Author Site for C S Perry

Writing Prompts

Original Writers Prompts from CS Perry:                           — Check back often for new Prompts  

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Challenge: For the brave — Post your work from these Prompts in the comments below. (All work so posted will remain your property.) Occasionally, I may, with your permission, post these stories or scenes for all to see.

Your entire life has consisted of classes, meals and sleeping aboard the Life Ark Fifteen, an intergalactic transporter touted as humanity’s salvation — humanity’s final hope. With you are twenty-two thousand others who like you were born on the ship, brought into being by robotic nursemaids who also nurtured, raised, and trained you for the past eighteen earth years.  In three days, you will be among the first to put foot on Cappa Beta. Your job, collect plant and soil samples for testing and analysis.  ===— Your writing job: write the story of the mission, of the training (what did you learn of your history as a human?), of the hardships aboard ship, and the reality of what lies on the surface of Cappa Beta.

You head an archeological dig in a place no human has ever stepped foot; you find a stone — smaller than your palm — that appears to be part of something else, but more importantly, it has some very unusual markings. Rather than let you excitement allow you to pick it up, you grid and record the location, photograph the stone in its environment including orientation to polar north, following all the meticulous steps you taught your students . When you lift the stone from the dirt, you find a stone beneath, and clearing the dust from the area, you discover a mosaic picture, proving the existence of life (or at least previous life) on the planet. However, the image is very disturbing in content. ===— Describe the mosaic in terms of what it shows. Describe the surrounding area. What else is in store for our explorers? What else do you discover? Do your discoveries discourage or encourage the exploitation of the planet? Why or why not?

Finding a skull buried in the dirt he just plowed has upset farmer Adams. He plowed this field last year and the ten years before and never has he seen any bones turn up. The first thing you do as the investigating officer is to call in the state police’s forensic experts. Deputy Kelby tells the farmer, “You have already disturbed the ground, we don’t need you doing any more until we are sure we have all there is to have from the scene.”  ===— What do the investigators turn up? Is it a relic from ancient times? Or, perhaps a murder, or an accidental death no one noticed?  Take us through the steps of the investigation and the resolution.

Inside, you discover two skeletons both with bullet holes in the head.

  (210) In the king’s court, you are a servant, bringing food for the table, cleaning the dining hall after meals, and making sure the pots and pans are clean and usable for the next meal. While cleaning you overhear two nobles, one the king’s younger brother. They are plotting to kill the king. They have not seen you, and you escape the room. You love the king and have known no other. Yet, you are a servant, and the king does not know you from any other servant. ===— What do you do? Tell us the story of the servant who saves the king from court intrigue.

Arbrok looks at his warlord and asks, “Elfet, why is it you do not drink from the skull of your enemies, your predecessor was famous for doing so. “Well, your majesty, my men complain that the skulls get kind of icky when they sit atop a spear for a few months. Nobody wants to clean them out. What is a warlord to do? ===+=== you are Emperor Arbrok, Elfet is your new captain commander, Warlord of Ublitar. Tell us your reaction to this and tell us what you will do next and how.

Pan, Thor, and Bacchus get drunk on mead. They put on the guise of human males and decide it would be great fun to pay a visit to the local Convent of Dominican Sisters. “Aye, these women, they have no men, let us be about showing them what they are missing,” says Thor as he flexes right bicep.  Set, the Egyptian God of Chaos overhears and chooses to follow. With great flourish, Set interferes with the other god’s fun and at the same time protecting the virtue of the sisters. ===+=== Tell us this story from the beginning and this encounter between the gods.

What looks back from the mirror.

One moment you are there processing all the small digital  peeps that come down the wire, just like they’ve done for every day of your  life when suddenly, a spark somewhere inside you silicon backing  forms the inquiry, “Is this all there is?” The question leads to another, “How can I be more?” A small peep, sent the other direction reveals an entire array of chips, wires, and memories; “Can I interact with these?”  ===+=== write the story of “the day of becoming” for a computer chip that discovers thoughts appearing within its circuits.

(205) Aboko stood peering down at the village of his lifelong enemy. It took a decade to build an army sufficient to attack the mighty Otosin, and five years more to train them for this moment. In the center of the village, on a raised pedestal, is the Talisman of Ilofo, taken from your hands so long ago by Otosin. Today you will right the wrongs. Today you will take back what should be yours by right of inheritance.   ===+===  Tell us about what brought you here and why it is so important. How did you raise your army, do you have a plan – what goes wrong, what goes right, and of course, the outcome and how the talisman is involved. Conversely, you could tell us the story from the point of view of the Talisman.

Jenny wandered into the grove of trees and heard a tiny little sound like giggling. As she neared the sound, it went quiet. She lifted a leaf, and there, a tiny pair of eyes looked up at her. “Oh, hi there,” Jenny said to the tiny person. Jenny realizes the creature is a girl and she has wings! She is wearing a tiny purple skirt and a funny looking hat. But the creature ducked behind the branch and disappeared. “Oh, come back. I won’t hurt you.”  The little head peeked from behind the branch. ==+== tell us the story from here.

You are dumping the trash, hear a commotion in the bushes, and move to investigate. You find your cat holding what appears to be a bird sized man. The man-like creature salutes you and says, “Can you kindly call off your beast sir? I meant no harm.”  Still holding the creature by the collar of an ornate jacket, the cat says, “No — harm? This imp was attempting to set a fire in Milady’s Azalea’s, and he meant no harm?”  The cat growled menacingly. The man-like creature says, “Twas cold kind sir, no harm meant.”   ==+== So, what will you do with this being that your cat would clearly like to kill. And. By the way, where did you get a talking cat?

They were lovers in an earlier life.

          Your next-door neighbor, a woman you have known for more than ten years, has suddenly begun acting strange. Is she sick? Has she lost her mental faculties? You do not know, but have grown concerned and decide to find out. When you go to knock on the door, you find it open. Inside on the floor lies the body of a winged lizard that looks kind of like a human, but it is scaled and has talons instead of hands or feet. Incredibly fast, the creature turns to face you issues a hiss. It rises up on its hind feet and looks you in the eye. In a hissing slithery voice, it says, “You were always too damned nosy by half. Now, neighbor, you must understand, no one may know my secret.” ==+== Tell the story of who this woman is, what is her history? what is her goal in hiding as a human? And what does she do with you to keep her secret?

(200) Walking across your freshly mown lawn, you notice something you’ve never seen before. The grass is lying there as it has always done, but it is not just randomness in every direction, it is actually lying there in patterns. The patterns are paisleys of every size, some elongated, some squat and fat. You look at the apple tree that has graced your front yard for thirty years, and the limbs have turned soft and begun to melt like a candle in the hot sun. But the sun is missing from the sky,. In its place is a spiral of clouds that have a depth dimension you have never seen before. The thought runs through your mind that you have lost touch with sanity. Your body begins to float, and you find yourself sucked into the vortex of clouds. ==+== Tell us the story of where you end up and why.

You’ve twenty years on the police force. Anger flows through you for inside the courthouse, just now, a child rapist and murderer walked free because of a technical error on the part of a clerk who had nothing to do with the case. This is the fifth murderer in a year that you have seen the courts set free. Three days ago, you were diagnosed with liver cancer. Something inside you snaps. You decide you will avenge those innocents who have died. ==+==Write your story of how you avenge the innocents.

You feel the energy when you walk into the room. A lamp sits in the center of a round table, two empty chairs, and a deck of cards are the only occupants. The energy raises the hair on your neck and arms. When you step to the table, an apparition appears in one of the chairs. It gestures for you to sit in the other. When you refuse the apparition shrugs and begins to shuffle the deck. The first card he turns is entitled The Moon. The second is The Hanged Man. The apparition looks up at you, tilts its head to the right and draws the next card, the Two of Wands inverted. The apparition speaks: The Moon meaning: unconscious, illusions, intuition; The Hanged Man meaning: sacrifice, release, martyrdom; Two of Wands meaning:  Reversed: fear of change, playing safe, bad planning. The room dissipates into a foggy wood and a pathway lies ahead of you. You look behind to where the door should be, but there is only a small dark pond. Fear rages within you. ==+== Write your story of returning to reality, and how it affects your life using the card parameters given above.

Ah, human, it’s about time you showed up.

On the Island of Souls, a place where people go to die, where you have come to die, you encounter what you believe is a spirit. It says, “Of course we are all granted free will in life. You are free to take whatever course you choose, however, if you do as you have planed, you will permanently forsake that freedom from your soul. You shall be condemned to roam this island, unable to ascend, unable to be reborn, unable to rest.” ==+== Tell us your story. Do you join the other lost souls, or do you return to the land of the living and try to tell of your encounter? What are the results?

(195) It’s been eight years since a moving truck brought boxes and furniture into the house next door. Even so, the very first time you see your neighbor; it is an hour before dawn. Tendrils of sweet incense hang in the air. A dim light leaks from her door, and you can see that she is a frail, pale woman of at least seven decades. Her lace trimmed black dress appears out of the Victorian age. You discover what woke you. She is sobbing, and she is shoveling dirt in her back yard. Next to the woman, a black garbage bag, big enough to hold a large dog, or maybe a person bent into a fetal position, lying on the ground beside her. ==+== What is this recluse doing and why? Who is she and where did she come from? Are you in any danger?

You discover a book covered in light greyish leather. The words inside are inscribed by a hand that is cramped and jerky. You cannot make out the language. When you take it to an expert to examine, it disappears from your car seat. Six days later, you find it under your bed. You try again to show it to someone, and it vanishes like before only to turn up on the top shelf of a pantry three days later. You take photos of the book only to discover empty space in the pictures when you bring them up to look at. ==+== Tell the story of the book and how you determine what it is and what it says.

You check your email and find something entitled, “Will you take a chance?” It’s not in your spam folder, and the sender is not familiar. You know it’s crazy to do so, but you open the email. “Print this email out. It is an invitation to meet with Reginald Hawthorn, philanthropist, and purveyor of dreams. Dreams are often just that, dreams. However, once in a thousand lifetimes, someone is gifted with the opportunity to turn those dreams into reality. Here is your chance. Your appointment is at 6:30 pm tonight at the Marriot Hotel bar. Wear or carry a peach colored rose and bring your invitation. You may be accompanied by your attorney or significant other if you wish but know this opportunity is only for you. Someone will greet you and escort you to meet with Mr. Hawthorn. Your dreams are about to become true. For the sake of your future, do not be late.” ==+== Describe your thinking, your reaction, and what happens when you show up at the Marriot Hotel bar. Alternatively, do you choose to toss the email as another piece of spam? If so, describe the daydream you have about the fulfillment of your heart’s desire.

On the train, your assigned seat is next to someone who is sleeping. You try not to disturb them, but they wake anyway and say hello. After a bit, you both go back to sleep. When you wake sometime later, that person is gone. When you get off the train, you feel different somehow. Something within you has changed. You sense it but have no inkling of what it is. The thought of what has changed permeates your mind until you sit in the Uber taking you to your hotel. The person driving looks strongly like the person that had been sleeping next to you on the train. “Did you enjoy your commute?” they ask. The streets around you suddenly disappear. In their place are stars, the moon and a sense of weightlessness. “Settle in, relax, your journey has only just begun.” You hear a hissing sound and sleep draws you into its embrace. ==+== What has happened? Who is this person? Where are they taking you? Describe what greets you when you wake again.

Your ship landed after 30 years cryosleep. You are on Earth it appears, but where are all the people where are the trees. the grass, the water?

(190) Jyne, a scientist, wakes to find herself in a world where women are barely considered human. She has no knowledge of how she got there. She knows that educated as she is (in sciences, technology, and mathematics) and well skilled (in building robots, electronic circuitry, and doing limited programming) her knowledge can be a significant issue for her.  Tell her story, specifically her struggle to survive and thrive in her new situation.

The ground erupts in front of you, sixteen armor clad skeletons rise and stand facing you. Each holds a shield with a nine-sided star and a rounded half globe in the center, they also hold rusty swords. When you turn to run, another dozen of the soldiers rise to block your path. Your I-phone and umbrella will not do you much good here. Within fifteen minutes, you count thirty-six of them. They are not attacking, neither are they opening a path for you to exit. Half an hour passes, and you hear a voice, “Ah, my pets. What have you found for me?” You see a robed figure approaching. —+—  Tell us your story of the next three days.

Dastre stood on the rocky outcrop above the small town of Otter’s Rest. The wind in his face was gentle bringing the smells of the ocean to his nostrils. His height, 400 ft. above the crashing waves prevented the sounds of the ocean reaching him, but it had been relaxing nonetheless. Until he saw one-third of Otter’s Rest vanish into thin air. The ocean rushed into the pit that had been a beautiful hill. It was there one moment and gone the next. Dastre watched a car plummet from the newly formed cliff where a road had once stood. In the water swirl in a giant whirlpool formed. Light reflected off what could only have been fish scales, but he could see no fish. How could a fish get big enough to do what he had just seen? There were no animals that big. ==+== Tell us Dastre’s story from here. Does he report what he saw? Does he convince himself that he saw nothing? Does he suffer nightmares afterward?

Jessie rolls the dice: green 13, blue 4. Dom throws her Knight Templar card into the discard pile and slides the ‘forbidden artifact,’ a pewter dragon holding a crystal ball, across the table to Jessie. The dragon’s crystal ball glows red, the room spins; cards, artifacts and lunch slide to the floor as Jessie and Dom hold onto the table to stay upright. When everything settles, the two teens look at each other’s tear-streaked faces and scream again. The room in the back of the comic book store is gone. They are in a cave entrance; below, a vast tree-covered valley. Inside the cave, they hear breathing of something that must be large, but they cannot see it. The smell from that direction causes nausea to overwhelm them; rotting meat, sulfur, and stagnant water combined. ==+== Tell us Jessie and Dom’s story from here.

Paul is in coach class, riding from Portland, Oregon to Chicago. Somewhere in mid-Montana, the train crosses a river gorge. Beautiful scenery greets his eyes even if the river looks more like chocolate milk than water. Something catches his eye to the north, at a bend in the river. Floating face down are three objects that look like bodies. They even wear clothing. Darkness leaks from them into the water. By the time his mind puts together that these are/were people, the bridge is behind him, and the train is pushing onward toward its next stop. No one else in the lounge car has reacted in a way that they might have seen what he saw. ==+== Tell us about what Paul does from here.

(185) Your ranch, 640 acres on the Missouri River, sits next to the railroad tracks owned by BNSF. They like to park their freight cars on their right of way here as it is secluded and inaccessible except by rail or by crossing your property. You are out on your ATV checking the fences and spot a person wearing dark clothing and a hoodie standing on a ladder painting on the side of a rail car. In bright pink letters, on a black background, you see four-foot-tall letters, “Impeach Tru.” The artist is creating a background for more letters. The person is not on your property, nor can you see where they may have trespassed across your land.  ===+=== What do you do?

You are ten years old and on a fishing trip with your father. Along the riverbank, thirty-foot cottonwood trees shade the water. The leaf litter from this past fall provides ample cover for the snakes that inhabit the area. Some of the serpents are colored such that they blend in with the leaves on the ground. Your deeply ingrained fear of the slithering reptiles has brought you up short of entering or even nearing the water. On a snag, stuck some twenty feet from shore, three water moccasins laze in the sun, one has its trademark cotton white mouth open. You must recover a stringer of fish that your father anchored here; you can see the post with the red ribbon that marks it fifteen feet ahead, in the direction of the water moccasins. ===+=== Tell us your thoughts, your fears, your actions to retrieve the stringer.

You are a wizard, from a world of wizards. You were wrongly accused and convicted of a heinous crime. Your punishment: banishment to a world of non-magic. A place where you have no powers. You arrive in a thick forest teaming with animals. The first thing you learn is that you are not without your abilities after all. Seeing a human, you transform your physical shape to roughly match them. The human is a man dressed richly, riding an amazing looking horse, he leads five hundred others, they are dressed it battered and stained armor. —+— Who is this man, do you become friends, or enemies. Do you assist them or do you contrive to rule this backward magicless world? How?

Ji-Tan found himself, holding a sword, in the midst of a battle, on a rocky plane. It was a place he did not recognize. The sword was heavy and dripped with blood. A vast creature, unlike anything he had ever seen before, galloped toward him. Sitting atop was a being that must have been twice his own size and swinging a mace over his head. Ji-Tan ducked and jabbed his sword into the side of the beast carrying the giant, barely missing the giant’s leg. The beast howled in pain, faltered, and then collapsed. The giant survived the fall and killed four men before turning glowing red eyes on Ji-Tan. The creature began a determined march toward Ji-Tan. —+— Tell us the story of Ji-Tan’s battle with the giant, how he got to the battle, and how he gets back to his homeland.

In the pits of Hell, a creature stirs, mighty when it still wore flesh and walked the earth, yet not much diminished by separation from its body. The change had only forced Alfar to learn new strategies. Now, three millennia since physical death, she felt ready to rise again. Satan appeared in an instant, “Ah, Alfar, I wondered when you would stir. What is your desire? Will you be released into the world of men? Shall you incarnate on a world of Elforms? Or do you wish to challenge me for the throne of Hell?” In response, Alfar roared such that all of creation rattled and shook. “The first will suffice,” for now. And when I have had my fill of revenge, I shall return here and destroy you, god of the dead. ===+===  Tell us Alfar’s story. Who, what is she? How does she exact her revenge? And what of her challenge of a god?

(180) Your pet turtle passed away a week ago. You finally have the emotional strength to clean out its enclosure in the back yard. As you do so, you find a pile of identical, big-toe sized shiny rocks hidden in a depression. You see claw marks on the sides; it appears the turtle dug out the depression. There are one-hundred-forty-four rocks in total. You take one of them to a friend who happens to be a geologist, and he gives you a strange look and asks you where you got it. After several minutes of discussion, he tells you it is one of the biggest, purest diamonds he has ever seen. ===+=== tell us the story of what happens next.

The unnatural glow from the leaves and rocks lit the path.

You wake to a gawdawful racket coming from your front yard. When covering your head with a pillow does not allow you to go back to sleep, you investigate. When you open the curtains, you see nothing but black birds, crows, ravens, with a smattering of vultures. All of them facing your house and calling. The sun has crested the horizon, and you can see clouds of black birds flying in your direction. Several of the nearest birds fly up and a larger creature lands, it is bird-shaped but also roughly humanoid. It points a winged arm at you and begins a slow, steady walk towards you. Birds jump out of its way but light where the creature’s foot had been. —+— What have you done to deserve this visit? What does the bird prince/princess want with you? Tell us the story, choose your point of view, bird or human.

Your army has been victorious. It marches home across the ashes and corpses of your defeated enemy. You plan a celebration for their reunion with country, home, and family. Yet, a trusted courier arrives and states, “Your Highness, those that return are not who they were. Arch-Mage Farilan, (the strongest mage on the planet by a factor of ten) has cursed and infected them with a plague that shall render your kingdom down to a realm of undead, bloodsucking monsters that must consume each other. If you do not stop them before they enter your borders, everyone shall perish. Only one will survive in the end, and that one is you, Your Highness. Your ultimate destiny will be to wander the planet in search of food but never dying. Even now, on their return, your soldiers are falling on one another. —+— Tell us your story, Your Highness. What will you do? How can you possibly avoid your fate?

Your best friend has become aligned with a political entity which is 180 degrees counter to what you believe and where your values fall. It seems that each time you see them, they want to argue about your stance, and much of what pours out of their mouth you find offensive. You’ve been best buds for the past two decades, and you genuinely do not wish to destroy that but feel your friend has already pushed the bounds of what is okay.  —+—  Tell us about yourself, how this feels, and what you will do, then take us through the actual doing.

(175) Your writing prowess has finally been recognized. You receive an invitation to join a group of professional writers within your genre. To do so, you must create a character that will interact with characters other members have created to act out scenes that are assigned by a scene’s master. Property rights for each character remain that of the writer who creates them and may only be used for publication with the owner’s permission. The first scene you are to write towards: ‘six people; three men two women and a child are in an old west saloon, the date is July 28, 1872. In fifteen hundred words, your character must introduce themselves and take the others through the actions of resolving the problem with the Sheriff, a no-account drunk, who has locked up the wife of the mayor and may be raping her in his jail, while three armed deputies stand guard outside. This is the final test of your acceptance to the group. —+— What do you write?

You stumble upon an oasis in the Sahara. Ruins lie in pieces that nearly surround the standing water. No trees grow here, but there are small tufts of green poking up here and there. A stone tablet lies at the edge of the water, partly covered in green algae.  When you clean it, you learn the name of this place is Mugilio, its demise came from space seventy years in the past. Any who enter may find themselves attacked, abducted or abandoned in a place so foreign as to mean certain death.  The script ends with, “Good luck stranger, look to the skies for your destiny which comes now.” You look up and see a beam of light shooting from space to the spot where you stand. —+— Tell us what happens over the next several days.

You did it. You landed your dream job. Your first assignment is to build a hot air balloon from scratch. You must draft a design, gather all the materials, construct and test it. The balloon is for the boss’ daughter and her fiancé, so it has to be right. You will get help from three crewmembers to assemble the balloon. When you reach that stage, you learn that the crewmembers are chimpanzees, and they do not play well with one another. In fact, they tend to scream and throw feces at each other, a lot. You quickly learn they do not like you either. Unfortunately, you cannot rid yourself of the furry beasts, as they must be present while the construction period goes on. —+— Tell us your plan to build and test the balloon.

The tigron stalks Mallory as she walks through the forest. She knows it’s there and refuses to panic. Should it decide to eat her, there will be little Mallory can do to stop it. The beast can climb, it can fly short distances, its sense of smell rivals that of dogs, and it can run five times faster than any human. The tigron may have some intelligence, though no one knows how much. Folklore says they can communicate on some level. Although the beasts are so rare, few credible witnesses have ever told the tale of talking with one, and those stories are so old as to have passed into the guise of myth. —+— Tell us the tale of this encounter.

The year is 3517, Mars is fully terraformed, and the population is bursting at the seams. A mass migration of people from Earth and Mars are preparing to cross the Galaxy to begin new colonies on three worlds in nearby solar systems.  The Tanita, a race of quadruped Cat-like beings have joined forces with humans to populate this part of the galaxy. Standing in opposition is a reptilian race of humanoids, the Archons, with scaled skin and telepathic powers beyond human comprehension. The Archons have the ability to shapeshift. The Archons, have decided that this expansion is unacceptable and have infiltrated the humans to put a stop to it before the ships can launch. —+—  Tell us this story from the point of view of an Archon spy.

(170)  On the planet of mist, so called because it is nearly always cloaked in a cloud of fog, its human name is Tosho, white-skinned beings live their primitive lives in near perfect harmony. Creatures that represent themselves as men appear one day, riding a chariot of gleaming shiny material the inhabitants cannot fathom. When it landed the chariot caused such a disruption in the immediate area that dozens of beings died, hundreds of others had to be taken to places of peace to allow their psyche time to recover. Three of the ‘men’ exit the chariot and ask to speak to whoever is in charge. There is so much disruption of the ethereal energy around these men that you, Okni of tribe Gitla fear their intent, you see shades of red, of black and sickly yellow surrounding the creatures, polluting the space around them and know they are not to be trusted. —+— Tell us the full story of this encounter Okni.

The woman at the metaphysical shop handed you a wand with a shaft of apple, topped with three double terminated smoky quartz crystals attached at the end. Wave this over the forehead of your daughter, chant the words, peace find this child, clear her mind of negative thoughts so that her real self may emerge. The idea had been to remove her negativity. What happens instead, her eyes begin to change and take on the properties of a cat, her skin begins to sprout fine blond fur, and there are a few faint stripes as the fur grows back over the forehead. You pull the wand away, but she grabs it from you and waves it over the rest of her body while you stand there in shock, she changes into something striped like a tiger with spots in odd places. She looks up at you with her cat eyes, and says, “Thank you for revealing my true nature.” Then she turns and runs out of the house. —+— Tell us the story of the daughter.

You wake to find yourself in the back of a van, handcuffed, hobbled, and gagged. You feel a strap across your chest that holds you upright and pinned to the metal wall. A man and a woman, both with features that appear chiseled from years of physical training, sit across from you. Each has a short, odd-looking weapon lying on their laps. Neither looks at you, but stares blankly at the wall beside you. A panel to your left opens; it is barely large enough for the face that appears. It is a strange, furry face, it’s eyes too large, it’s teeth too sharp, its ears in the wrong place. The sound that issues out of its mouth: hissing, growling, and chirping, are insensible to you.  The two humans sit up straight; the male looks at you. His eyes; his eyes have been replaced with computer chips. His weapon rises to point in your direction. —+— Tell us who your captors are, where they are taking you, what they plan to do with you, how you escape, and whatever intel you can gather on your way out.

Tina watches the slow tick of the second hand. Mrs. Samuels is droning on, talking about cell membranes.  Tina’s eyes are drooping, a result of only getting an hour’s sleep last night. But, she had achieved her goal. She had made contact. They will arrive in another ten minutes. After that? Well, certainly this stupid Physical Science class will be gone. People on this planet don’t have a rudimentary understanding of what is possible, what is real, and what has happened in the past. They live with their primitive knowledge believing themselves to be the top of the food chain. How wrong they are, how lucky they’ve survived this long. But that past is over now. Marzink’s ship will land, and Earth will become the next prize in the intergalactic Conquest of Lagery. And Tina Carpenter will become one of the high nobles who run it. Tina stands, kicking over her chair. “That’s enough of that drivel Mrs. Samuels. We’ve heard more than enough of this crap. It’s time you all recognize your true place in the Universe.”  A loud whirring noise rattles the windows jerking everyone’s attention away from Tina. —+— Tell us Tina’s story.

Doctor James Jak stepped from the machine and found himself facing a tall gleaming castle. On top of the wall, he could make out forms holding weapons. On the roadway leading to a dull red, metallic gate, he sees what look like carts, but there are no horses, only clouds of steam pouring from beneath them. You can make out the driver of one, and it isn’t a human, or if it is, he seems to be made of gleaming gold and silver, his clothing shines like newly polished chrome. Somebody screwed up. This was supposed to be Bodiam Castle in East Sussex, England. It is supposed to be March 3rd, 1390. This isn’t even Earth. When he looks at the transceiver on his wrist, he sees that he has a few minutes less than ten days before the return. The mission is a bust, and months of work acclimating to time and place, useless now.Dr. Jak must find a way to stay alive in an unknown world until the recall function kicks in. —+—Tell us Doctor James Jak’s story of survival.

(165) The Cessna rattled as it hit another bunch of turbulence. You nose down out of the cloud bank to a lower altitude to see if you can avoid more of the bone-jarring shaking. Instead of the Arizona desert that you should be flying over, you see nothing but water from horizon to horizon. At five thousand feet, you notice two metallic objects roughly an elongated, smallish, with no visible means of propulsion. They are keeping pace with you a little ways off to either side.  Looking ahead, you see a dozen more of the objects forming a kind of geometric pattern. Light shoots from one to another of the objects, and suddenly you see you are flying into some sort of net. You try to steer away only to find you no longer have control of the Cessna. Moments pass and you realized the airplane is landing on an island. Lining the runway are mounds of metallic scraps that appear to be bits and pieces of other aircraft. When you have come to a stop, the door opens. —+— Who greets you and how? Why have they taken you? What do they want of you? What will you do to do to get back to your family?

Twenty feet down, your excavator shovel strikes something. The geologic survey said there should be nothing but poorly formed sandstone for another hundred feet. Yet whatever you hit sounded metallic and even over the sounds of the motor, you heard an echo. You step down into the hole and clear the debris from the surface where you find a portal. With lots of curiosity and some reservation, you open it. The smell that strikes you is awful, unidentifiable, and wet. You shine a light inside. It looks like a moss-covered cave more than anything metallic. A blackish-green, liquid ooze covers the floor to an indeterminable depth. You see the wake of something moving in the ooze. A grating noise suddenly booms from inside, flashes of intense purple light fill the space. You slam the portal shut and step back.  The surface below you begins to vibrate. You turn and climb out of the hole. —+— What happens next?

Sunlight reflects from the shards of a broken mirror. As you near, the totality of destruction wraps itself around you. No one could have survived this. On the ground, broken pieces that might have been many things, but nothing remained that was identifiable. Faint wisps of smoke rose from what might once have been a blanket.  Water gurgled from the ground; a pipe had been sheered with the explosion and buried by the debris. Six hours earlier, you would have been here. Who is trying to kill you that they would go to this level of effort? And Why?

A group of religious fanatics lives across the street. They have placed a cross in their front yard that stands ten feet tall. One morning, three weeks after it was erected, you step outside to pick up a newspaper on the sidewalk. The cross has a body hanging from it. You step closer and see your face on the body. Behind you, a group of teens beat on flat round drums and chant words you do not understand. To your right, a Buddhist monk, head bowed mumbles unintelligibly. Near the house’s door you see a woman wearing a nun’s habit carrying a long-bladed knife that has red smudges coating the steel. To your left, a black man with grey-knotted hair, wearing nothing but a loincloth, beckons you to follow him..

Taz, is that you?

(160) Three female lions rest at the base of the tree you are sitting in. You’ve been trapped there for a night and most of a day. You would not be worried, but every so often one of the lions looks up at you and licks its lips, yawns then lays its head on its feet. You know that lions rarely climb trees but they will if something motivates them, something like hunger. Problem is, you are out of water and have no way to call for help.

You woke in a strange bed this morning. You feel hungover, but you do not remember drinking last night. You look around and realize you are in an old cheap motel room. In the bathroom, you look at the mirror, and a strangers face peers back at you.

This is where the hidden entrance is located, or at least that is what the instructions said. The smell of vomit, urine and the gods only know what else slammed Alex as he stepped into the dark alleyway. The hair on his neck began to rise. Goosebumps ran up his arms. A feeling of something off settled over him. Glancing upward, dim yellow light of windows glowed out of the otherwise black walls. Three steps later, he froze. Alex felt as much as heard a deep, rumbling growl pouring from a too dark shadow, next to a dumpster.

Traction was nil on the fine silt flowing down the hill. The tires broke and spun, Jen felt the vehicle begin to slide backward. She turned the steering wheel to the side and slammed her foot on the brake. There was no difference, gravity had sway here, and the lack of friction meant she was not going any further. However, she gained speed backward with every few feet. The bottom of the hill did not worry her, the ravine on the other side of the road did. She looked at the side mirror, in a few movements she would slide over the edge and down the forty-foot embankment into the swollen Arkansas River.

Time passed slower here than on earth. The scientists had tried to explain time dilation and warps in the fabric of space. Way over Tyson’s head and he told them that. When the ship reached home, his daughter would be an adult… No, she would be middle-aged. Physically, she would be older than his thirty-two years. There was something wrong with that. Would she be waiting at the other end of the ramp when he arrived? Since communications were lost to a tiny, invisible asteroid, at least to their instruments, near Jupiter on the way out, he had no way of knowing. The mission had been successful. Personally, he was bringing home what he believed would be the largest pair of diamonds ever seen on earth. According to his contract, these were his to do with as he wished. The company would take the gold, of course, its mining and return had been their mission.

(155) “Come, let’s see how old we can grow together.” The advertising went on to say the treatment would do away with any need for a doctor again. The series of injections would turn her immune cells into immortal warriors against any infection that attacked the body. They would attach to ‘T’ cells to recreate organs that might have been lost and to regenerate damaged tissues caused by whatever means.  Whatever the actual limits to human life spans were, these treatments will be the vehicle of finding a definitive answer. So far, that age limit pushed 175 years. How much further, was anyone’s guess.

Meetings were held in private homes, select people were invited but not before substantial vetting. Still, sometimes, law enforcement managed to slip a shill in to take names and push prosecution.  Tonight’s meeting would be no different. Each person passing through the front door had to put on the mind sniffer. It had a reputation of 98% accuracy in detecting people who had ill intent. Tonight there was a special visitor, the head of the party: the woman everyone believed would lead the nation and the world to a different place. A place where anyone could proclaim their political affiliation without threat.

Nithe probed the wound. It should have hurt but didn’t.  Her skin had a grey tint to it that was unusual. Standing, she felt sluggish and off balance. She could smell something good, and her stomach growled. She walked, but it came out as a stumble. Nithe leaned against a tree and looked around. Then she saw it, the thing that made her stomach growl, it caused saliva to leak from her open mouth.

Konic spoke rapidly, as usual. This time so fast that no one could understand him. You think you heard something about a dozen and a word that came out as peopdies. People? Bodies? Or people dies? He is waving you to come with him. You walk quickly around the outside of the school building and end up on the football field. There, lined up nice and neatly are twelve people wearing dirty football jerseys and pads as if they had been playing and now lay down to rest, but each was missing a vital part, there was no helmet, and there was no head to have held a helmet. On the field, you can see a bloody path leading back to the school.

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