Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 116: Tryrant’s Cause

This is the 116th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Tyrant’s Cause, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 26th March 2013

Word count: 664

The story:

The third age of mankind wasn’t born in space, like the old Sci Fi shows tell it, no, the third age of mankind was born on Earth.

It was born out of world war three. It wasn’t as bad as was feared, only twenty seven nukes got to their targets. The great and bountiful array of missile defence systems, some of which the public knew others top secret, prevented most of them going beyond the upper atmosphere.

What caused the war, who were the major players didn’t really matter. All those nukes going off high in orbit, they altered the world as we knew it. See, in the end the radiation shortened our lives, the electromagnetic pulses wiped out much of our tools and knowledge.

The third age of mankind existed in a kind of perpetual countdown. The remaining population was reducing by five percent in average every three years. That number could only go up as cancer rates soared.

Even as the countdown bit, life wasn’t pretty. Only the hardiest of crops and animals survived, plants and animals that hadn’t previously been a regular feature of the human food chain were now prominent. Money meant nothing, and all those cushty jobs in the cities less still.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 115: Acceptable Loss

This is the 115th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Acceptable Loss, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 25th March 2013

Word count: 882

The story:

“What’s the plan?” the soldier asked.

“Kill the enemy, rescue the other hostages, and find a way out of this dump to safety,” Rubi said.

“And how are we going to do that?” the soldier asked.

“Well I’ve got two guns, but I suppose you can have one,” Rubi handed over a pistol shaped ray gun.

“Thanks, and it’s in my colour too,” the soldier said looking over the pink gun.

“Its what they had on them. Not sure they care much for coordination,” Rubi said dismissively.

“The names Goldberg, Left Tennant his majesty’s Royal Marines,” the soldier said holding out his hand.

“Rubi, of no where,” the mercenary said.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 114: The Red Button

This is the 114th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

The Red Button, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 24th March 2013

Word count: 791

The story:

“Under no circumstances do you push this button,” George Fabia said sternly, “Never.” This was the most serious Christian had seen George all day. It was Christian’s first day in a new job, he’d previously worked carrying the boxes with all manner of things to feed the great machine that produced a series of toys for sale to shops the world over. It was a minor role in the great machine, but he’d been doing it dilligently for two years, and as a reward they moved him into an apprenticeship with George, as understudy to the machine’s engineer. George didn’t appear to be very happy about it, and he’d been doing his best to fob off his curious audience all day.

“What does it do?” Christian asked.

“Nothing, it does nothing,” George said flustered, “Here if you want to make yourself useful, go get yourself a drink. Come back in a couple of hours.”

“Oh, okay,” Christian said, nonplussed. He headed off to the staff canteen quite happily.

When George was satisfied his new annoyance was gone, he smiled and looked at the button.

An hour later Christian returned again, “Sorry George, Margaret sent me back,” he said as he climbed into the control room. As he entered he noticed George wasn’t around. He looked through the grimy windows down to the factory floor, but he couldn’t see his unwilling mentor.

Christian took the only seat in the room, and sat fidgeting for ten minutes before combing over the boards filled with lights and gauges. Then he found himself in front of the big red button, and he studied it. It was set in a board surrounded by gauges that showed pressure levels, and oil temperatures, and the like.

“George,” Christian called out experimentally, but there was no sign of the man. With childlike eagerness and curiosity, Christian pressed the button.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 113: Unfair

This is the 113th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Unfair, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 24th March 2013

Word count: 664

The story:

“So you’re a little late,” Craig said, “What’s it matter?”

“God, your so obtuse,” Sarah said as she hurriedly put on her things, “Your Dad is going to kill me.”

“I’ll have a word with him, I have the old goat wrapped round my finger,” Craig pushed himself down into the Egyptian cotton sheets of the hotel bed. “Trust me.”

“Fine, but you tell him today, before he finds out some other way. I don’t need him to have another excuse to bully me.”

“I give you my word, nothing bad is going to happen.”

Two days later, Sarah was called in to see the boss.

“Ah Sarah, glad you could make it, I know how busy you’re meant to be,” Harrison Kirkpatrick, founder, owner, and managing director of First Chemicals said as Sarah entered the room.

“I’m always happy to make time for the boss Mister Kirkpatrick,” Sarah said as she took a seat in front of the sparse and modest desk.

“I’m sure you know why you’re here,” Harrison said, “So I’ll get right to the point. You’re fired.”

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 112: Battle Moon

This is the 112th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Battle Moon, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 23rd March 2013

Word count: 755

The story:

“Start!” screamed the voice over the radio, “God Dammit!”

“Unit three, get out of there,” the commander in the control room ordered into the radio.

“No can do,” Unit three responded, “Argh!” the scream was sudden and cut off quickly.

“What happened?” the commander said turning to one of the techs.

“No idea, transmission lost. We’ve got a bird over the sea, I can redirect.”

“Do it,” the commander instructed.

“What’s happening?” the General asked as he entered the control room, recognising the unease he saw in his men.
“The enemy is on the move,” the commander said, “It looks like they’ve just taken out one of our scouts at Ddedddsddddd.”

“Not good,” the General mused, “Move to high alert, if they’re moving there’s only one place I can think they’d move towards.”

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 111: The Silliest Things

This is the 111th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

The Silliest Things, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 22nd March 2013

Word count: 505

The story:

“I’m going to win, I have to win.” I repeated these six words as a mantra.

I’d been stupid I knew, I’d agreed to the challenges to impress a girl, but what a girl she was. Her flame red hair outshone the sun on the brightest day, and her glorious smile outshone her hair.

If you were going to do something stupid to impress a girl, she was the girl.

The beautiful lilt of her voice as she cheered me on at the start, calling my name, blended with my mantra.

Time was against me, the other boy was getting ahead. The tree was a grand old oak, tall and proud, and Matthew, my competition for a certain fiery redhead was considered justifiably one of the best tree climbers at our school.

As we climbed on, he was already a meter ahead and now he had branches to clamber through.

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 110: Changes

This is the 110th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Changes, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 21st March 2013

Word count: 740

The story:

“The world wasn’t always so simple and dire,” the old man said, “Before the war there were hundreds of nations. Not just the big ones I’ve told you about before, but countries of all shapes and sizes.”

“I know Grandpa,” the young man said patiently. “Do you think this world will ever change back?”

“I’m an old man, the prospect of change frightens me, it took so long to get used to this world and make a place in it after the war,” he paused thoughtfully, “Besides there’s no going back. The war, and the night of the leaders has burnt the bridges to the old world.”

“If it can’t change back, what can it change in to?”

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Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 109: Down Below

This is the 109th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Down Below, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 20th March 2013

Word count: 460

The story:

“Its over,” navigator Presley said into the comms.

“You’ve done well. We’ll be there in a few hours, keep everything locked down tight until then,” Josef said.

“Yes Captain,” Presley said.

They ended their communication there.

“You didn’t tell him we don’t have control of the lower decks,” Wolf said, “What are we going to do?”

“Get control. We had a plan, Arsene and I, the day he left he told me he prepared for this. There’s a nerve agent suppression system on each deck, it won’t affect anyone holed up in a cabin, but in corridors and essential areas they’ll be out cold,” the navigator, now acting Captain said grimly.

“That sounds like a good solution what’s up?”

“Well it has side effects, it could kill someone, so far this coup d’etat has only cost us a few officers. They made their choice, these are crew members, some of whom are simply caught up in events. Doesn’t sit well,” Presley replied.

“And we can’t give warning, it might negate the goal. I got you,” Wolf became silent for a few moments, “The Breachers are sealed in, and we can’t trust them. Even if we did, there’s still going to be casualties, probably more. If we send our guys in, there’ll probably be more still. It’s the only choice,” the man said finally.

“Yes it is,” Presley said.

“If it’s a problem pressing the button, I’ll do it. I dare say I’ve done far worse in my time,” Wolf said. He was relatively new to the crew, he had been brought in by the previous captain who had seized and held the ship for nearly a year. He had switched sides when the moment was right, and he wasn’t edging his bets, though with the previous captain killed during a mutiny led by Presley there wasn’t much room to edge.

“No, Arsene charged me with retaking the ship when the time was right. I should do this,” he lifted up his portable computer, brought up the application that had been installed for this purpose, and typed in his code. “Its done, the effects should be quick. Gather up a team in environmental gear – there should be some in the med deck storage from a job a couple of years back. Go down, and lock them all up for Erme being.”

“Yes, sir,” Wolf said crisply and went off to see to it.

Presley sank into the captains chair and sighed. He wasn’t an ambitious man, he might chastise himself as being greedy, hungry, contrary, and violent, but he never sought this kind of power, and it didn’t sit right. Still, he trusted his old friend, saviour and mentor, he would do whatever it took to put the world straight again.

Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 108: Bowling Brothers

This is the 108th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Bowling Brothers, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 19th March 2013

Word count: 333

The story:

“See, your problem is just like this game,” the solicitor said as he approached the lane.

“What? I need to line up my opponents and smash them with something heavy?” Charles Hewes said sarcastically.

“We’ll call that plan two, shall we?” the solicitor John Henry said.

“Let’s,” the client said, still sarcastically.

“Okay, listen bowling metaphor might help. Your problems are many, and your resources relatively few. Those pins are your problems, you’re best solution is to get as big a solution as you can handle. Then line up and commit.” The solicitor took a step back, lined up and dashed forward, leaning into and then releasing the ball, which spam smoothly down the wooden lane.

“You split,” Charles said.

“That’s the rub,” the solicitor said heading back to the ball return rack, “You have to line up just right, hold the potential just right and release just at the right time. And if you miss one or two, you can always clean up in the second round.” The solicitor lined up and threw the ball again, knocking over one of the pins.

“I get what you mean,” the client stood up and picked up a ball, “Timing and execution.” He calmly ran forward, threw the green ball he’d picked up down the lane. He took out all but one pin. “I’m just worried about that one stubborn problem.” He lined up and threw again gaining a half strike.

“Even stubborn problems get wiped out with enough effort,” the solicitor said.

“So that’s your advice,” Charles said.

“Just an observation,” John said, “You know I can’t advise you formally on this. I can’t be involved in the seedy side of your enterprises.”

“Who said this was anything dodgy?”

“Isn’t it?”

“I can’t answer that,” Charles said with a smile. “Its you’re round I’ll get the beers in.”

“You do that, I’ll beat your arse while you’re drunk,” the solicitor laughed.

“John your a great solicitor, but a lousy big brother,” Charles said laughing.

Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 107: Strangers in the Woods

This is the 107th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Strangers in the Woods, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 18th March 2013

Word count: 686

The story:

“Fortune came down and slapped him in the face,” Ryan said laughing by the fire.

“Oi!” Harold said from across the fire.

“Oh you know it’s true,” Ryan said, raising up his glass. “The Gods had to smile upon you, a gifted soldier, a scholar, a hero prince in all but name.”

Harold held his silence, he knew full well his squad would just keep needling him, but they were loyal, and that’s what counted in the heat of the fight.

“Is he really a prince?” he heard Eric ask, incredulously. Eric was the newest member of the squad, barely old enough to shave, some rich merchants son. He had been foisted on Howard, but he earned his keep.

“Oh yeah,” Thomas said sarcastically, “Grew up with a silver spoon up his arse, and a golden sword just for practice.” Thomas the Huntsman lived up to his name, an expert tracker, and a marksman with a bow, but his solitary nature gave him a generally foul temper, and strange humour. The boy Eric looked up to him more than any of the others.

Suddenly a bird cry rang out through the air.

“On your feet,” Harold said, his men knowing this was the call to arms gathered themselves.

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