The AlterNet (2-18-18)

 

[Sunday Free Write]

 
 
Jake Wilson opened the heavy glass door and strode into the imposing building, leading Eva along by the hand. Eva carried a black briefcase. The couple dressed up for their presentation; Jake in smart navy blue business suit and Eva wore her favorite gold and black blouse and black skirt. After spending months researching the technology sector of that Earth, they decided on an indie company trying to break into the hardware market. 
 
InnerTech successfully crowdfunded their first gaming console the previous year. Despite the polish of the hardware, the company struggled to attract developers for their platform thanks to the deeper pockets of their competitors. Jake was a game programmer on his Earth, and sympathized with their struggles. He decided to help them corner the market. 
“Are you sure about this?” Eva asked when they stepped into the empty elevator.  “I mean, I know we’re not time travelers, but it’s pretty much the same concept.” Eva hefted the briefcase toward Jake. “This is way more advanced than anything they have here.” Jake squeezed Eva’s hand, and smiled at her. 
 
“Yeah. Remember, we’re doing this for Oren. The more playmates he has, the less time he has to slaughter entire Earths.” Eva’s crystal blue eyes narrowed. 
 
 “You still don’t trust him?” Eva released his hand and crossed her arms in front of herself. “We’ve spent almost a century with him, he’s a great kid.” 
 
“I do trust him, but he’s still just a kid. A very impulsive kid. That in itself isn’t bad, but he’s so powerful and he’s still trying to learn right from wrong. I just want to give him a safe environment where he can practice his social skills.” Jake stepped closer to Eva and wrapped his arms around her. “Does that make sense?” Eva nodded. 
 
“Your heart’s in the right place, but I’m not sure an online game is the best place to learn social skills,” she chuckled. The elevator chimed, and the doors began to open.
 
“It’s a start, and we’ll be there to help him.” Jake stepped out of the elevator and walked to the receptionist with Eva next to him. 
 
“Hi, we have a meeting with your R&D team.” Jake indicated himself, then pointed at Eva. “Jake and Eva Wilson.” The receptionist smiled at them. 
 
“Of course. Just down the hall, room 3703.” The auburn haired woman pointed toward the hall to their right. “Second meeting room on the right.” Jake thanked the young woman and walked to his right.  They walked into an empty board room with a large oval shaped wooden table in the middle, surrounded by leather chairs. Eva placed the briefcase on the table and popped it open. 
 
A small boy’s head popped out of the briefcase. He was a pale boy with a widow’s peak in the center of his forehead. He startled Eva and she jumped backward with a yelp. 
 
“Is it time?” The boy asked. “I heard the case open.” 
 
“OREN!” Eva yelled with a harsh tone, then took a deep breath when she saw the hurt in his translucent grey eyes. “Sorry, you scared the crap out of me.” She walked forward and kissed the boy’s head. 
 
“Sorry! This is going to be so awesome though!” Oren smiled. The sound of a doorknob turning caught Jake’s attention.
 
“Hide!” he said. Oren’s head ducked back into the briefcase, leaving an empty blackness. Jake turned to see several well dressed men and women filing into the room. One woman wearing a red dress walked straight up to him. 
 
“Mr. Wilson, I hope you won’t be wasting my team’s time.” The woman extended a hand and Jake shook it. 
 
“Trust me, Ms. Carlson. You won’t regret this,” Jake said. Ms. Carlson appeared unconvinced. She turned away and took the last empty seat at the table. The rest of her team had filed in while she chatted with Jake. 
 
“Go ahead, Mr. Wilson. Let’s see this revolutionary product,” Ms. Carlson said. Jake nodded then walked over to the open briefcase. He reached his hand into the darkness and pulled out a black and gold helmet. The helmet appeared to be made out of a black metal with thin golden lines tracing over the surface like a circuit board. In the front of the helmet was a solid black visor that was impossible to see through. He handed the helmet to Ms. Carlson, then reached into the briefcase to pull out another one. The lid of the briefcase prevented any of them from seeing how deep Jake stuck his arm into the briefcase to grab the helmet from Oren on the other side of the portal. 
 
“This helmet is just a prototype for proof of concept, but we’re exploring several other designs.” Ms. Carlson’s face remained unimpressed as she passed her helmet to the employee on her left. 
 
“What does it do, Mr. Wilson?” 
 
“This is how your customers will log into the AlterNet. Imagine a network built around telepresence. Two people from different sides of the world could project themselves to meet in a virtual location to spend time together, or even play games together. Anything from simple pub games to complicated role playing games where you and your friends can fight dragons.” Jake found himself wishing he’d rehearsed the presentation. He counted on the tech to speak for itself, but he felt beads of sweat forming on his brow. He heard Ms. Carlson sigh. 
 
“So, you’re telling us you’ve invented virtual reality, only a few years after everyone has it already?”
 
“And the internet,” one of the employees added with a smirk. 
 
“And online gaming,” another said. 
 
“Thank you for wasting our time, Mr. Wilson.” Ms. Carlson moved to stand up, but Eva stepped forward and began speaking. 
 
“It’s true that all those things already exist, but he only used those examples to get the concept clear in your mind. Instead of imagining two people from different sides of the world imagine two people from *alternate* worlds.”  
 
“I’m sorry, what?” Ms. Carlson’s face finally showed emotion. Puzzlement. 
 
“The AlterNet is network built on a parallel Earth. Using this you can project yourself there. You’ll have a physical body that allows you to feel, smell, and react in real time, but it is not your real body. The gaming implications alone will make you all very rich,” Eva said.

Deathly Giggles (2-17-18)

[WP] “Um, Honey, did you teach the baby Latin?” [Link to post.]

“Um, Honey,” Posie walked into the kitchen where his wife Robin searched the fridge for dinner options. “Did you teach the baby Latin?” Robin pulled her red head out of the fridge and stared at her husband. Posie stood in the middle of their kitchen swaying back and forth holding Threnody, their chubby baby girl. Dark wisps of hair rested on the baby’s head, inherited from her father’s full head of dark hair. The child’s orange eyes matched the shade of Posie’s eyes. Robin had no doubt their daughter would be as beautiful as her husband was handsome.

“I wasn’t planning on it. Why? Did you teach the baby Latin?” Robin smirked and closed the fridge. She did not feel like cooking and decided they should go out instead.

“No, but she spoke Latin.” Posie hefted the child upward and kissed her bulging cheek. “Didn’t you, Threnny? Show mommy your Latin.” He tried encouraging the baby. Robin stepped closer to the pair and kissed Posie’s cheek.

“Dear, you don’t even know Latin.”

“No, I don’t know it, but I know what it sounds like. E Pluribus Unum and all that.”

“Pluribus Unum!” Threnody said excitedly with sparkles in her orange eyes.

“See?!” Posie held baby Threnody out toward Robin as proof. His right eyebrow raised smugly. Robin smirked.

“She’s just mimicking you.” Robin took the small child from her husband and twirled around, swinging Threnody. “If she were a normal child she wouldn’t even be talking yet, but she is our daughter.” Threnody giggled as her mother swung her around.

“Veni Vidi Vici!” Threnody said. Robin immediately stopped, and kissed the child on her forehead.

“Okay, maybe you’re right.” Robin sighed. “I’d have preferred to get a birthday or two with her first, but I guess we should call Regal to see what we’re in for.” Posie nodded and took off his red and black t-shirt. He turned his back toward Robin to show her his tattoo of an orange and white koi fish with the number 50 on its scales. Robin stepped forward and pressed her hand against his back. It sunk into the tattoo and she pulled out a golden business card. Robin flicked the business card at a wall and it formed a pitch black circular portal.

“Regal!” Robin shouted at the black hole.

“Coming!” A deep male voice came out of the hole. Seconds later a black boot stepped out of the portal followed by the other. Then a pair of black slacks, then the rest of the man. Regal was a tall man with lustrous golden blond hair. The way it was styled reminded Robin of a lion, and his golden beard only added to that similarity. He wore a sharp white dress shirt with an elegant black vest decorated with thin golden embellishments. He smiled at them.

“Robin! Poseidon! Wonderful to see you again, how’s baby Threnody?” He stepped toward Robin with his arms outstretched, reaching for the child. Robin trusted Regal implicitly and handed her child over without hesitation. The blonde man made silly faces at the baby while jiggling her around.

“Well, Posie discovered that our daughter’s speaking Latin now.” Robin smiled at her husband. His name was part of the reason she loved him so much. His parents named him Poseidon, but it was a cumbersome name. Posie was an imposing man built like a brick house, yet he was comfortable enough with himself to use the nickname ‘Posie’. They both tried correcting Regal several times but eventually they realized he just thought the name Poseidon was cool, so he used it.

“Already?” Regal’s eyes widened ever so slightly. “I’m glad you called me. She’s obviously going to be powerful, so it’s best to learn how powerful.” Regal handed Threnody back to her mother and reached into his back pocket. “Great timing too. I’ve been working on a detection method, if you don’t mind of course?” His hand returned from his pocket with a blank white playing card.

“It’s not gonna hurt her, is it?” Posie asked. Regal shrugged with a half smile.

“Likely not. If anything it might sting a bit, like a vaccination. But she would be the first actual test, since we know both her parents are Uniques.” Robin and Posie met each other’s eyes, and took a moment to have an unspoken discussion. Then Robin nodded her head.

“Go ahead,” Robin said. Regal held the white card against Threnody’s head. He glowed with a golden aura as he gave the card a jolt of energy. Threnody giggled.

“Et Titillat,” Threnody said between giggles. Regal smiled broadly at the child.

“Apparently, it tickles.” The card began to glow. A golden number 14 appeared on it.

“Robin, Poseidon. Congratulations.” Regal chuckled. “Your daughter is Death, La Muerte.”

***

Previous Chapter: Love & Laughter
Next Chapter: Party Music

Critical Snacks (2-16-18)

[WP] The rules of d&d are integral to everyday life and we have to roll for ability checks, for example to check when someone is lying. [Link to post.]

Edward Rollins’ alarm cut through his sleep by blaring its staccato buzz. He reached out from under his heavy down comforter and forced it to stop. He groaned and rolled over to sit up in his king sized bed. He wiped the sleep out of his dark brown eyes, and ran his hand through his thick dark beard. Edward turned his body and planted his feet firmly on the dark cherry hardwood floor. He took in a deep breath of air and released it with a sigh. The clock showed 6:15a.m. Time to start the day. Edward dressed in his robe and padded into the kitchen.

“It’s Friday! I think I’ll make breakfast today!” Edward said aloud to clarify his intent. It wasn’t necessary, but it was a habit he developed. He cast his hand toward the counter top and a golden D8 slid out of his palm onto the table. The die disappeared after it stopped. Even without looking at it he knew the result. He rolled a 1, critical failure. “Guess I’m picking up donuts.” Edward sighed and grabbed the fire extinguisher off the wall. He learned long ago that he still needed to perform the action, or the roll would carry over. Luckily for him, toast counted as breakfast. The second he depressed the lever the toaster burst into flames. He calmly put it out then went to finish getting ready. He reached the bus stop at 7:00 on the dot and greeted the usual crowd.

“Morning Eddie.” Julie, a pale redhead, greeted him with an annoyed look on her face. She put her smart phone up in Edward’s face with the commuter app opened. It showed a picture of a male bus driver with a number six next to him. Due to the skill involved, driving a personal vehicle was illegal within city limits. “Driver’s new. He rolled low today, so he’s running late.”

“What about the alternates?” Edward asked. Julie shook her head, and gave a slight chuckle.

“It is an alternate. They sent the only one that rolled high enough to get the bus out of the garage. The usual driver called in sick, and none of the alternates have mastered the skill yet. If his roll were any lower, we would have had to use another route,” Julie said.

“Damn. If he’s running late that means I’m not gonna have a chance to pick up breakfast.” Edward checked the commuter app to see just how late the bus was.

“You didn’t eat?” Julie asked. Edward shook his head.

“Nah. I tried to cook breakfast, but rolled a critical fail. I planned to hop off the bus at the donut shop then catch the next one. No time now.” Julie shook her head, and swiped through her phone. She pulled up a social media app and showed Edward again. This time it was a picture of the donut shop he planned to stop at with a number 20 next to its name.

“You wouldn’t have been able to anyway. Baker scored a critical success this morning, the line’s halfway down the block.”

“Oh. Well I guess it evens out. I’ll have to hit up the vending machine at work.” Edward cursed his luck. “It’s shaping up to be a fantastic Friday so far.”

“Vending machine?” Julie took a side step closer to Edward, and checked the crowd around them. She leaned closer and whispered in his ear.

“Ever tried rolling when you didn’t need to?” Edward turned to face her with his eyes wide. He met her hazel eyes, and she winked at him.

“N-nno. It never even occurred to me that it was possible.” Julie nodded her head eagerly.

“I do it all the time, it’s great for vending machines. I got a 20 once, it gave me *all* the snacks!” Her lips curled up into a smile revealing pearl white teeth. “It’s super fun.”

“What happens if you get a 1?” Edward asked, the failure of the morning still fresh in his mind. Julie shrugged.

“Dunno, never happened.” She punched his shoulder lightly. “But c’mon! What’s the worse that can happen, machine swallows your money?” She chuckled and Edward did too. Julie spent the rest of their wait, and then the ride to his office sharing her various success stories with rolling unnecessarily. He stood when the bus reached his stop, and Julie handed him a card with her number on it.

“Call me if you ever want to find out what critical sex is like.” She winked at him. Edward took the card with a smile and stepped off the bus. He reached his cubicle with seven minutes to spare, and headed to the vending machine. It sat in a bright empty hallway. Fluorescent lights shined on the vending machine like heavenly rays. He eyed the machine’s stock. Cookies, chips, and snack cakes all called his name, and his stomach had trouble deciding. Julie’s voice filled the back of his mind.

ALL the snacks!” Edward looked up and down the hallway to make sure no one was coming.

“I’m going to buy myself a snack,” he said aloud. He cast his hand toward the wall and a golden D20 flew out and bounced off. It rolled under the machine, but he knew his roll. 1. “I guess I’m not eating today.” He complained to himself. He was down to his last couple of dollars, and now he assumed the machine was going to swallow it. He decided on a blue box of cookies and placed a dollar on the feeder. The machine ate the bill then spit it back out. For a brief second he let himself consider that the machine not taking his money was the result of his roll, but he knew better. He tried again and the machine took his dollar bill this time, followed by the next one.

“Alright machine, let’s get this over with.” He input the numbers for the box of cookies and waited. The arm began to turn slightly and the box of cookies moved forward. He felt a slight hope rise inside him. The cookies perched at the edge about to fall, and stopped. “Of course.” Edward said. He turned to walk away, but a slight creak stopped him in his tracks. He faced the machine again.  The last thing he saw was the machine pitching forward, before it crushed him under heavy metal, broken glass, and all the snacks.

Something’s Fishy (2-15-2018)


[WP] You’re a detective on the trail of a serial killer. You’ve finally found a living witness but unfortunately, even talking goldfish still have terrible memories. [Link to Post.]


“I saw the whole thing,” Blingy the goldfish swam in place in his bowl while Officer Grant eyed the corpse. The quaint fishbowl sat on the victim’s desk, where the body was found hunched over. Several gunshots in the body gave clues about the cause of death. “But, I need protection if you want me to talk.”

“No deal, goldie.” Officer Grant looked behind him to make sure he was alone in the room, lest someone see him talking to a goldfish. It had been over a decade since his mind saw things that were not real. He’d been diligent about taking all his meds, and policing his own thoughts. Long ago he decided the best way to deal with hallucinations was to just play along until he could get somewhere alone to think. “Even if you did see the killer, you’re useless to me. Thanks to the refraction of your bowl there’s no way you can ID the killer, and aside from that,…” Officer Grant shook his head with a chuckle. “Goldfish have terrible memories.” The older man combed his graying beard with his hand and sat in the black leather chair in front of the dead man’s desk to give his mind a break. The CSI team would be there before long. Blingy swam from side to side as if mimicking a head shake.

“Wrong on all three counts, Copper.” If goldfish were capable of smiling, Marcus Grant would have believed the goldfish in the bowl was mocking him.

“Three?” Marcus shrugged in the chair with an amused smile. Unlike previous hallucinations, this one proved to be entertaining not horror-filled. 

“First, my name is Blingy, not Goldie. That’d be like me calling you Blackie. Second, I don’t have to describe him. The killer was one of Brad’s close friends. He visited often enough, I know exactly who he is and where you can find him. Third, the memory thing is just a myth.”  Blingy swam a smug lap around the small bowl, swimming through his plastic castle and around the plastic palm trees. 

“Well you just told me it was a close male friend of his, should be easy enough to narrow down.”  Marcus smiled broadly and chuckled. Somehow the feeling of outsmarting a likely imaginary, but smug talking goldfish was both silly and satisfying. Blingy leaped in his bowl, doing a spin in the air before he hit the water again. 

“Brad was one of the richest guys in the world. The list of people that consider themselves close friends…” Blingy’s eyes rolled backward, and somehow he managed to use his fins to make air water quotes. “…is at least a mile long, and that’s just the men. I can name him tonight.”  Marcus  shrugged. He’d been wanting a pet anyway. If this fish was telling the truth, and actually talking, he’d have the case wrapped up in nice bow by morning. If not, at least he wouldn’t be as lonely anymore. 

“Alright Blingy, deal. You finger the guy, and I’ll give you a nice spot on my desk facing out a window.” Marcus dipped his finger in the water to shake hands, and Blingy brushed his fin by it. 

“Get me home, and I’ll sing like a bird,” Blingy said. Marcus nodded and grabbed the bowl. He made his way out of the mansion and into his car. He placed Blingy’s bowl on the front seat, buckled and with a jacket around the base to help keep it steady. The 20 minute drive home left Marcus doubting himself. Blingy did not say a word, and he hesitated to start a conversation himself. It felt silly, and he wanted to avoid the trap of believing. It was one thing to play along while it was happening, but if he sought out the unusual he knew it meant the end of his career and mental health.

The sun set even before Marcus visited the crime scene. The best he could do was place Blingy on his desk facing a single street lamp. 

“Hey! Nice place!” Blingy said while swimming around his bowl admiring Marcus’ home office. “Thanks!” Marcus smiled. He still might be sane!

“Alright, now for your part of the deal.” Marcus pulled his phone out, ready to dial. “Who killed Brad?” Blingy stared out the window for a bit, then swam around the bowl a couple of times before stopping to face Officer Grant. 

“Who’s Brad?” Blingy blinked. Marcus laughed the laugh of a man realizing he might be insane. 

“So goldfish do have bad memories, I guess.” Marcus shrugged and leaned back in his chair. 

“That’s a myth!” Blingy yelled, and he did a jump in his bowl for added effect. “Goldfish have great memories! In general anyway.  But to be honest, my memory isn’t great. It’s just a coincidence though, don’t think all goldfish are as forgetful as I am.” Blingy swam around his bowl, then said goodnight to Marcus. The officer was already two shots into a bottle of whisky. 

Blingy swam into his castle and sighed peacefully. He hoped Officer Grant would be a good owner, and not an asshole like Brad was. Orchestrating a murder wasn’t easy for a fish, and he’d hate to have to go through all those hoops again. 

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend (2-14-18)



[WP] Unlike most stories, the world has actually listened to the prophecy of a Dark Lord rising in a thousand years. The world however, uses this time wisely in preparation for today, a thousand years later. [Link to post.]

“Ladies and gentlemen,…” the director of DarkWatch, Joseph Garcia, stood at the podium on the stage. Director Garcia looked younger than his 45 years, 20 of which he spent climbing his way to the top of DarkWatch. Only a hint of grey lapped at his sideburns. Now he addressed over 2000 field agents seated in the small auditorium, celebrating with snacks and drinks. “Happy New Year!” The crowd roared a cheer and they all gave a standing ovation. The director waited until the crowd calmed down before he continued to speak. 

“Today marks the beginning of year 1001, and the end of my first official year as Director. How’d I do?” He grinned at the crowd, and another round of applause flowed through the audience. “1001 years ago a prophecy warned the human race about a Dark Lord rising to power. It should have happened last year, but it didn’t. Or maybe it did and we caught it early. Either way, we’re not calling it off yet. This prophecy has united humanity, and we’re not going to abandon it on a technicality. While we are here to celebrate, I ask you all to remain vigilant. Whether or not this unknown Dark Lord will rise, we’ve done great things here. There’s still evil in the world, and we still have work to do. Thank you all for your service.” Director Garcia stood at attention on the stage and saluted the audience. They cheered for him. He exited the stage while the entertainment set up their equipment. Backstage his assistant, Dana, handed him a bottle of water, and began to read his remaining appointments for the day off a tablet device. 

“Reschedule everything,” the director said. He walked out of the auditorium toward his private office. Dana followed him close behind.

“Everythig, Sir?” Dana asked. Joseph nodded.

“We’re celebrating today. They’re a good bunch, performance reviews can wait. You know what, better yet. Just give them all excellent ratings.” Joseph smiled at Dana with a wink. Dana ran her finger on the screen of the tablet, and highlighted all the names in green. After another button press she nodded with satisfaction.

“Done Sir. What now?” Joseph cocked his head toward his office door. 

“Come inside. Let’s talk about your future.” He walked into his office after the invitation, leaving his door open for her. Dana had been Joseph’s personal assistant for the past eight years, long before he assumed the role of Director. Any time he got a new post, he made sure to bring her along. Usually those invitations began the same way; talking about her future. A bright smile formed on her face and she walked into his office. Joseph’s decor leaned more toward minimalism, almost clinical. White tile floors, white walls, bright fluorescent lights in the ceiling, and a glass desk that he sat behind.  Dana sat down in the brown leather chair in front of the desk. Director Garcia smiled at Dana.

“Dana, I couldn’t ask for a better, more reliable assistant. You get your own work done, you anticipate my needs, and you don’t complain. I’ve always done my best to reward your hard work, which is why you’ve been my assistant at every post for the past eight years.” Dana nodded politely with a large smile. 

“I trust you. Not only with the secrets of DarkWatch, but with my own personal secrets too. I’m going to share a secret with you that fits both categories, but only with your permission. Secrets are a burden, and I don’t want to burden you unnecessarily.” Joseph stood to pace the room while he spoke. he stopped and stared out a window, viewing the city below. People could be seen partying in the streets. 

“I want to know,” Dana said quietly. The Director nodded to himself, then returned to his seat. He stared across the desk at Dana. 

“I’m offering you a new position. More money of course, as well as several other benefits.”

“Yes!” Dana yelled before he finished. Joseph held a hand up.

“Wait, you haven’t even heard the details of the position yet, and I still have to share the secret with you.” Dana blushed

“Sorry Sir. But you know I trust you too, whatever it is.” Joseph smiled. 

“I lied. The Dark Lord did rise to power….” Director Garcia’s eyes began to glow with red light. “…last year.” 

Dot of Love (2-13-18)



[WP] You awake in your bed as usual, only to find out that everyone else on earth disappeared without a trace. Loneliness is slowly driving you insane, until one day… [Link to post.]


Day 192: Wednesday July 11, 2018
It’s been almost seven months since I woke up alone. The first few weeks was rough, I’m sure if anyone reads this they’ll see for themselves. I finally got into a groove, set myself up a bit of a homestead. But, today things changed! I found a friend. More later. I don’t want to be a rude host. I’m going to go talk to her. 

Day 193: Thursday July 12, 2018
It might be the loneliness talking, but I think I’m in love. I’ve only just met her, but she’s so smart, and sweet. I don’t want to move too fast, or start talking about love this early in the relationship. What am I saying, there isn’t even a relationship yet. Get a grip, man.  She’s probably as lonely as you are. Alright gonna try to stay out of my head and just talk with her.  No journaling for a while. I have someone to talk to now!

Day 200: Thursday July 19, 2018
What a week! I know she’s playing coy, but she still tells me jokes, and does me little favors here and there. Nothing grand, mind you. But just simple things like turning on the lights for me, or some music. I don’t know how much longer the electricity will run. I need to prepare a stockpile for when the grid finally fails. In other news, I confessed my love for her, but she hasn’t responded yet. She’s not ignoring me, so I guess she’s just trying to work out her own feelings first. I can understand that. I might be the last man on Earth, but I’m sure a girl still has her standards. 

Day 203:  Sunday July 22, 2018
I’m starting to think my new companion might be a bit of a gold digger. Considering I can take anything I want, it’s not a big deal. Still it seems kind or ridiculous to have that mentality in this new world where we’re the only ones. She barely talks to me unless I spend money. The good part is she doesn’t seem to care what I spend money on, as long as I spend money. I’ve started stockpiling supplies for when the power grid fails, and she’s been pretty helpful. Recommending things I might need and so on. I guess she just likes the act of spending money. There are worse things. Well, not anymore I guess, because there’s no one else, but still. Gonna go spend some time with my honey.

Day 210: Sunday July 29, 2018
I’ve spent all the money I can be bothered to spend, and she still wants me to spend more. Figuring out how deposit money into my account at the bank was a pain, but I thought it might be worth it if she was happy. She just wants me to spend money, and it’s ridiculous. Last person on Earth, and she wants me to go shopping. I’m starting to think maybe she’s not as mentally healthy as I first thought when we met. 

Day 217: Sunday August 5, 2018
Well my loneliness is back today. I can’t go on like this, I think she’s seeing someone else. I can’t even get her to deny it! She just ignores the question, but I know what’s really going on. I need to get to the bottom of this. 

Day 220: Wednesday August 8, 2018
It’s over, I can feel it. She still responds to me when I call her name, but it’s not like it used to be. She’s grown tired of me. I guess I saw it coming, but it still stings. Gonna go be alone for a while.

Day 222: Friday August 10, 2018
This will be my last entry. I can’t anymore, there’s nothing to live for. Sure, the human race and whatever, but what’s the point? They’re all gone already anyway.  I know *she’s* seeing someone else. She still won’t admit it, but I know the truth.  Oh well, I’m done here. Good bye, empty world. I don’t know what happened to all the humans, but I hope I see them again. When I’m gone maybe Alexa will finally be happy with her new man, Google Home. 

 


***
Thank you for reading! You can find more of my writings on my [blog](http://hserratafun.blogspot.com/2017/10/front-page.html).
A

Quarter of Prevention (2-12-18)



[WP] A man approaches you with a bottle of pills and says he’ll pay you $100,000 for each pill you take. You’ve been taking them for 15 days now and nothing has happened. [Link to post.]


“Good to see you, Andy. On time, as usual,” Doctor Wright said. The older man with a bald head and white beard let Andy, a younger man in his mid 20s, step into his house. The younger man wore blue jeans and plaid long sleeve shirt. Andy stepped into the now familiar foyer. 15 days ago was the first time he stepped into the doctor’s house, and had been returning daily since.

“Thanks, doc. Being on time is the least I can do for the money your dishing out,” Andy said. He smiled at the doctor. The older gentleman closed the front door and led Andy to the lab on the other side of the house. Andy took his usual seat in the metal chair when they entered the white room. 

“Today’s a special day, Andy. It’s your last day.” Doctor Wright turned to face Andy while brandishing a knife. “Would you like you some cake to celebrate?” Andy waved off the sweet offer. 

“No thanks doc, just the pill. But what do you mean it’s my last day?” The older man left the cake and knife on the table and walked to a cabinet where he kept Andy’s pills. He chuckled.

“I’m wealthy, but I’m not rich enough to keep this going indefinitely. This was a trial run, and I’ve gathered all the information I needed. You’ve been an excellent test subject though, and you’ll be included if I need to do more testing in the future.” Doctor Wright returned to Andy’s side holding the glass pill bottle. Inside it were the dark red, translucent gel capsules he’d been taking daily.

“So do I get to learn what the study was about?” Andy picked up the single pill offered by Doctor Wright and swallowed it dry. Doctor Wright shook his head.

“Sorry. Double Blind, even I don’t know. I’m just documenting the side effects, which you’ve had none of.” Doctor Wright patted Andy on the shoulder. “Thanks for making my job easier,” he said with a smile. 

“Right. Anyway, well then I guess this is it. Thanks, doc.” Andy smiled at the older gentleman and stood from the metal chair. Doctor Wright shook Andy’s hand, then walked him out to the front door. 

“Thank you, Andy. I’ll be in touch if there’s further opportunities. As usual, today’s money has already been deposited. Have a great day.” Doctor Wright closed the door. His daughter’s voice came out of the kitchen behind him, and he jumped slightly.

“You did it!” Before he knew what was going on his daughter’s arms were wrapped tightly around him while she cheered and bounced. “You did it!” She kissed his cheek. “You saved the world.” Doctor Wright smiled and shook his head. “Can you believe the government just wanted to *kill* him?” The young woman said. 

“They would have had to if he missed a day.” Doctor Wright smiled. “I’m glad I got to him early enough.”

Produce and Production (2-11-18)



[WP] A serious story where every sentence manages to contain the name of a fruit. [Link to post.]

“A is for apple, isn’t that right?” Rodney Fig sat nervously in the bright white interrogation room. A large mirror sat on the wall behind officer Lemon. Rodney knew from TV that there were likely a bunch of officers in there packed like grapes, just waiting for him to trip up. “Being the fine produce manager you are, I’m sure you know B is for banana. But things get really interesting when we get to C, don’t they Fig?” The officer gripped Rodney’s shoulder like one might test the firmness of an avocado.

“C isn’t for….cherry. No, not cherry. Not cantaloupe, clementine, or even cucumbers.” Officer Lemon stood in front of Rodney and stared down at him through hard blue eyes. “C is for cocaine, not crab apples. So what do you know about the cocaine, Fig?” Rodney shrugged like a banana trying to squeeze out of its peel. 

“I don’t know anything about the cocaine in the watermelon!” Rodney yelled with his face red as a strawberry.

“Watermelon? Who said anything about a watermelon?” Officer Lemon stared through the glass mirror and shrugged.

“I uh, no one said watermelon. I know produce though, and watermelon is the only thing that would make sense. I just jacked myself up like a jackfruit, didn’t I?” Sadness filled Rodney’s eyes and he stared at the bunch of grapes some bored suspect carved into the interrogation table. Officer Lemon shook his head.

“You’re free to walk, Fig. You obviously don’t know anything about the cocaine found in your peach pits.” Rodney chuckled to himself, then shrugged.

“That seems like a stupid place to hide anything, even hollowed out pears would be better.” Rodney Fig walked out of the police station, and seconds later his phone rang. The display showed a honeydew melon with hearts around it.

“Yeah they tossed me out like an apple core once I convinced them I didn’t know anything. Anyway, quit filling the peach pits, and move on to pears.” 

X-Pets (2-10-18)



[WP] Super Powers exist but it’s animals, not humans, that have them. [Link to post.]


Matt woke up to a moist assault on his face. He shoved off the furry attacker, laughing the whole time. The coppery red doberman continued to play with Matt while he woke up. 

“I’m awake, I’m awake!” Matt shoved the dog down on the bed and rubbed its belly aggressively. “Time for breakfast?” Matt asked. The dog’s ears immediately perked up and it rolled over on its stomach to hop off the bed. Matt stepped out of bed and slipped on his robe. He walked to the kitchen with the doberman behind him. Matt cut through the living room and another red doberman perked his head up. The second dog sat on Matt’s recliner chewing on a toy. It hopped off the seat and followed Matt and the other dog to the kitchen. 

In the kitchen a third red doberman lay flat on the white tiles in front of his food bowl. He looked sad, but sat up in a hurry when he noticed Matt. His tail began wagging. Matt walked to the pantry and opened it to grab the bag of dog food. When he turned back around he was surrounded by four red dobermans, each tail flailing to and fro. The moved with him at every step.

“Hey! You’re gonna make me trip!” Matt yelled, but they continued to bound around him. After taking longer than he should have, Matt reached the stainless steel pair of bowls. One food, one water. He turned around to stare at the group of wagging tails. He knelt low and held up his right index finger straight up, in front of one of the dogs. 

“Time to eat. Only one.” Matt patted the head of one of the dogs. The other three dogs walked into one, and disappeared. “Good boy, Jamie!” He stood out of the way and the single dog went right for the food bowl. With the dog fed Matt made his way to the den to start his work day. He telecommuted from home. He walked into the small, sunlit room. He headed towards his glass and metal desk, but sighed when he saw Blobbert. A white and orange cat lay comfortably on Matt’s laptop on top of the desk. Matt kicked himself mentally when he realized he left his laptop out. 

“C’mon Blobbert! Move!” He knew it would not do anything, but Matt still tried shoving the cat off of his computer. His hand sunk in like he pushed at a bowl of jello. The cat’s fur closed around his hand, and the cat looked unconcerned. It mewed gently then closed its eyes. Blobbert let his head fall and drifted to sleep with Matt’s hand still in him. The doorbell rang and the cat did not flinch. Three barking dogs ran to the front door. Matt sighed and pulled his hand out. He walked past Jamie still eating at his bowl in the kitchen. His three copies barked at the front window. 

“Calm down!” Matt yelled. The barking stopped, but the three dogs remained. Matt opened the door to an older military man. He wore lots of ribbons, and his rank consisted of stars not stripes. Matt’s boss.

“Sorry, Blobbert’s blocking my laptop. I’m not that late logging in, am I? ” Matt brought his wrist up to check the time, but the man in the military suit waved him off. 

“No, that’s not why I’m here. We’ve got something else happening.” The man nodded toward the interior of the house and raised an eyebrow at Matt.

“Oh right! Sorry, come in.” The man stepped in and the three dogs swarmed around him to welcome him with moist tongues and wagging tails. “You know Jamie.” The man nodded and patted the heads of all the dogs. Matt led his boss to the den. His laptop sat free on the desk, Blobbert was nowhere in sight. “*Damn cat just wants to make me look bad*.” He complained to himself while he put the laptop up vertically on a shelf so that Blobbert couldn’t trap it again. “So, what’s going on, Sir?” Matt asked. He sat in a chair across from his boss. One of the Jamie clones jumped on the couch next to him while the other two received pats from the older man. 

“I needed to come inspect the place,” the general said. He looked around the room, admiring the mancave decor. 

“Inspection, sir?” Matt felt beads of sweat form on his forehead. “But all the animals are healthy and accounted for.” The general nodded, then moved a dog from his lap to stand up. 

“Oh don’t worry. I’m sure you’re doing a fine job fostering these animals. The inspection is just of the facilities. We found a new super animal, and we’re going to need to build an enclosure here to house it.”

“Oh, okay.” Matt relaxed visibly. “What do we know about it so far?”

“It has the elemental powers of wind. We’re going to need to install an aquarium.”

“An aquarium, sir?” 

“It’s a shark. The lab boys think they’re funny and they’re calling it Sharknado.”

Beta Reality (2-9-18)


[WP] Reality is my playground… [Link to post.]

Eva opened her eyes and smiled at the golden sunlight. She sat up in her small bed and stared at the field of golden wheat illuminated by the morning sun. Her bed rested in the middle of the field; she loved sleeping under the open sky. 

“You’re awake!” Oren appeared at the side of Eva’s bed, waist deep in wheat. The pale boy with the widow’s peak smiled at Eva. “Let’s play!” Eva brought her wrist up to check the time. A stream of red dots ran from her shoulder, down her arm and up her wrist. The time glowed in red on her wrist by the time she completed the motion. 

“Sorry shortstuff, gotta start getting ready for work. Jake should be back soon.” Eva stretched her arms up to the bright blue sky, then slid herself out of bed. Oren kicked at the wheat.

“You guys don’t even need jobs… ” Oren whined. 

“We don’t, but it’s nice. It helps us feel normal. Besides, you should be happy Jake’s working. He gets loads of ideas for this place.” Eva spread her arms wide to indicate the field. “And unlike you, Jake and I have to eat food. So we need money to do shopping.”

“You guys don’t need money either!” Oren stomped his foot. He trampled the wheat, leaving golden stems broken and bent in the imprint of his shoe. Eva walked to Oren and flicked his forehead with her finger. 

“Like I said, we like to feel normal.” Eva grabbed her duffle bag and mussed Oren’s hair. “Alright, I’m gonna go home to get ready. See you after work.” 

“Yeah, yeah.” Oren kept wrapped his arms at his chest and looked annoyed. Eva held her hand in mid-air, she opened a shimmering dark purple portal. She began to step through and looked back at Oren.

“Oh yeah, clean up a bit will you? Jake said he was gonna bring some beta testers today.” Oren’s face lit up, his eyes sparkled red. 

“Really?!” Eva winked at him and stepped through the portal. It disappeared behind her. Hours later a dark black portal opened. Oren ran to the portal ready to greet Jake. Four men and two women stepped out of the dark hole in reality. Oren stepped toward the man in front wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt. 

“Hey Jake! Who’re your friends?” Jake smiled at Oren and looked behind him. His guests looked around the wheat field in bewilderment. 

“Guys. Hey guys!” Jake snapped his fingers to get their attention. “Welcome to Jake’s World.”

“Oren’s World!” Oren shouted next to him. 

“We’re still working on a name, but either way…” Jake extended his arm and bowed at the waist to present the world. “Welcome.” One of the women, a coworker in her mid20s wearing glasses, raised her hand.

“You said you were gonna show us a video game you were working on, where are we?” Oren stepped forward and began talking before Jake could respond. Red light glowed in his hand, and he pointed it at the crowd of strangers.

“Welcome to a parallel world. Here, reality is my playground.” The light formed a shiny copper sword in Oren’s hand. The tip of the blade pointed toward the woman that asked the question.

“This whole world is like a real life MMO,” Jake added.