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Rejects From The Idea Factory; A Flash Fiction Anthology
Rejects From The Idea Factory; A Flash Fiction Anthology By Ray Daley

  Raymond Daley

  Copyright 1/12/2015 by Raymond Daley

  Table Of Contents

  Introduction

  A Space For Us

  Nowhere To Land

  The Repairman

  The Checkpoint

  Fourth Generation Explorers

  We Come In Peace

  Miner

  Freedom Of Choice

  Who Are The Victors?

  Contract, Unfulfilled

  Buskers

  Winterbourne Gunner

  The New Law

  The Day I Was Bella

  Fishing For Junk At Sunset

  Introduction

  What you've got here are a collection of stories that were earmarked to be free ebook releases. In mid April of this year (2015), my current PC went bang and kicked that very well prepared plan right out of the window.

  For a few months I had no access to these stories so I wrote some original ones on the fly and released those in the place of these that I'd already prepared. I'd even decided which months these were going to have been released in, some months getting two or three stories because the first release was so short.

  I didn't get access to these until I'd had to write three brand new stories, by which time it was already too late into the year to have fully released all I had. I did release some of the stories I'd had put by but found myself with fifteen shorts left.

  They date from 2012 onwards. I hope you enjoy reading them.

  A Space For Us

  17/12/13

  by Ray Daley

  Once upon a time, when the world was much younger, when there were only the beasts walking upon this world where we now live, it was a much different place. The animals lived together in peace. There was but one land over which Lion, King of all the beasts, ruled in all of his infinite wisdom.

  "How do we eat, Lion?" asked the Wolf, eager for meat.

  "We eat those who die, there will never be any shortage!" replied Lion.

  Every day another creature came to Lion, bringing their problem, seeking answers. And Lion would impart his wisdom upon them, keeping the world on its harmonious path.

  Until one day, when the Monkey came to seek his help.

  *

  "Lion, my mate and I wish to start a family but we have no safe place to call our own," said Monkey.

  So Lion considered the matter carefully and directed Monkey towards a small empty piece of land that would be ideal. It had many high fruitful trees and a thriving river. It was an ideal place to start a new life, not just for a Monkey, but for any animal. Lion had been most generous in his wisdom!

  At first Monkey and his mate were happy, scampering with their young through the multitude of trees. But as Monkeys family grew, so did his need for more space. Year by year, the branches filled with hungry young monkeys. Food became harder to find.

  So Monkey sought out Lion once more, to ask his advice on the matter.

  "Lion, my family is growing but we no longer have enough space to call our own. Can you help us, please?" Monkey asked.

  Lion considered the matter as he sat under the shade of his favourite tree until he remembered a place that would suit such a large group. Lion directed Monkey to a larger patch of land on the edge of a near-by forest. There was a mighty river winding through it and many abundant fruit trees, as well as many anthills and grubs in old tree-trunks.

  For many generations after this Monkey and his family were satisfied in their new home. Life was good. Life was wonderful.

  *

  But as before, there came a time when there was no longer enough room for them all. So Monkey set off to consult with Lion, to hear his thoughts and ask for guidance yet again.

  Lion thought long and hard, eager to sustain contentment amongst his subjects. Lion finally sent Monkey off to the furthest reaches of the world, to a mighty forest on the shores of a vast ocean, it had many rivers flowing through it, many fruits and bugs, many delights to eat and survive on.

  Monkey and his ever growing family would be happy here forever, surely? Several generations passed.

  *

  Lion and his subjects heard nothing from Monkey and his family for a long time. Then one day, word was received that a new creature had been seen walking across the plains of Lions domain.

  Lion sent out the command to all creatures, far and wide, "Summon this new creature to appear before me, I must know its name!"

  Time passed as the word went out across the world and finally one day the creature came to see Lion. The new animal walked upright, on its hind-legs. It was hairless and looked strange to all the other animals who proudly wore their fur, feathers or scales.

  The creature approached Lion. "You asked to see me?" said the new creature.

  Lion said, "I am Lion, King of all the beasts. Who are you?"

  The creature said "I am Man. My kind have need for more land, I understand you can help us?"

  Lion looked at Man. "We know nothing of your kind, and have not seen your like before. Where have you been living until now?"

  "Our ancestors were given land in a great forest by the ocean, until there were no longer enough trees to support us all. We came down from the trees and live amongst them today. But we are many, we need more space," said Man.

  Lion looked at Man again. "How many do you number?"

  When Man told him, Lion was unnerved, for it was a great deal more than any other creature under his care. "I must carefully consider where you and your kind may live in peace. Return to your forest Man creature, I will send word to you when we have a new place for you and your family."

  So Man returned to his home, to await the receipt of Lions wisdom.

  Lion knew that Man would continue to breed, needing more and more space. So he called all the other animals to him for a secret council.

  Lion said to them all, "This world of ours is getting smaller every day. Man is moving closer to us. We must all return to our homes. I will send word to you if I find a solution."

  *

  Time passed and Man spread further across the world every year. As he came closer to the home of each animal, he sent word. Man said to the animals, "I have come with word from Lion. You must surrender your lands to us. We will take care of you, we will provide a new place for your kind to live."

  Year by year, Man spread further and further across the world taking the land from all the animals, until finally only Lion and his family were left, the only animals still living free.

  Then Man went to speak with him. "Lion, you are no longer King of this world. My kind are everywhere now. You must go to the place we have saved for your family. A space has been put aside for you."

  Lion looked at Man and roared, "Never! I will never be caged like the others!"

  But Man was too powerful. And Lion, like all of the other animals, was finally tamed.

  And that is how Monkey took over the world, and became Man.

  THE END.

  Authors Notes:- Written as my attempt to created a new legend. It was submitted twice for submission, neither place wanted it. I really thought the second place would take as they were asking for things like Rudyard Kipling's "Just So" stories. I subbed this thinking "It can't miss, they HAVE to take it."

  So this is proof that there's no such thing as a sure thing.

  (subbed to FireGoat’s Fantastic Tales, rejected 10th Aug 2014)

  (subbed to 18th wall 21st Nov 2014, rejected April 1st, 2015)

  Nowhere To Land

  23/11/12

  By Ray Daley

/>   Aboard The JSS Resolve fuel was rapidly running low. Worse than running low. They were now running only on fumes.

  "Nav! Find us some freaking ground! I don't care how or where, as long as it's solid enough for us to land on." Captain Jessie screamed at Nav Officer Willows.

  Willows was punching frantically at her console desperate to find a spot to set down upon. An asteroid. A moonlet. A moon.

  Heck, even a backwoods planet would suffice now.

  "Nav! Ground? Any ground, NOW!" bellowed Captain Jessie.

  Willows hit pay-dirt, an uncharted little globe off the Western Spiral Arm. "Cap, is this big enough?"

  Jessie glanced at the screen and grunted noncommittally towards Willows.

  Jessie wrestled to stay in control. Where ever they landed on this planet, it certainly wasn't going to be pretty. "Listen up crew, we're going down fast and hard so brace for impact. Pray to 'em if you got 'em, Captain out."

  JSS Resolve burned hard as it tumbled violently through the atmosphere, it wasn't going to still be that pretty green ship it had been when it took off ten long years ago. Resolve fell, spinning ever faster. No-one inside apart from Jessie was even vaguely aware, she was the only one with any instruments that did the actual flying of Resolve.

  'Okay you big green bitch, I hate you and you hate us but let's all just not die today?' thought Jessie to herself.

  Kicking in what was left of the attitude thrusters Jessie finally wrestled Resolve onto one of its sides. The one side she didn't want them to land on but with all remaining thrusters exhausted there wasn't going to be any further choice in the matter.

  "Nav, I need to know where we're going to hit?" Jessie tried sound calm, despite the fact she was almost shitting herself.

  "If we're lucky Cap, I think the engines are going to burn us a nice space amongst a range of mountains. " Willows could see the virgin ground they were shortly about to burn a nasty scar into. She hoped this planet had no intelligent life, they were bound to complain about the mess if there was.

  The plasma engines burnt hot, hard and ugly, cutting a Resolve-shaped slot perfectly into the surrounding mountains as it fell.

  The impact was hard.

  Jessie sat in darkness, desperately stabbing at controls for any reports, any lights, anything at all!

  “I've had no crew reports, I think everyone else is dead. Judging by how I feel I don't think it'll be that much longer before I join them too. I can still hear debris covering us over though, maybe the natives won't even be able to tell that we crashed here. Perhaps one day they might dig us up. If they do, can they rename the mountain after me? After all, I am the last survivor. Captain Jessie Everest of the JSS Resolve, signing off.

  Remember us.”

  THE END

  Authors Notes:- I had the ending for this, and basically wrote it backwards. The ship was green because it looked like Starbug from Red Dwarf in my mental visualisation. I think I'd been watching CSI before I wrote this, hence the character Willows.

  The Repairman

  5//11/13

  By Ray Daley

  “Welcome pupils, one and all to Cyclical Economics 101.” I smile at the class through my optic, all are present and logged on.

  These aren't like the lessons I remember from a long distant youth, actual people in classrooms being taught hard facts by another person who'd had to study to become a teacher. My “classroom” is entirely virtual, all my students sit by their terminals all across the neighbouring star systems by virtue of tele-sync.

  Some of them phase in now and then, they are clearly the most distant from the obvious signal delay.

  “I can see some of you are very remote today, thank you for taking the time to join me in this experiment.” It's been in the pipeline for quite a while now, my postings on message-boards have garnered both funds and interest, all those “present” today have helped both financially and in other ways. They have promoted the “lesson” amongst their social network peers, for which I am grateful. Without them, we would not be “here” today.

  “Does anyone know what one of these is?” I hold the object up to the optic so it's clear to all watching.

  They aren't exactly sure what the protocol is now, despite my having sent written instructions out. Some people just never read them, no matter how nicely or forcefully you ask. My brother is exactly the same.

  “If you wish to answer, simply emote gesture two please?” I remind them.

  There is a brief delay, lots of them are looking up what that is. I suddenly see some activity on one of my screens. “Student Thorus Natrel, Luna Station. I see your hand is raised. Would you like to offer your answer?”

  “It's a data tablet?” Thorus asks more than replies, he's not really sure. This is all so new and different, no-one has done anything like this for a very long time.

  “Not just a data tablet. Did anyone try to sync to it? If not, go ahead and try, then someone else can offer me a different answer.” I throw them a lifeline, kids these days never think for themselves. Most of them need GPS and a route just to find the bathroom.

  I see a flurry of activity across the screens, I can see incoming data-packets, reflexors, buffers and loss of flebb. No flebb at all, just as I had intended. Then another raised hand. “Nita Syt, Jupiter Outpost. You have an answer?” I ask her.

  “Is it a faulty data tablet? I'm not getting any flebb from it. None at all, which is very unusual,” she replies, quite correctly too. Zero flebb is pretty much unheard of to these youngsters, quite an alien concept.

  “Yes Miss Syt, that's absolutely correct. It's a broken data tablet. So, what do I do with it?” I ask, this is all part of the lesson of course.

  On my screens a veritable forest of hands fly up now, I'm glad that 'Me! Me! Pick me!' mentality still exists in this day and age. Good to see some things never change. I set the selector to pick a screen at random. “Llamas V'ping, Outer Rims Station. Go ahead.”

  “Throw it away and get a new one,” exactly the answer I'd expected from this generation.

  “But what if I want to know what's wrong with it?” I ask.

  Silence. A sea of puzzled faces across my many screens.

  “Anyone?” It's not really fair of me to expect these kids to know what I'm pushing them towards, they haven't even heard of the concept.

  “Does anyone know what diagnostics are?” Again, more puzzled faces.

  Sadly, this is due to the age we live in. When things get broken, they simply replace them. These days, a diagnostic is something done only by a processor. It's an entirely automated procedure that tells you what is broken, how to remove it and how to sync up its newly purchased replacement.

  No-one fixes things any more.

  But this is what I hope to teach these kids, all across the spiral arm. It's judged to be subversive and it is counterproductive to the economy. Consumers buy, Makers make, Builders build.

  And perhaps one day they will learn of The Repairman.

  Things can be fixed. Like society.

  It'll take time, but then new ideas always do. Especially the ones that are truly worth the effort.

  THE END.

  The Checkpoint

  19/9/2013

  By Ray Daley

  Through the binoculars we could see two British Army trucks parked side by side, blocking the road and one man standing on the roof of one of them. This checkpoint was certainly different from all the others that we had encountered up to this point.

  On the whole they'd been removable barriers, temporary barbed wire or just one vehicle parked in the middle of the road. Generally manned by two junior soldiers, sometimes an NCO and even rarer there would be a Sergeant.

  We'd gotten through them all in the same way.

  When we escaped the camp our Hufbeschlaglehrmeister had asked to come with us, he wanted his freedom from a Reich he had never believed in anyway and he knew that the war did not have long left to run. He said that if he helped us, could we put in a good wor
d for him?

  A man of his rank, with his experience, we found that junior ranks automatically deferred to him.

  What good German soldier in his right mind would question such a senior Sergeant as he? He had become useless, a relic of the past. What use did the modern mechanised German Army now have for a simple Farrier Instructor Master. He too had had his day and found himself guarding us, but almost as much a prisoner as the men he watched over.

  At every previous checkpoint the troops had quickly smartened themselves up when they saw him coming, they let us pass without question. Only one Corporal dared asked our reason for heading towards Allied territory. We were prepared for that eventuality, we had a made up a cover story.

  “We have been tasked with removing the radio equipment from a crashed British Halifax aircraft twenty miles into enemy territory. This order has come from The Fuhrer himself, are you going to let us proceed now?” There were no further questions after this, barriers were moved, our truck was allowed to pass.

 
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