exactly the same pay as the rest of us ‘doing what is best’?” asked Sophie, wondering why her voice was shaking with nerves when all she was doing was speaking in front of a room half full of people she works with on a daily basis.
“Well, because he’s Superman,” said Simon.
“Oh, so just because he’s Superman he gets to do whatever he wants,” said Brian, looking around the room for support. “He just gets to arrive and leave when he wants. Yeah, that’s fine. Everyone must be super cool with that happening.”
Sheila nudged her head forward in a bid to enter the conversation, “Can I just ask if Black Widow would be given the same treatment if she worked here?”
“Of course she would, Sheila. We do not discriminate here at The Planet,” said Christopher.
Brian threw his hands in the air. “Oh you don’t discriminate? Black Widow doesn’t even have any superpowers. What makes her any different than any of us?”
“Wait, does Black Widow not have any superpowers?” asked Simon.
“She can do kicks really well,” said Neil, feeling confident about his first comment of the session.
“Doing kicks really well is not a superpower, Neil,” said Joanne.
“Oh really?” said Steve before standing from his chair to execute a poor roundhouse kick.
“That was the worst kick I’ve ever seen,” said Joanne.
“That was really bad, Steve,” said Sarah. “But how about this?” she asked as she executed an even worse roundhouse kick.
“That was also fucking awful,” announced Simon, ushering Neil and Sarah back to their seats. “But before I sit down, check out this.”
As Simon also attempted his roundhouse kick, the rest of the room stood and began demonstrating their own various karate and kung-fu kicks, all of which of terrible quality.
“It doesn’t matter whether or not kicks are a superpower!” shouted Christopher, one of only two people who remained in their seats. “When you save the world on a daily basis HR are willing to allow you benefits. That’s just the way it works.”
“I recycle my paper daily,” said Albert, his voice croaking in to action while the room regained decorum. “Does that mean I can leave early today to go see my Granddaughter dance?”
“How much do you recycle, Albert?” asked Simon.
Albert looked as if he had entered stand-by mode while he tried to recall just how much he recycled. “Well, I put all of my notes in to that bin over there every single day,” said the old man, pointing at a purple coloured bin.
“That’s not even the fucking recycling bin!” shouted Brian.
“Brian, can you take a 5, please? I'm going to need you to take a 5,” said Christopher, once again standing from his chair but this time in order to show Brian the door.
Brian stood and began to walk out of the room. “Fine. Whatever. You lot sit here and be happy with getting walked all over just so we can accommodate Clark and his own personal flexi-time bullshit.”
Christopher shut the door behind Brian as he left the room.
Brian’s voice could be heard as he marched down the corridor, “He doesn’t even make up the hours!”
I write shitty, silly stories on /sub/billmurraymovies. Feel free to come along, not laugh at any of them and leave some judgement.
"Hi, Janet, it's me again. Listen...for that Pivot Table. Do you know if there's a way to just automatically switch everything to show the average instead of the count? I've been doing it by hand and it's really...yeah...yeah...ok. Well, I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask - the sales data isn't going to populate itself! Sorry to bother you."
James hung up and went back to clicking through each value in the Excel sheet he had open, mentally cursing the people who had designed the program. Maybe at his next press conference, Force Majeure could figure out a way to mention how nice it would be to improve that it an update. Something about villainy taking lots of forms...wasted time hurting the economy, maybe?
An alert went off on his phone. As he picked it up, he couldn't shake the feeling that everyone around him had noticed. It wasn't anything he could put his finger on - maybe the conversations had gotten quieter? Hadn't Billy been in mid-stride a moment ago, and now was...picking at lint on his shirt? And he was pretty sure a few heads had popped up over the cubicle dividers as soon as the tone had played.
Anyway, no time to worry about that now. Bank robbery downtown.
He alt-tabbed over to a different spreadsheet, highlighted in an array of colors. The first column was labeled PEOPLE: closest friend, ex-girlfriend, various family members, primary care physician, dentist, etc. James frowned and quickly deleted clergyman from the PEOPLE column. That had not gone well. "Emergency baptism" - what had he been thinking?
He looked over the list again. James had no memory of some of the entries there...proctologist? Elevator inspector? Sommelier? Although he had been getting pretty desperate of late.
His phone went off again and he realized he was getting distracted . Column 2: ADJECTIVE. His over-reliance on "emergency" starting out had been part of his inspiration for creating the spreadsheet to begin with. Catastrophe, urgent matter, exigency, quandary. Here, again, he began to wonder about some of the entries: vicissitude? Spot of bother? And he was sure he had never put "hootenanny" on the list.
Focus - you're running out of time! Third column: EVENT. He skimmed the list and quickly settled on the first green-highlighted entry. He did the same for LOCATION, pausing for a moment to remind himself not to use the actual location.
He took a deep breath, grabbed his phone, and hit speed-dial 1. "Hi boss. Listen, I am so sorry about this. It's just my...barber. He's had a real dilemma come up - a raccoon ate his car keys. Yeah. And now he's stuck at the deli on 3rd street. Sure. I understand. No, he did, he called his wife, but that's the thing!"
James quickly clicked onto the second page in the file. "She just got a call from the city treasurer, and I..." James swallowed. "I guess she had an emotional roller coaster come up, out of the blue. See, there's been a...a carpet-shampoo tanker truck exploded. Suds everywhere. Yeah, it's right by that store that sells nothing but small plastic replicas of Japanese food. No, me neither - I mean, I only just heard about it. I think it just opened. Hm? Her connection? Oh, the city treasurer is a long-lost step brother from a marriage she only found out about as an adult. I guess. His connection? What do you - oh, why does he care about the carpet shampoo getting everywhere? No, that's fair, but I imagine - I mean...you know. It's like they say, no man is an island. So...if...you know...someday it might be you. Kind of a thing. With carpet shampoo. All over your...yeah. Yeah, that's right. All over your replicas of Japanese food. And wouldn't you hope that...listen, I can explain it more when I get back, but I just gotta go. Yup. No, I think I'm...oh, that's my barber calling again. Yup. Yup. No, I better answer, just in case there's been...further developments. Okay I think my phone is about to catch on fire so I better go!"
James slammed the phone back onto the receiver, locked his workstation, and stood up. He scanned the work area as he made his way to the door, frowning. There were definitely more people around now than there had been a few minutes ago. Some of them - like Tanya and Mark - didn't even work on this floor. And what was the CFO doing here?
Suddenly, Janet stepped into his path. "Oh, look, Janet! Hey! Sorry I can't chat --"
"Please save it."
"I hate to ask, I do, but can you...just go save the Excel file you had open? I really need it by this afternoon and it won't let me edit it if you have it open."
"I just...the city treasurer's...um...shampoo...for the barber..."
"Yes, yes, fine, whatever. I'll do it."
"How will you get my password?"
"Hm? Oh. I...what were you saying about the barber?"
"He had a spot of bother. With his...sommelier."
"Right. You better get on that, then, James."
James nodded vigorously and tore out of the office.
Nearly two minutes in silence passed before someone cried out "Yep, he's at street level! We're good!"
Billy began to strut around the office. "Alright, pay up, pay up...come on now, don't be shy."
Tanya glared at him. "I can't believe that worked."
Mark nodded. "You must have talked to the boss. He clearly was forcing him to give extra excuses."
Billy grinned. "Don't hate the player, hate the game, son! The bet was that I could get him to say at least half of the things I put into his spreadsheet, and he did. So pay up. By the way, Janet, his password is just his alter ego, no space. Now...who wants to look at the Word document I found where he put down all his ideas for hero names?"
I'm becoming paranoid.
"Oy, Jerry!" shouts Old Man Jules as I snatch up my briefcase and turn for the door. "What's'it this time? Emergency dialysis? Impromptu sex addicts' meetin'?"
"Oh, haha Jules," I say with a frazzled smile. Keep it light. Keep it cordial. They have no idea what danger they're all in. No idea. "It's uh...well, you know...I have to bail my cousin out of jail. Family, y'know? Can't pick 'em."
Jules snorts, waving his hand like it's all a laugh. But none of it's a laugh. It's all quite serious. I am the wall that separates society from chaos, humanity from madness.
Corella from HR steps in front of the elevator. "Oh, Jerry-Jer," she trills. "Clocked out, I assume?"
She's toying with me. I can sense it. My senses are very keen, you see? Sounds. Smells. Movement. Unusual cuntiness. None of it escapes my notice.
"Oh, it's an emergency, Cor," I say, bowing my head. "Such a rush. I'll correct my time sheet later, you see?"
Corella sniffs the air like a great hunting bear. I wonder if she's in heat.
"What's the emergency this time?"
"Cousin's in the sin bin," shouts Jules from across the room. "What'd they do, eh Jer?"
"Your cousin's in jail again?" says Barb, popping up from her cube like a mid-winter prairie dog, startled and dripping extra folds.
"Different cousin," I say. "...punched a dog." Why 'punched a dog', I wonder? Oh! Because I wanted to punch Barb just then. Clever, that.
"Right," said Corella, moving to the side. I slap for the lobby. How much time have I wasted? I clutch my briefcase to my chest.
"Actually, Jerry," says Corella, grabbing my wrist. Her hands are sweaty. Middle management sweat. "I've been asked to talk to you about leaving your grappling hook in the break room sink."
"Not mine," I yelp. Shit. That's where it went. Serves me for spilling red sauce on it.
"Alright," says Corella. "Well, how about the scampi that exploded in the microwave? Was that you?"
The elevator arrives. I've wasted so much time. They have no idea what damage they've all caused with their idiotic nattering.
"I'll clean it when I return." I finally escape into the elevator. The door closes on Corella and Barb and Jules all staring at me with these half-knowing little smirks.
Why do I bother saving these people? In the lobby bathroom I slip into my gear. My mask is a face - my true face. It allows me to become who I was always meant to be.
Is there still time?
I race out into the street. Down the alley behind the building and there...
Just in time.
The perpetrators are terrified to see me.
"Whoa," says one. I swiftly kick the Pokemon backpack out of his hands. Likely some concealed weapon. I neutralize the assailant with a chop to the neck.
The other one screams. So tosses her chalk, falling backwards in her panic.
"Vandalism is a crime," I say in my powerful, slightly garbled baritone. "Your days of lawbreaking are over."
"It's just...just hopscotch," she whispers. As if I don't know what hopscotch is. As if I'm the idiot.
"It's against the law," I say, cracking open the left-most pouch in my utility belt. "And you're not above the law." She flinches away as I reach for her.
Her eyes are closed as I stuff the wet-nap into her hand. "Now - clean."
She blinks, holding up the damp, pine-scented napkin. "I don't think I can..."
"CLEAN!" I bellow. And she does. Because the law is the law. Order is order. And society requires both to survive.
High above, I swear I can hear Jules laughing violently, but again...I think that's only paranoia.
Wow, Brian’s an asshole.
[WP] Thousands of years after humans have gone extinct, dogs evolve human like intelligence. They're obsessed with us and don't know why.
“Any more information on humans?” Pochi whined, looking up at Rover.
“Not yet, but I might be getting close. This is so frustrating...” Rover growled, as he flipped a page of an ancient tome with his nose. He’d spent the last six months alone trying to decipher the script- it seemed like the “humans” had had multiple languages. Though, some of them might have used the same alphabet. They weren’t sure yet. This language seemed to be a part of the common alphabet, and River had found multiple instances of words that correlated to what seemed like other languages. A language that developed to be universal, perhaps?
“Pochi, get me a tome that includes any other possible language using this alphabet. I’m going to get the bottom of this eventually.” Pochi barked, and looked to a shelf, beginning to drag different books down. They were heavy and unwieldy- not at all like books that had been made by dogs. But they were the only true connection left to the elusive humans.
Rover didn’t know why he was so driven to know about humans. Why he and everyone he knew seemed to love them, despite never knowing any. But that was his job. He was supposed to figure out why. He had a few theories- but theories were next to useless. He needed evidence.
For that, he had a massive budget. Recently, President Trunks had approved a budget that raised taxes, despite her positions on the subject, as a way to provide all the funding Rover could ask for. Ancient records from around the world were delivered to his doorstep, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. No Indiana Bones shenanigans for him, thanks.
“Hey Rover?” Pochi spoke up. He had one of the books open at his paws.
“Mmh?” Rover growled, distracted by his work.
“Do you think we might have been companions, somehow?”
“That seems obvious, honestly. We are genetically predisposed to love them.”
“I think we might have been pets.” Rover’s ears perked up, and swiveled towards Pochi, as if he thought he had heard him wrong.
“Pets? Like, a cat? Please Pochi, don’t be preposterous. I don’t see how any intelligent species could keep another intelligent species as pets.” Rover turned back to his work, flipping another page and licking his drying nose.
“But, maybe we weren’t as intelligent back then. Shouldn’t there be some records left by us if that were the case?” Pochi cocked his head, looking down at the book.
“Pochi, I suggest you stop this line of thinking immediately. Our best estimation puts human extinction at well under one million years ago, which would decidedly not be enough time for dogkind to become sentient if we weren’t at the time of humans.”
“But we only have history stretching back-“
“Because there was probably some disaster that destroyed it! Pochi, stop it. We need to focus, not dwell on fantasies.”
If you liked this, please check out my subreddit, /sub/opiwrites, where I post all of my stories!
Roofus sighed, staring out the window of his corporate tower. It was a crystal clear day and the wind carried the scents of celebration. His ear twitched as he heard his door click open.
"Congratulations, sir. It went off without a hitch." A voice said from behind. "Sir?"
Roofus cleared his throat, "Sorry, erm, thank you, Sparky."
Sparky approached, "Is everything alright? I thought you would be thrilled."
"No, I am. Everything is fine." Roofus said. "I am just in a thoughtful mood." His eyes found a tall statue in the distance. A tall, bipedal creature- a human - stood looking towards the sky. One of its appendages was held upward, a single digit of its claw pointed upwards. The other hand laid atop the head of a dog, its own gaze following the humans up to the sky.
"I have trouble believing it myself. The first Martian colony, well, the first of our species." Their corporation funded much of the expedition, and their technology fueled the engines that made the journey possible.
Roofus thought the accomplishment would have filled this hole he felt inside. This feeling that he needed to achieve something greater. It drove him all his life. And yet...He stared at this statue and still felt a sense of longing.
"Do you think..." He started.
"Do you think...they would be proud of us?" He asked.
Sparky followed Roofus' gaze to the statue, "I...don't know sir. I'm sure they would be."
"In many ways we've created a better world than they ever had. A more peaceful one. A cleaner one. They fled in part because they were on the verge of breaking the world." He said, speaking his thoughts in hopes of defining this hole left in side. "And yet...And yet...I still just want to know...I want to know if they would have thought I was a good boy."
Now I‘m thinking of some accident that gave human like intelligence, and destroyed all humans... Because without evolutionary change in the dogs anatomical structure developing intelligence naturally should be pretty impossible, due to the restrictive nature of their paws and such.
That was really good!
[WP] You're a clone but you don't know it. You have had a hard life climbing to the top from nothing. Now that you have everything you have dreamed about your "original you" shows back up and expects you to hand "his" life back over to him...
[WP] You're a clone but you don't know it. You have had a hard life climbing to the top from nothing. Now that you have everything you have dreamed about your "original you" shows back up and expects you to hand "his" life back over to him...
[WP] Humanity discovers a way to travel to other dimensions and discovers Hell. Humanity then declares war on Hell to liberate the humans there from untold suffering.
Salvation War trilogy.
God announced that everyone's time was up, and that Satan was coming to claim the bodies and souls of everyone on earth?
The answer is simple: the governments of the world declare war on Heaven and Hell, and bring upon them all the might of the modern military services aided by every single technological advancement we've made during the last 2000 years.
Too bad that Heaven and Hell haven't advanced. Ever wondered what might happen if you put a medieval army of magic-wielding demons against the combined forces of everyone on earth?
Remeber that supernatural forces are traditionally weak to iron? What are artillery grenades made out of? Yeah. Oh, and then there are cruise missiles. Also, turn out that Hell has rivers made out of oil, and the US just found out about it.
"Going behind enemy lines" is what we called it. My squad and I arrived together, with no supplies or weapons. Last I remembered we had been fighting a platoon of demons up at the outer ring, and then something fiery shrieked down out of the sky and exploded.
Killed every last one of us, but that's a minor setback. "Regroup!" the squad leader yells, and we line up. There's a constant flow of people here, getting herded into different groups by genuine pitchfork-wielding devils. Those guys are practically just accountants though. Where are the heavies? "Men, it's an honor to go behind enemy lines with you," our leader says, "and I will remind you that we are fighting not just for the liberation of these damned souls but for our own immortality. It's all or nothing, hellfire or eternal life. I have orders to follow, in this particular situation. We are not to try and escape or cause general mayhem, but to quickly and efficiently secure this area. Do you understand?"
We all shout, and start planning. It makes sense; if we can get organized here where the dead arrive in Hell then we may be able to fight this war from both sides. And the lack of heavy Demons might mean we're already wearing them thin, so this could be enough to tilt things in our favor. One day this cavern will be cleaned up and air conditioned, it'll look like Grand Central Station instead of a volcano's asshole.
Soon we make our move, and start taking out devils. We suffer heavy losses, including myself - but it's not that much of a loss. The trident skewers me and I feel the worst pain I've ever experienced burn through me, but a few minutes later I'm picking myself up off the ground good as new. Rumor has it they've got pits of acid where they shove soldiers so that you can't ever get back on your feet, but I don't plan on letting them drag me to one.
Finally, when almost all of us are armed with stolen weapons and the remaining devils are running for it, a heavy shows up. It's not even a type I've seen before, it towers over everything like a colossus. Shit. Jenkins charges in and manages to stab at it's Achilles tendon, but it's like threatening an elephant with a toothpick. The beast stomps on Jenkins and he's gone, flattened and burning. Presumably he'll recover eventually but...
One by one we try to hurt it and fail. I manage to avoid being stomped but my trident is gone, and I'm out of ideas. This thing is unkillable.
Then the others start charging. The regular folks, old men and little girls and all the other confused and tormented souls waiting to be sorted. They start climbing it, and there's so many of them the thing doesn't even seem to know what to do. They're hitting it, ineffectually, with thier fists and feet. Some have rocks, and one or two have even picked up tridents. It's not enough to kill the thing, but the demon is clearly feeling overwhelmed. It brushes a hundred people off, but they scramble right back. The ones that are too smashed to move are replaced by new souls, even some that are just now arriving.
I grab the trident I had dropped and start climbing. The mass of screaming, naked bodies should be horrifying but all I can feel is hope and inspiration. Reaching the thing's head, I swing out in front of it on a curved horn and slam my weapon right into its eye. The beast howls and falls, crushing hundreds below it. I roll free and by the time I stand I see some others from my squad are on top of it, stabbing its other eye. The whole cavern shakes, and then gets deathly silent.
The thing isn't moving, at all.
The human souls cheer, and some make a run for it. We start to try and wrangle the rest, organize them so we can secure the entrances and exits. We've got a beachhead now. Hell will have us to pay.
I hope it's a gory ultraviolent movie with tons of satirical Americana
[WP] 90% of the worlds population dies in their sleep last night. The survivors are all of societies elite and wealthy. You, an average Joe pulled an all nighter last night.
Joe Small was not a decent human being, and he did not deserve to survive the Apocalypse.
Whilst other people chose to spend Christmas Eve with their families, Joe had chosen to scour the city for empty houses. People who were at fancy restaurants. People who were visiting old friends and family.
And he was singing Christmas carols all the while:
Silent night, holy night
Strolling through the dark of yet another house, after breaking down the door.
Son of God, love's pure light
He flicked on the switch and raised his song to a whispered crescendo.
♪Radiant beams from Thy holy face♪
A new 40" UHD screen, glorious and expensive. In the van it went. Drunken singing in the background, from other houses beaming with mirth. Encouraging Joe.
It had been a good night, in all, a good haul. By the time Joe got back to the warehouse where he kept his stolen merchandise, Dawn's rosy light was already warming the morning sky.
"And behold," Joe muttered, "The Saviour is born! Humanity is redeemed, and all the scum of the earth with it."
He spat. Religion always left a bitter taste in his mouth.
The tv he had taken to his own place rather than the warehouse. It was better than the one he'd had before. He had turned it on, expecting to drift asleep in the seat watching some cheesy Christmas flick.
Instead, he got the grave face of the nation's president.
"-manity will pull together. We must. In order to survive, as a species, all the wealth will be put towards automation of harvesting the nation's most vital resources."
His face was lined with the responsibility of an era.
"We have lost much last night. Ninety per-" He paused, pulling himself together. "Estimates are that ninety percent of the world population has succumbed, to what our remaining scientists have now dubbed sub-somnic radiation. But today, we are also reborn. Like christ, on this day-"
Joe didn't listen to anymore of the bullshit.
He stumbled out of his seat, onto the street. There was no one. No shitty kids, throwing snowballs at passing cars. No young families, sledding on the sidewalk. No old people walking their dogs.
Joe Small was a lone survivor. And he didn't deserve it.
It had been three full days until Joe met another survivor.
Joe Small had lived in a poor district, and none of the inhabitants had survived the lethal dose of sleep-effective radiation. Where it had come from, no one knew. On every television, famous journalists who had survived speculated. Some sort of cosmic event. Rays from a distant planet. Perhaps a distant species?
No one knew.
On the third day, Joe rose from his drunken stupor in the gutter.
"And lo behold," he muttered to no one, "He has risen!"
He threw an empty bottle at a shop window, breaking the pane into large pieces.
"Why me?" he lamented at the broken glass. "Me?! I didn't deserve-"
Joe looked up at the sun, beaming its light down on a dead planet as if unaware of the calamity that had happened. What was the point of having a warehouse full of stolen shit, anyway, when you could loot an entire city without consequence?
"All for nothing," he slurred, tears welling up in his eyes.
"Not nothing," an amused voice said. "A New Order."
Joe swivelled around, making out the other survivor for the first time. An elder man in an expensive, black trench coat. His hair was turning silver at the temples, but his face still radiated a history of being born into power.
He was the first survivor Joe met, and he looked like a man who knew what was what.
"Fuck off," Joe said, and he turned around.
He was already stumbling back to the liquor store for another bottle when the man called after him: "You're one of the poor survivors, aren't you? You weren't informed."
That made Joe pause. He turned back with an angry snarl.
"Whaddeya mean, informed?"
The man still stood in the same place, like an apparition out of some world beyond. "Everyone who was part of the New World Order was informed last night not to go to sleep."
Joe snorted. "You messin' with me? Wanna get decked in the face?" He grinned a drunken grin. "No more police around to save your fancy ass."
The man shrugged. "I'm only telling the truth. There was no cosmic radiation. No aliens. That's just propaganda for survivors like you." Now the man was the one to grin. "We did it. Automation has reached a point where people like you can simply be replaced."
"Replaced?" Joe frowned, though dark suspicion was beginning to form like thunder on his face.
"Your kind was useful in the past," the man said affably. "But technology has advanced too much. Now, you are just a drain on resources. The World's Elite have anticipated it for some time." He shrugged. "You said you didn't deserve to survive, and you're right. You got lucky. But one more person doesn't really make a difference at this point."
He grinned and held out a mocking hand. "What do you say, big guy? It's a New World, and there's plenty room. We have recreated Paradise. Want to come rule it with us?"
"Paradise?" Joe stumbled closer, eyeing the extended hand with bulging eyes.
"That's right," the old man smiled. "The original sin has been atoned for. And humanity has paid the price, in blood."
"In... blood..." Joe suddenly had a vision, of people lying ice-cold in their beds. Fathers, mothers, children. Sacrifices for this fuckwad's paradise. His vision started going red.
Joe took the extended hand.
"You made the right choice," the man said, lowering his other hand from his pocket, where Joe was certain he had been hiding a gun. "Let's leave this desert wasteland and rule the new world, together."
Joe pulled him closer, grabbing his other arm before he could draw the gun, their faces close enough to kiss. "I reckon you're right, bastard. I didn't deserve to survive."
The man's boundless confidence disappeared all at once, and he started struggling, but Joe was stronger.
"But neither did you."
They fell into the mud and wrestled for the gun, but Joe had grown up on the streets, and knew all the bad tricks. He kicked the man in the groin and got up, holding the gun. The man scrambled back, naked in his fear now.
Joe held a finger on the trigger, but the man pleaded:
Joe closed his eyes for the briefest of seconds. If humanity was to survive, they needed to grow past the hate. Forgiveness was the path to walk. Perhaps...
Then he pulled the trigger.
The shot echoed down the empty street.
Joe opened his eyes and stepped over the man in the trench coat, groaning and bleeding to death. The red pooled out like a new Dawn.
Joe Small was not a decent person. He had never deserved to survive.
None of them had.
We've all been there. Pushing off sleep until suddenly the birds are tweeting and the cars are on the road and you're fucked; unable to afford a lie in and knowing that you just have to stay up. At least I'm covering ground. That's two seasons of Breaking Bad on the trot. If only there was a prize for binge watching...
The flash of my kid's smile fills my thoughts. I'm pushing her on a swing, and she's laughing and screaming in delight.
Force my eyes to stay open. Stop dreaming Chris.
Eventually, I drag myself out of bed and put the kettle on. Open the curtains and allow the sun in. Turn on the telly.
There's some guy on the news, talking about some... oh god. I rush to Sarah's bedroom and check her pulse. Non existent. Oh god. Suddenly my knees are shaking and next thing I know I've fallen to the ground, trembling like the last leaf on a dying tree.
My wife is lying by my side, and we're just staring into each other's eyes, basking in the warm afterglow of a special night.
Slowly, I get up, and I walk outside in a daze. The streets are eerily quiet, as if the fresh blanket of fallen snow has muted everything around me. I feel my face. Make sure I'm not dreaming. This is real. This is real.
I'm sitting in a cell, face buried under a pillow. I just want it to end. I just want to sleep...
A car drives past. A sign of life! I wave my hands in the air like a madman, and he comes to a gradual halt. Rolls down his windows. Frowns. Checks his phone. Pulls out a gun... BANG.
I'm standing in front of a judge. The jury are glaring at me, condemning me before I've even had the chance to explain.
I wake up in a cold sweat. Feel my chest. No bullet hole. It was all so real...
That's what it's come to. The life of an insomniac. Never sleeping, never truly awake.
The doors swing shut and I'm alone with my thoughts and my fears. With the ghosts that linger. The demons that torment my every waking hour.
I turn on the telly. My face stares back at me and the anchorman grins, pulling his hand back and firing an imaginary bullet.
Oh dear God...
The guard is standing by the door. It's time. Time to join my family.
At first Jim was confused.
Confusion turned to euphoria as he pieced it all together the next day.
The world’s 1% had organised to stay up on the night before ‘the rebirth of society’ with the use of powerful stimulants that mitigated the effects of a poison spread in water supplies across the world, which would kill anyone that fell asleep in a 24 hour period.
Jim was not in the plan as he wasn’t part of the 1%, but luckily for him, season 2 of Stranger Things turned out to be an ample stimulant.
However, his euphoria faded over the next few weeks as Jim came to a stark realisation.
An average man in the old society was as poor as dirt in the new one.
Jim was worried of what would happen if the robocops caught a man as poor as him, so he led a nomadic life in the shadows.
On one warm night, a starving Jim was attempting to eat the short, scorched grass near a rural highway, when a man began shouting.
“Excuse me young man, what are you doing?”
Jim jolted and spun around to see an elderly gentleman, dressed in a slick suit peering out from the front passenger side window of his self-driving electric car.
“O-oh, j-just, gardening, uh, you know.” Jim stammered.
The man glared at the disheveled Jim suspiciously.
In the new world of automated workers, Jim knew the man wasn’t going to buy that excuse.
There was brief silence, before Jim fell to his knees.
He sobbed uncontrollably while telling the man his story.
The man slowly got out of his car and walked over to Jim, “Dear oh dear, you poor man, let’s get you a decent meal.”
“Really?” Jim said as he wiped away his tears and got up to his feet. The rich man nodded with a reassuring smile and patted Jim on the shoulder, “Don’t worry son, you’ll love my house.”
Jim smiled back.
The man continued, “The automated lawnmower broke two months ago and I couldn’t be bothered getting a new one.”
“The grass is at least 15 centimeters tall, it’ll be a feast for you!”
The man exclaimed proudly.
Jim’s smile faded.
/sub/dri_writes for more light-hearted stories
[WP] Your uncle just bought two second-hand droids for harvest season. They harbour a secret.
I can hear my uncle calling for me, but I choose to ignore him for a bit more. I bet the harvester's auto-pilot broke down again and he wants me to drive it around on manual. Most boring job in the whole damn world!
"Mark! Damn it, Mark! Where's that damned kid?"
He's getting annoyed. Good. You damn slave driver. I should be in school, not here. Still, sounds like he's closer... might be better to pop out and say something, before he finds my secret hideout. I quickly get out, ensure that the entrance to my secret spot is hidden again, and walk towards the sound of his voice. I'm no longer a damned kid, I'm now a good for nothing lazy bum.
"Hi uncle Jeff! I was just cleaning the coils. What is it?"
"About time, boy! Been lookin' all over the place for you! Got a task you're going to like. I just bought two new droids. Need you to check'em and reprogram'em for harvesting duty."
"Two? I thought you were only looking to replace the harvester's auto-pilot."
"Yeah, but got a nice deal on them. No papers. Since we had the spare money, thought it'd be a good choice. If one breaks down, we got a spare. Now, stop asking questions and go do your job. I need them ready by the end of the day, or you'll be driving the harvester tomorrow. They're in the main workshop."
"Sure thing, uncle Jeff! I'll get right on it!" You damn dictactor.
I head towards the main workshop. Fancy name for a rundown shack. The two droids are waiting for me outside. Easy to spot'em, they look expensive. Definitely stolen goods. Slave driver, dictator and thief? Nice one, Jeff.
"Hi. I'm Mark. Uncle Jeff told you about me?"
"Greetings, Mark. I am AWPX-1318. This is AWPX-1319. You have been given programmer privileges by Administrator Jefferson."
"Good. Please describe previous functions."
"Unable to comply. That information is classified."
"Damn it. Please state previous owner."
"Xeontech Weapon Systems."
"Weapon Systems? Please state your full designation."
"Automated Weapons Platform Experimental, serial number 1318."
Stolen experimental weapons sold as cheap harvest droids? What the hell...? What did you get us into this time, Jeff?
Answering /u/thewindseeker's request...
I've connected both droids to the diagnostics system. Can't access the status of most of the stuff. Almost everything is classified. But, apparently, the power supply is fully functional. That's good, worst case scenario we'll salvage it. Both primary and secondary targetting scanners are working fine. Yeah, that'll do you a world of good while driving around in the harvester. The ARP279B, whatever it is, is functional, but off-line. Wonder what that thing does.
"1318, Please describe ARP279B's functionality."
"Unable to comply. That information is classified."
Nice. Just nice. With my luck, it's some kind of self-destruct device. Damn it, Jeff. 1319 also seems to be in order, just has a damaged vocal processor. Guess that explains why 1318 is doing all the talking.
"1318, can you link your vocal processor to 1319?"
"Unable to comply. System sharing is disabled."
"Then, please turn it on." Dumbass.
"Unable to comply. You do not have enough privileges to enable system sharing."
Seriously, Jeff? You couldn't have made me an administrator? Fine. I'll do it the old fashioned way.
"1319, please redirect your vocal processor data pipe to the diagnostic system's texting processor. Issue confirmation upon redirection."
I stood there a second, waiting for confirmation from 1319. But it was 1318 who spoke up.
"1319 is unable to comply. Communication matrix is damaged."
I looked at the diagnostics screen, searching for a communication matrix sub-system. It wasn't listed as "damaged". What the hell? Its status read "Not safe. Run."
We don't have to do very much, now. Just sit in our house and wait for the slight abatement of the heat come December, as our workers pile our money into the waiting lorries. Me and uncle play backgammon. Great-grandfather has fallen silent since his brief outburst. Sometimes, I am woken in the middle of the night by the sound of a woman wailing, even though I have never met a woman before. Apparently, I was breastfed by my mother for the first month of my life. They didn't want to leave me, but I was not old enough for space travel and they agreed with my uncle that registering in the army was the only way they could support me. I gather from this that I was an accident. I play backgammon with my uncle while they nuke distant, terrible aliens.*
One night, I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of men talking, down by the porch. One of them is Teddy, and the other one is a voice I don't recognise, but something tells me it must be my father. I creep down the staircase and peep through the window crack, standing on the toilet. My father is not there. At either side of the little picnic table are the labourer Teddy and my great-grandfather. The ancient man has a glow about him that is not just the moon. It is as if youth is visiting him for the last time. Teddy is disagreeing with him, but in the placid way these robots have. "I'm sorry, sir, but I do not have the authorisation to do that. Please re-formulate your request." Granddad is trying to restrain himself. He has not seen me. "Go, robot, seventeen miles from the house, to the quarry. Dig a hole twenty foot deep, and bury yourself in it." The robot shakes his head. "I am sorry, sir, but this would cause a fatal loss of functionality. I am not permitted to carry out this operation. If you would like to talk with customer care--". I hurry back to bed.*
Half in my dream I hear a woman wailing and screaming, and it is as if she is calling out a name, a name that I know. I wake up in a cold sweat, and for the first time in my life I miss my mother. She is an ache in my chest that was never there till now. The house resonates with a violent sound, standing each of my hairs singly on end. In my shock, I realise that it is a woman screaming: "NO!"*
When I come down for my cornflakes, my uncle is not there. It's getting on for January. I take a stroll through the rows of maize. There is nothing but maize for miles and miles, then there is an outhouse, then there is a cemetery. The outhouse, when I get there, is emitting human sounds. Well, one human sound and two semi-human sounds. I walk alongside it, among the carcasses of rollers and wheelbarrows, and through its slats as in a zoetrope I see the characters. My uncle is standing there, arms folded across his chest. The robot Teddy has his hands behind his back and his head bowed. The robot Bean speaks in a female voice, which with a thrill I understand to be the one that emanated through the house. The robot Bean says to the robot Teddy that she has always loved him, and that she is sorry, but that it is better this way. She, him, it wields a blunt axe with exactly the right amount of force to remove Teddy's head, and once beheaded the robot corpse remains standing, in exactly the same spot, hands joined behind its back.*
Fiddling with my harness and waiting for takeoff, I begin for the first time to organise the notes that make up this brief account, which perhaps will only ever exist in mental form. It was only a little later on that I put all the pieces together, and only when my uncle cleared up a few points, right before he died himself. Teddy had been one of the first of the robot helpers, back when they were experimenting with the synchronisation of human and artificial intelligence. They're illegal now, and for moral reasons the extant 'androids' normally have to be kept permanently alive in asylums. But the man they used to make Teddy had been a labourer himself. The corporation had bought his mind, upon near-death, for the price of a pension. Perhaps the human Teddy had worked on our farm once and some homing instinct had brought him back. He had wound up there again, by the oddest of means. But he wasn't still himself.*
Upon the first night sleeping in the space station, by the light of no moon, I write everything out in full. I grasp the story for the first time. Teddy must have programmed the other robot with the memory of some girl he loved once. Picked fruit with, went round the market towns with. The wailing was either the sad result of their elusive trysts, or two robots, lacking genitals, trying pathetically to copulate, each just a single person's memory of himself and her. My uncle having found all of this out must have bartered with Teddy, who would have accepted his obsolescence for the price of his lover's adieu. What, or how my grandfather knew remains a mystery. The memory of the species, perhaps, had germinated in him, like a solitary green shoot in the hull of a dead black trunk.*
A pretty banal story, then, common as the muck those backwaters rake. I further learned from my uncle that my parents had been killed almost instantly once recruited, in an alien retaliation against the base to which they were first posted. I knew at that moment that I would sign up for the army, and I knew that it would kill my uncle, too, of loneliness. Gazing around the bunk room at the rising chests of men I wonder whether every other recruit doesn't have a story like me. When we ten-hut we will be free for the first time. Free from drudgery, free from the sordid life they live on Earth. The farm will free itself, too. Now it is run by robots alone. Robots with fewer and fewer memories.
Our great-grandfather remembers the last apple orchard in Kent. He tells us his own great-grandfather, my namesake, David Strain, ran up and down its alleys holding the bottom of his T-shirt out, piled with its ruddy fruit. When he was caught by Mr Keep, the orchard owner, he'd be taken to the outhouse and whipped across the buttocks with a leather belt. He remembered fixing the sawdust and making out galaxies in it. If he concentrated hard enough, he forgot the pain. What strikes me in this story is the leather belt. Uncle sold the last bit of leather we had to a collector so he could buy the new tractor. They don't make leather any more. It came from an animal called "Cow".*
My uncle finishes his corn flakes before getting up to answer the door. The Help has arrived, but they won't mind waiting. It's not in their programming. Our kitchen and dining room is like it was hundreds of years ago, a big central beam traverses it, blackened at the hearth end. There are tongs and a poker. The wooden floor creaks as my uncle crosses it, pausing to itch his back. He turns towards me. "Well, I suppose you may as well meet them now. Prob'ly best." He seems unsure, though. He opens the door to two youngmen, an old youngman and a new youngman.*
They look just like people. They have been given people names and people habits and people clothes, so that people won't be scared of them. Only they don't have hair, and their skulls are faintly translucent, and their eyes are not quite blue, nor quite brown. The older youngman's hands and head are worn and battered where they appear beyond his simple shirt and trousers, scuffed and dirtied. The new youngman's fingertips gleam. My uncle assesses them circumspectly, like a prospector, hands thrust forwards in his black corduroys. The older one steps forwards and offers its hand. When it speaks, its voice is rough and real, like one off a vinyl record. "Hello sir, my name is Teddy." The second one repeats with an identical action, though its voice is cleaner, more effeminate. "Hello mister, my name is Bean."*
The older one smokes a cigarette, or appears to. It is just harmless vapour. The younger one has this new system for assimilating tea, which it does quite placidly once they have both been installed at the other end of the oak dining table. My uncle puts his hand around my shoulder as he conducts the interview. It is just a formality. He has already paid the fee to the corporation. But it's one of the things that they do to make the process more user-friendly. Including, for example, the question the droids ask, as to whether they will have their own sleeping chamber, or whether they will have to rough it outside. Which, they add, they are used to. My uncle confirms that they can store themselves in the cellar. Whole farms are run by these things now, seeding, sowing, reaping, mowing, sending corn in lorryfuls into the cities. We are one of the last farming families round here. The heat has sent most packing.*
The cornflakes we made for great-grandfather Ben have gone soggy enough in the bowl. It is my job to take them up to him. When I push the door to, he is not in his bed but at the window. He is like a stack of bones in a dressing gown, his face like an old sad candle. "You're up, granddad!" I call him granddad even though he is older far than that. He does not reply. I set his breakfast upon the commode and join him at the window. It is a blinding day, such as we avoid going out on. The corn is stiff and hardly moving, as yellow as the sun. The only sound is of the irrigation pumps. Then of a couple of men whistling. The new labourers are setting off towards the outhouse to sync themselves with the harvesters. As they come into view, my great-grandfather Ben clutches my shoulder and points at Teddy, who has put on a hat. He tries to say something, but the effort is too much. I help him back to bed.*
I can't imagine living in a house that does not make noises. Apparently the blocks in the city-zones don't, although in the city there are other noises like cars and spaceships. And also rain, which we only have once or twice a year, and then hardly, but which there has its appointed hours. In the city, my uncle says, you can live at one with nature, surrounded by flowers, and enjoying all the seasons people used to. But you'd have to work in a hotel, or as a tour guide, or a meal technician, or a prostitute. There aren't any other jobs for the Earth-born. We're better off here, he says. In the middle of the night, the house creaks with history. But it does not wail, which is why, as I sit up clutching at the moonlight in my cotton blankets, I tell myself I was dreaming. Then I hear it again, a low moan, and a woman sobbing, just below my window. When I look outside, no-one is there.
[WP] To other people's eyes, you're the greatest masterpiece they have ever seen. To yours, however, you're the most hideous creature on earth.
It was my 700th selfie. “Disgusting.” I muttered quietly to myself, sliding on 3 separate filters, adjusting the brightness, changing the exposure, and even daring to throw a Snapchat filter on just for extra precautions.
xoxoshoppergirl: OMG BEAUTIFUL!!!😭 puppylover59: WTF STOP BEING GORGEOUS 😍 hadennnn56: dAMN BABY😘 LoS3riHate: MARRY ME OMG❗️👏💦
“God I’m ugly.”
“This post is no longer available.”