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Flashy shorts, p.1
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       Flashy Shorts, p.1

           D. H. Davis
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Flashy Shorts

  Very short reads, longer thoughts

  by D.H.Davis

  Copyright D. H. Davis 2013

  Table of Contents

  After The Rain

  The Custodian

  Psychotic Squirrel



  Room 13

  Babies on Hold

  Is Heaven Full of Rocks?

  When Cats Ruled The World

  The Power of Thought

  I Wasn't Mad

  Stop The World I Want to Get Off

  The Permanent Resident


  Hey Mama


  Blue Sky


  You're Supposed to be Enjoying Yourself



  Forty days and nights? Everything and everyone flooded away. Not a problem! In fact, it would have been welcomed right now. Twenty-five solid years of rain across most of this Earth has wiped out all but the fittest. Natural selection? Well there were rumours of changes, adaptations to the rain, but no-one had seen. No-one confirmed.

  And then there was me. Endlessly adapted to the endless rain. Not by choice, by design. Endless design. Stolen at age three, "for the good of humankind". Never to return to humankind. I am alone now. Adapted no more. They didn't know where their designs were taking me, but they do now. I gave them their forty days and nights. The irony amused me. The strangest things amuse me. Is that part of the design, or me? I can't tell the difference anymore.

  Free from restraint, I wander alone, so very alone.


  Left to tend the forest, Dewey cared for the plants as he had been programmed and taught. His master left him some time ago. How long? Dewey had no recollection of that kind of time. His time consisted of when to water, when to seed, when to replant. His time was plant time. Bequeathed to him from his master; a dented watering can and sun lamps.

  Maintenance of the sun lamps was essential. The scattering of stars throughout space outside the dome would never provide the light, the life, needed to keep his forest alive. And it was his forest now. His master had said so.

  The rabbits that lived within the forest had come to see Dewey as their companion. Coming to greet him when they heard the sound of his motors. Running around and playing as he tended to his tasks.

  His master never said when he would return, and so Dewey would remain the custodian of the domed forest, of Earth's natural past, until the people of Earth realised just how much they had so easily thrown away.

  Until then, he would remain the custodian. Caring for a new Mother Earth through space and time.

  (Homage to Silent Running, Douglas Trumbull et al)


  "It really isn't me, you know, that squirrel is crazy!"

  "Yeah, right, a psychotic squirrel just happens to turn up in your garden and decide it's his sole purpose in life to terrorise you. Not to just be a squirrel and do squirrel things. You know, like collect nuts and bury them."

  "You should see what he does, the way he sits and stares at me through my bedroom window at night..."

  "Oh, please! Give me a break. How can a squirrel possibly..."

  "I'm telling you, he sits there and scratches at the window. Scratch, scratch, scratch. He's trying to drive me mad."

  "Did you actually see this squirrel at your window?"

  "Well... no,"

  "Well, there you are then."

  "Because he runs away when I get to the window."

  "Oh really! Have you heard how you sound right now? 'I'm being victimised by a squirrel'. Just where is this psychotic squirrel of yours right now anyway?"

  "Over there."

  "Where? I can't see anything."

  "Outside, just by the shed."

  "By the shed? But that's, that's a stone squirrel, an ornament."

  "I told you. He's a very clever squirrel."


  He had travelled through space and time to do his master's bidding. To bring death and decay to a 'protected' world full of life.

  By stealth and deceit he would accomplish his task. Never being seen. The life would crumble under it's own dismay and despair. No-one would see his hand pass over them, cursing them to their own personal destruction.

  From one small village left untouched by the wider world, he would radiate his darkness. Spreading ever wider, as a virus, contagious to those that lived on this planet. Those he touched would touch others, and so his virus would spiral out of control. Reaching and decimating even the most powerful cities.

  By the time his hunters realised the truth, it would be too late. No antidote to be given in time. No-one here to help those last to survive

  But still, he had to be quick, and then this world will belong to his master, to he that had many names and yet no name. Maybe then he too would be free to die, to decay.


  "I'm sure you've heard of Bi-Polar, Mr Smith. Well what you have is known in medical fields as Bi-Grizzly."

  "Bi-Grizzly? You must be joking, surely?"

  "No, Mr Smith, I'm serious, deadly serious. There's no easy way to tell you this, Mr Smith, but Bi-Grizzly has some very severe symptoms and has been known to even be terminal in some cases."

  "Oh, my God. Terminal?"

  "Yes, in some cases, Mr Smith, but in your case I wouldn't worry too much about that right now. You're in the early stages of Bi-Grizzly."

  "That's a relief."

  "Yes, but saying that, you must still be very careful, Mr Smith. Should you choose to refuse treatment, you will most definitely suffer more severe symptoms, and become a danger to those around you."

  "What do you mean? A danger? I have a family, young children. Can I pass this onto them, Doctor?"

  "As we've caught this in the early stages, Mr Smith, with treatment you can indeed be cured. Without immediate treatment your young children are at great risk. This of course puts your wife in a very awkward position. She is a very integral part of the monitoring of your response to treatment. However, without treatment you will reach what we call the 'Hunt Stage', where the only medical option will be to shoot you."

  "Shoot me! Don't I have to sign a waiver for that? I refuse to sign anything."

  "No, Mr Smith. In cases of Bi-Grizzly, the wife can give full consent, as yours has already."

  "What was that noise? It sounded like a gunshot?"

  "That's correct, Mr Smith. Unfortunately we were unable to satisfactorily treat Mr Jones. According to his wife's treatment notes, he responded very poorly indeed."

  ROOM 13

  The Madeira guest house was comfortable and popular with both locals and visitors alike. Set on the outskirts of a pretty village near the coast, it had the best of the countryside, beach and the lure of the local independent arts and crafts businesses. It was the last place anyone would have expected to find death and destruction. And hope.

  All the rooms were fully booked, except one. Room thirteen was always empty. The superstitious nature of the masses. When Helen arrived, her choice was simple. Room thirteen or no room at all. She checked in, and touched wood for luck.

  The third night it happened. He arrived at reception. Mean, mad and intent on death.

  The police, when interviewed, confirmed that all staff and guests had been brutally murdered in the night. All, except one. The occupant of room thirteen had been left unharmed.

  The number thirteen. Too much of a barrier for even the murderer to cross? Or good luck after all?


  The decision was implemented nineteen years ago. No more babies to be born for at least the next forty years. It was to be time to concentrate on people already
living. Time for people to stop struggling to survive, instead to thrive. To make the most of the resources available.

  Amazingly, very few people still wanted children. When offered the chance to make something of themselves, to live full, supported lives, they jumped at the opportunity. Children no longer needed as props to make individuals feel important.

  Any who still wanted a baby were allowed to leave for a life on the island of the UK, where they could have children. The price of procreation? Support your offspring yourself with no state funding. Financial isolation became a strong deterrent.

  For the rest, the plan was beautiful in its simplicity. School the young, focussing on inate talents, skills and aptitudes. Direct them accordingly into matching careers. No barriers to their development. No limit on their potential.

  Everyone already past school age, were reassessed, allocated to the working life that suited them as individuals. Encouraged to learn, create. To share knowledge, skills and experience.

  The elderly were finally given the status they deserved. No-one left wasting away, alone, cold, hungry. Their lifetime of experience and knowledge shared amongst the younger generations.

  The decision on future children was not to be made for another twenty-one years, but there was talk to allow only enough to replace those who passed away. Balance maintained.


  "Mummy, what is heaven like? Is it full of rocks?"

  "Rocks? Why would you think that, darling?"

  "It's just that I heard Daddy say to Uncle Jim, that he'd gone to heaven."

  "He did? But I still don't understand why you'd think Heaven was full of rocks, love?"

  "Well I heard Daddy say that he'd got his 'rocks off' in heaven, so I wondered if everyone who went to heaven did the same, then wouldn't that make heaven full of rocks?"

  "You go to sleep, darling, and I'll ask Daddy and find out about Heaven for you."

  "Ok, Mummy, night night, I love you."

  "I love you too sweetie."

  "Morning Mummy, did you find out about Heaven from Daddy?"

  "Yes dear, I had a long talk with Daddy and Uncle Jim about Heaven last night after you'd gone to bed."

  "And the rocks, Mummy?"

  "Daddy got a bit confused, darling, he meant to say Hell, not Heaven. And the bruises that you'll see on Daddy were caused when he fell on the rocks last night,"

  "Oh, OK, Mummy."


  In ancient times cats were seen as gods, revered and worshipped. In olden times they were seen as pets, or pests, depending on your view. In the now time, cats ruled the world.

  Of all the species humankind thought would be able to survive the nuclear decimation of Earth, cats just hadn't figured into the equation. The usual suspects, insects, had to some degree survived intact. They just weren't quite the same anymore. But then two hundred years of nuclear fallout could do that to the genome.

  Cats, though, had come through pretty much unscathed. Their ancient genetic code obviously being of sturdier stuff, alien in it's strength to survive.

  The rest of us, humankind as we were once known, were not so fortunate. Our younger genetic makeup had been easier to fragment, to rearrange, to dissolve. You would hardly recognise us now.


  Our Interstellar Mission carried so faithfully by Voyager, the only legacy of how we used to be, the only blueprint of an existence we once lived. The last chance to regain ourselves.


  I sit here, encased from the world and yet within the world. Physically unable to move, not even a muscle. Yet, within the world I move freely and freely move all things.

  As you watch me sit here, you see nothing. No reaction, no emotion, but within the world I am the instigator and carrier of feelings, good, bad and indifferent.

  I sit here seemingly powerless, and yet I wield more power than those in the entire world combined.

  I am what you call autistic. In my world I hold the power of thought. You may not yet see my world, but it is here. And one day you just may develop the power of thought to see my world for yourself.


  When I ran away and joined the circus. Life was hard, but thrilling when I saw the children's laughing faces.

  I wasn't mad when I ran away, lied about my age, and joined the merchant navy. I got to see countries I'd never heard of before.

  I wasn't mad when I ran away with a gypsy woman. She loved hard,and played hard.

  I wasn't mad when I did all these things. But my family sure thought so. Now here I am, sectioned and secured.

  I wasn't mad then, but I may end up that way now.


  Open voice-link, contract complaints department.

  "Why have you not answered any of my shuttle messages. I've sent five so far already."

  "I'm sorry for your inconvenience, Sir, but we have been experiencing technical difficulties with shuttle retrieval and hope to have this service operation back in optimal effect within two cycles."

  "Well, that's just not good enough!. Couldn't you have at least holographed a statement to that effect so I didn't have to waste five cycles trying to contact you?"

  "I'm sorry, Sir, but the shuttle technical difficulties were to be fixed in one cycle, and so no holographic statement was deemed necessary."

  "That's beside the point! Anyway, enough time wasting, this real-time voice link is costing me a fortune in personal credits. Your contract said this world was 'guaranteed free from artificials, processed and modifieds' but it isn't. So I want to get off, and I want you to come and retrieve me at your expense. As is my right under your terms and conditions."

  "I'm sorry, Sir, but if you look at the small print, the contract clearly states that we are not to be held responsible for any contamination brought in by our users, and this is not a contract-revoking condition."

  "What do you mean? Contamination? Brought in by users? I don't understand."

  "Unfortunately, Sir, there are some users who subvert the contract and carry artificials, processed and even modifieds onto the clean worlds. Despite our best efforts to make upgrades in these areas, full satisfaction of our users is not always achievable. We are however working right now to bring improvements to your world, however they may be delayed due to asteroid interference. Please be advised that we take your complaint seriously and hope that you will find an improvement once upgrades are complete on your world, Cygna Five."

  "Cygna Five? But I'm on Delta Three. Hello? Hello?"

  "I'm sorry, but your personal credits have expired and voice-link has been terminated. We recommend you use shuttle message for a speedy reply."


  Just how long had Mr Jordan been a guest at the hotel? No-one seemed to know. Guest records didn't show his first arrival date, but then there had been that fire three years ago in the office. Maybe his record had been one of those lost.

  How old was Mr Jordan? No one was really sure. Some days he seemed so old, other days, more spritely.

  What did Mr Jordan do with his day? Every morning after breakfast, where he ate nothing and just took sandwiches in his little paper bag, he left the hotel and wasn't seen again until dinner. A glass of wine, must be red, and nothing to eat, empty paper bag ready for more sandwiches.

  Why did Mr Jordan always sit in reception when new guests were due to arrive? Sitting still, never saying a word.

  What did Mr Jordan think as he strolled around the hotel? Merely glancing at some guests, a little more interest shown to others.

  What did Mr Jordan do at night? No sound ever came from his room.

  Why did Mr Jordan stare intently at some guests when they were due to leave? Why did they stare back? Why did Mr Jordan smile only then?


  It was the latest thing in spacewear. Bio-Skin. Self cleaning, full UV and off-world radiation protection, impervious to cuts. Every
one was raving about it.

  We all went to Tech Systems to get fitted for our very own Bio-Skins. We were a team, special space forces, our skins would have a special unique logo burned into them. Just for us, Johnny had designed it himself. Tattoos had been outlawed decades ago, so logos had taken their place, engraved into the fabric of clothes.

  A badge of honour, ours were going to be proudly displayed on our right biceps. When complete, they would look almost like the real old-world tattoos.

  At Tech Systems everything went smoothly. Once holographically measured, our skins were grown, logos pre-programmed for permanency. They fitted perfectly.

  It wasn't until after our next mission on Alpha Three that we realised something wasn't right. Our mission hadn't gone smoothly. Intel had been scarce, we were thrown into the middle of a planet-wide bloodbath. The bio-skins had indeed protected us from cuts, and so much more. They were now part of us. Not just a covering, but blended with our bodies, unremovable. We were different.


  It's me Jessica, Jessie. Can you hear me Mama? You just rest now, Mama, it'll be all over soon.

  I just wanted to say thank you for all you've done for me, Mama. Before I am born and I forget.

  Life's can be difficult but with your love, I've come through it all still smiling and with lots of achievements to my name. You guided me well, Mama, past the school bully, into college, the ups and downs of falling in love, with the wrong guys, and then the right guy. With your encouragement I've let my curiosity run free and discovered life is full of many happy moments. Always believing I can do it, limitless possibilities.

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