Twelve Days of Fast Fiction, Day 08: AWAY IN A MANGER

Posted: 20 December 2012 in 12DaysFF, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , ,

Tony Lee has written comics, screenplays, novels and short stories.

Although we only met about a decade ago, we both wrote for the BBC Radio show Weekending many years before that. The show is no longer broadcast. There is no causation there. No provable one, anyway.

Tony has the world’s largest collection of invisible objects.

Title: Away In A Manger
Word: stem-cell
Challenger: Tony Lee
Length: 200 words exactly

For some, it was an annual pilgrimage. For others, it was their first time, curiosity prodded by media reports. Whatever the reasons, just before the year ended, the queues ran around the museum, all there to see one exhibit.

The Manger.

People had been trying for tens of thousands of years to recreate the authentic Scene at the Nativity; it eventually fell to scientists working in entirely separate fields (ethology, radiology, and the ancient almost trivial field of stem-cell research) to combine with a consequence entirely unforeseen: time viewing. You could now reach back, if only briefly, and actually witness events from the past.

It took only three weeks for the museum to licence the horrendously expensive equipment and then to recreate the scene they desired.

The museum’s owners were justly proud of the veracity of their nativity, witnessed so many millennia ago.

Their manger was real wood; the animals, though genetically engineered to be visitor friendly, appeared genuine.

Their actual baby Jesus was the highlight, however; that’s what everybody came to see.

And indeed, people cried when they saw it.

Real plastic, identical to the 1978 scene the viewers had witnessed.

It even said “mama” on schedule as well.

© Lee Barnett, 2012

This story is part of The Twelve Days of Fast Fiction (More information on the Twelve Days here)
Day 01: Why Can’t Reindeer Fly? – challenger: Neil Gaiman
Day 02: Around and Around Again – challenger: Wil Wheaton
Day 03: Hell Comes To Greenland – challenger: Jason Arnopp
Day 04: It Shines Like Mud – challenger: Greg Rucka
Day 05: Frederick The Unopened Package – challenger: Amanda Palmer
Day 06: Under Hetty Pegler’s Tump – challenger: Warren Ellis
Day 07: The Impossible Box – challenger: Mitch Benn
Day 09: Typos and Typography – challenger: Kieron Gillen
Day10: Why Santa’s A Jerk – challenger: Ed Brubaker
Day 11: The Wrong Christmas Cookies – challenger: Matt Fraction
Day12: The Christmas That Wasn’t – challenger: Jamie McKelvie

“There are two hundred stories collected in this volume. They are funny, they are thoughtful, they are romantic, they are frightening. To me, though, they are more than entertaining. They are inspiring.” – Wil Wheaton, from his introduction to volume 2 of The Fast Fiction Challenge

Two volumes of The Fast Fiction Challenge, containing 180 stories in Volume 1 and a further 200 stories in Volume 2, are available from, and in some countries on Amazon. ebooks available from the author; email for details.


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