Five minutes to save the world

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Time marched on. Suzanne looked up into the blue sky and saw a bird up high. But the bird was blowing a line of smoke from its back and its wings did not flap. What was it?

She remembered her childhood, when the Great death came. Each of her grandparents, and her mother were gone in a week. Her father tried to raise her, but he had to work and earn money. So he was always away in the woods, cutting and sawing for people who could not gather firewood. They lived in an old house. Central heating did not work, no one knew how to fix it, and there was no longer a gas supply.

She looked up again, the bird, or whatever it was, had flown over the horizon, and the smoke was disappearing into the beauty of the blue sky.

Over in Omereca, a man stood by a screen, his hand hovering over the red button. Yes or no? He had the choice. The clock was running down. Would he press and destroy everything?

His aide ran in as the clocked ticked to 11.55pm.

Sir, he said quietly, the plane, its come back! They have images, there are people there, they saw woodsmoke.

The Restidebt took his hand away slowly from the button. Now we start to rebuild he said as they left the room together.

Negative dawn

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The bright green sky shone out beyond the white branches of the treeplynths.

Flinners sang in the plynths, making booming noises and screeches. The star rose above the horizon, deep red in the sky.

Veleno watched the dawn, Earthship Orion would be leaving soon. The journey to Betelguse had been stressful, but they had found this beautiful and bizarre planet circling the red giant star. But now it was time to leave. The return journey to earth would take centuries, but the Red Giant was going to go super nova soon. If they didn’t get a fair distance away from it in the next fifty years they would not survive.

Veleno took a few more images of the dawn. The whole star rise thing took about three Earth hours. He looked at the rising star, moving so slowly, what would it be like to stand here and see it explode? No, he could not imagine its immense effects and size. Time to leave.

Snakes alive

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As Sara reached out to throw the dice she saw a flicker on the Snakes and ladders board. Something had moved quickly on the surface. She saw it in the corner of her eye.

It’s your go, said her partner Jamie. Are you going to throw the dice?

Sara picked it up and threw a six. Across the board, six spaces. Her partner took the dice and threw a three. Base of a ladder and up to the fifth row. He chuckled.

Beat that he said. She threw again and again, always missing the ladders.

It’s not fair, she said.

He was almost on square one hundred now, top of the board. Sara was getting fed up.

Then she saw a flicker again. She looked at Jamie. Did you see that? No, what? He said.

Next throw, two, oh no! As she placed her counter onto the head of the snake, ready to move it down the body back to the bottom row she saw the Snakes tongue protrude from the board. It flickered against her fingers. She froze, shocked into a paralysis. She felt its fangs pierce her index finger, saw its mouth open into a black void. With impossible speed the snakes mouth raced up her arm, gaping wide it covered her head, with one single swallow her body disappeared into it.

I told you I’d win, said Jamie quietly, as he chuckled.

A tail….

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Last week she had ended up halfway up a tree, and this is the story of how it happened.

She had woken feeling tired and the base of her spine was sore. Like she had sat down hard, or fallen over and bruised herself. They had been to a party, got ‘slightly’ tipsy, and come home. The rest was hazy. Something about Halloween, and trick or treating, and What was that all about? Then each of them had drunk from a cauldron, yes that was it, sip a drink from the cauldron of fate and see what happened? Except that she had knocked back the whole glass full. Then she had felt really squiffy, fallen over, yes, and hurt her spine. Ow.

Now it was the morning after, and she felt awful. A proper hangover. But it was time for work now, better get ready.

It was when she was showering that she felt a lump down at the base of her spine. She rang the doctor for an appointment. She was scared it was a tumour?

Two days later at the surgery, she was told it was some sort of bony growth, but the surface was covered in skin, and it was not any form of cancer the GP had ever seen. She had told her that they would probably need a biopsy, but that would take a few weeks to arrange.

She had gone home, wondering what the hell was going on. The ‘thing’ was growing at a fast rate, she couldn’t face calling it a tail. She realised she had control of it, like a prehensile tail of a monkey? Why?

The tail continued to grow. She had to wrap it round her waist to hide it under her clothes.

It was after about three weeks that she made the mistake of telling her friend. He laughed, serves you right, he said. You upset the witch! He said. Drank the cauldron dry. He laughed again. Wait till I tell the others. She must have cursed you.

The next day they came knocking at her door, ‘ let us in’ , ‘ show us your tail’ ‘you’ve been cursed’. Things were getting out of hand. She ran upstairs and opened her bedroom window. The group were hounding her now.

Suddenly she jumped. She was falling…. Then the tail snapped out around the branch, holding her weight, she swung back up to onto her feet. Using her tail for balance she clambered and swung into the trees. It had saved her life. Perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing after all…..

The deep

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The small bathesphere was lowered over the side of the science vessel ‘Valour’.

Steph sat at the controls, watching the pressure guages and reporting every 100 meters they dropped into the abyss.

At 1 kilometer there was a brief pause to check all the systems again. Carbon Dioxide was at acceptable levels, the filters were working. Air was being pumped down at the right rate from the ship. Up top in the ship the mission room were happy to give her the go ahead to continue.

A few minutes later, and the pressure had increased massively on the hull. But it was built to withstand them. The bulbous glass windows were curved to take the external forces without buckling.

A shadow passed one of the windows, something gold and glittering… It came back, huge, fish shaped. A gaping mouth opening. The images on the bathesphere’s cameras were flickering with the reflections from the metallic looking fins and scales.

Steph shouted out in surprise ‘what the hell is it?’. But the ship didn’t hear her.

The rescue wasn’t successful. As they wound in the cable the scientists¬† on the ship could tell that the weight on it was no longer there. Finally the severed ends of it were hauled over the stern. ‘lost at sea’ was the report that was published…..

 

Ivy grows

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As she sat on the ground by the house she felt the warmth of the sun calming her and relaxing her. It had been a long morning gardening. Now she had sat down with a cup of tea and a biscuit.

The ground she was sitting on was laid to lawn. Behind her the bare brick was partly covered with a few strands of ivy.

As she dozed in the sun next doors ginger cat came and sat on her lap. She dreamt of a perfect cottage garden, she would lift up the lawn and plant a bank of crocosmia and ox eye daisies. On the wall behind her she would remove the ivy and plant clematis and wisteria. Maybe a peach with branches strung out along the wall.

She gradually fell into a deeper sleep. The scents of the roses wafted across the garden. Time crept by. If you had watched a time lapse film of the day you would have seen the ivy seem to pulse, and grow….. Tendrils of green stretching. Ariel roots burrowing, not just into mortar but flesh. No way was the ivy going to be removed. Around the body of the woman the branches grew.

Finally all the moisture in it was sucked out, there was just a dried husk left. Tearing through eye sockets. From the mouth. The ivy created tiny berries. Dust fell to the ground, what was left? A mug and a plate. The wall was covered.

Waiting for him…

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Standing under the sculpture of two people holding up pottery was not her idea of fun. But they had agreed to meet there. She didnt think he would turn up. They had met on line, but never spoken. Would he turn up with a rose in his lapel, or a funny hat? Was he tall or short, fat or thin? He wouldn’t send a photo, didn’t like selfies, and would only communicate by email or text. He’d told her he was shy! Shy? In this day and age, where everyone did so much to talk and share, and talk about themselves.

Ten minutes later, she was still alone, he was late, no one had come near her. People were popping in and out of the museum. Couples, singles, adults and children….

A man approached, middle height, middle aged, dark hair, glasses, reddish beard. ‘ Do you know where the bus station is?’ he asked.

I’ll give it five more minutes she thought. It had started to drizzle, and the wind was washing over her, freezing her eyes, her ears, her hands.

No one came, the sun was setting, a young woman with a baby in a buggy walked past, and held out her hand to a young man walking along the pavement. The street lights started to twinkle and she decided she had had enough of this torture. She stood up and started to walk away. Someone rushed up behind her and tapped her shoulder. ‘Hi, I’m Mike’ he said…..