57 plus 07: darkness and perfection

Posted: 24 August 2021 in 57 plus, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , , , ,

It’s Tuesday, so of course you get a couple of more ‘fiction from the vaults’ posts, both from 2010 this time.

The 2010 run was the last time I did a lonnnnnng run of fast fiction tales; 150 written in 150 days. One story written every day, none in reserve, one posted every day, even if that meant writing one or two very late at night so I could just scrape in before midnight.

As always, they varied between the horrendously dark – what one friend described as the ‘your mind scares me at times’ stories, some very weird tales and some, rarely I’ll admit, nicer ones.

Here are two that definitely, I think, belong to the ‘weird’ category. A touch of darkness, but definitely weird; two stories where I hope you don’t see the ending coming.

But I like these two. I hope you will.

A decade and a half ago, I threw out a challenge. and then repeated it thereafter whenever I felt like it. The challenge was the same in each case:

Give me a title of up to four words in length, together with a single word you want me to include in the tale, and I will write a story of exactly 200 words.

That’s it. The stories that resulted always included the word, they always fitted the title, but usually in ways the challenger hadn’t anticipated. And they were always exactly 200 words in length.

I hope you enjoy them…

Title: Raindrops on Leaves
Word: darkness
Challenger: [Livejournal: culf]
Length: 200 words exactly

The foyer of the holo-recreation area looks pretty swish. But then it would, wouldn’t it?

I wonder, as I’ve done before, what’s real, but I chicken out of touching anything to check. I’m pretty sure they rely on that: everyone being too self-conscious in front of the other patrons.

I turn around slowly, looking at the other customers. It has never actually occurred to me before, but how many of them are real? And how many of them are wondering the same thing about me?

I hear my name called and saunter over to the reception desk, sliding my hand over the reader, paying for my entrance.

There’s a brief hum.

I arrive in the darkness of a suburban garden; it’s raining, soft gentle rain.

And there’s a tree.

At least they all think it’s a tree – it’s apparently the best the technicians could design, based upon old images from lots of family videos archaeologists had recovered.

Brown wood with a green covering, now soaking wet from the rain. Can you imagine what this must have been like back in the day?

A representation of real wood: never fails to impress me.

Apparently, it’s from the type called gardinus shed.

© Lee Barnett, 2010

Title: Without A Heart
Word: perfection
Challenger: [Livejournal: bertobi]
Length: 200 words exactly

I wish I could cry. It would show that I genuinely regret the events that occurred so many years ago.

However, I don’t cry. I tell people I’m sorry, but I don’t think they believe me.

She was popular, incredibly so among the peoples of our land. She may have been precocious, she was certainly disrespectful of authority. But, as she would undoubtedly have argued, when the authority doesn’t deserve respect, why offer it?

It took me years to discover that lesson, and to actually care about others; Well, I say years; that’s not true. It took me moments, after years of not caring. Not apathy exactly; that implies a disinterest. In my case, it had never occurred to me to care.

My actions had consequences, and in all those years, that had never bothered me.

Until she came along.

Well, she and our companions. When she suggested I needed a heart, I considered her suggestion, found it elegant in its perfection, and obtained one: hers.

It seemed logical at the time.

With his new brain, the taller of our companions spun her sudden disappearance by saying she’d gone home.

I’m so sorry, Dorothy… I hope you’d believe that.

© Lee Barnett, 2010


See you tomorrow, with… something else.



Fifty-seven more days. Fifty-seven more posts. One fifty-seventh birthday just had.

Just dropping this in here, as I was asked by message the other day: the best places to contact me outside the blog are via email at budgie@hypotheticals.co.uk and @budgie on Twitter.

I’m trying something new with this run. I’ve signed up to ko-fi.com, so if you fancy throwing me a couple of dollars every so often, to keep me in a caffeine-fuelled typing mood, feel free. I’m on https://ko-fi.com/budgiehypoth

This post is part of a series of blog entries, counting up from my fifty-seventh birthday on 17th August 2021. You can see the other posts in the run by clicking here. (And you can see the posts in the run counting down to the birthday here.)

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