Sage's Stuck-Home Bored Writer's Flash thread

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Sage

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Since I will probably guest mod, I'll post stories here to avoid confusion. I'll move the first story over here in a minute
 

Sage

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Okay, first one:

What if instead of folks being told to stay inside, every single person over a certain age was assigned their own giant plastic hamster ball to get around in outside the home? (Or some other artificial device to keep people a minimum distance apart?) Imagine someone growing up this way who accidentally breaks their hamster ball.

Pep knew she was in trouble when her communicator started crackling at her. She examined the device that was attached to the back of her hand to see if the service light was on, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. "Hello?" she said into it. Maybe it was someone trying to contact her who was having problems. But nobody answered.

She checked the clock on her Pad. The learning period was over for the day. She stretched and smiled at her two younger brothers, sitting at their own desks six feet away from each other. "Hey, kiddos. Time to go play."

"Woohoo!" cried Dam, leaping out of his chair with such exuberance that he bounced off Cal's shield before landing. Both their shields gave a small chime at the touch, but with each one's three-foot radius, Pep knew the boys were safe, still six feet apart. The brothers, just one year apart in age, had been bouncing off each other this way since Dam turned three and was deemed old enough to have a shield of his own and finally leave the house.

And leave, the boys did. They ran out to play in the park their complex provided for families who needed to get out of their quarters from time to time. Pep wished she could go with them, but it was time for her monthly appointment.

"Ma, I'm heading to the doctor's."

"Be well," her mom said as always.

Pep made her way through the corridor towards the inner circle of the complex. Her heart sped up as she saw someone approaching from the other direction. It was Mako. She'd been trying to get him to notice her all year, ever since she first saw him watching his sister play at the park while she watched her brothers. His own brother was too young for a shield, and half the time he was holding him while their sister played, but he never looked put out by it like she once had, and that made her like him more.

He smiled and nodded as he passed, their shields chiming with the slight touch as they spread to fill the twelve-foot passage with their collective spaces. That chime echoed in her head, like an affirmation that they were meant to be.

Then her communicator crackled again. She stopped to tap it. "Hello?" she said again. Nothing. In her peripheral vision, she could see Mako looking over his shoulder at her, curiously. Struck by a sudden fear that he would think something was wrong with her, she started walking quickly towards the doctor's office again.

The doorway to the office opened upon sensing her approach, and she waited in one of the chairs across the room from the only other person waiting there. "Monthly check?" she asked the woman.

The woman's smile made her whole face glow. "No, my husband and I finally decided to have a baby. He's in there for his part right now. Can you imagine? Having a child to hold for three years."

Pep remembered both her brothers being able to interact with her and her mom and each other until Dam finally got his shield. The shields only worked when both parties had one, so she had been able to touch them. She didn't see what was so great about it. She remembered being grossed out with every runny nose or drooly mouth, and how it ruined her enjoyment of being with them. She loved spending time with them so much more now that they were less likely to infect her.

The husband came out before she had a chance to respond, and the woman went in to get inseminated. To Pep's surprise, the husband didn't sit where his wife had been, but instead came to the nearest seat to her. She flinched as he passed close enough for their shields to touch, but as there was no chime, she figured she was misjudging the distance, for it had seemed to her that he had actually come closer than usual to her. He settled in the chair, a comfortable distance away and affording him a view of the door his wife had gone through.

Pep's communicator beeped before a computerized voice said, "It is time for your appointment." She walked through the door and followed a path of blinking lights into the room she was to see the doctor in. The doctor rolled in, gleaming from the sanitization it would have just gone through. "Let's just see how clean your blood is," it said cheerfully in a voice approximating a female on. As a machine, it had no trouble piercing her shield to draw the required blood. In an instant it was over, a green light indicating that the doctor had deemed her blood clean. "Thank you for your sacrifice," the doctor said, as she knew they had been saying since shields were first invented and the concept of staying six feet permanently away was brand new. "Your continued diligence helps make this a healthier world."

"Your welcome," Pep said, as she always did, as if it would make a difference to the doctor. It tickled her to interact with it like a person, so she left the room backwards, waving at it.

When she turned around, the woman who had come in to be inseminated was walking out, her back to Pep, but definitely within six feet. It was all Pep could do to not cry out. What was wrong with her shield?

She stood there, frozen, for a time as she tried to process this, then in a fit of fear of being discovered, she ran out of the doctor's office and through the halls. She rarely had thought to run in the halls, since passing people at this speed could set both people bouncing off each other, but now only one thought was in her mind: She had to get home. She had to order a new shield. She couldn't leave home again until she did. What if she touched someone? What if she got infected? What if--

She flew around a corner and ran into someone. "No," she cried, as both of them reeled forward, but a pair of hands grabbed her by the shoulders and caught both of their balances. She looked up, breathing hard, into the face of Mako. Her face, already red and sweaty from the exercise, suddenly grew a million times hotter, and she was sure she was getting a fever.

"It's okay," he said gently, and touched her face. Her face! Everything inside her said she needed to get away from him, needed to run away, get clean, check her blood again.

But there was that small part of her that didn't want to move, that thought that maybe this touching thing wasn't so bad. And that part of her leaned her cheek into his hand. "Okay," she echoed.
 

Sage

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A villain is on the verge of implementing their plan (world domination? dumping blood on someone at prom?) when a world/country/state/city/company/school-wide event turns everything upside down and has everyone involved acting in ways that the villain hadn't planned on. How do they react to the change?


The politician had been waiting eagerly for this day. He had all the software in place in the voting machines, ready to turn seventy percent of the votes in his favor if the voters didn't make that choice naturally. And poling said they wouldn't. No, between his bungling of the most recent crisis and his inability to send anyone out to stump for him these final crucial days, he knew he was the longest of shots in the race. At least, if every vote was counted the way it had been cast. That was why he had made a contingency plan in the voting software. He even built in an extra twenty percent in case absentee ballots not being cast with the same software were strongly against him.

The software was poised to go live the moment the polls closed at 7:59 p.m. local time, one minute before districts could start tallying votes

And at 6 a.m., the state decided to postpone the election due to the crisis.

The politician couldn't believe it. He thought he had planned for every outcome, but not having the election on a completely different day. The software wasn't set up for that. It had a timer. 70% of zero votes was still zero votes. The election would go forward in a couple of months, and he would have to win on his merits....

Or, he supposed, looking through the laws to find out what might happen if they never had another election again, he might just never have someone else elected into this position again.

Yes, now, how to make the crisis never end?
 

Sage

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Here's another exercise for you!

A large number of museums have put virtual tours up online, if they didn't already have one. (Here is an article with links to a few, but feel free to search for others.) Go 'wander' around a museum and find a piece you haven't seen before that catches your eye, and imagine a character who has come to life from that piece suddenly finding themselves outside that museum. Write their story!

Slight variation on the prompt now that I'm reading it again.
Stag Rhyton

The Stag Rhyton

Just one more task, and Merida would be designated the rightful heir of the kingdom. She had fought hard for this, and while she wouldn't have a crown until her parents died (may their lives extend forever), it was worth the trials to know that she had earned her place in the royal line.

First task had been one of the mind. She had entered the sacred labyrinth under the palace and solved its challenges. Merely coming out of it was proof that she had mastered it, and thus had the mind to rule the kingdom.

The second task had been one of the body. This had been a test of endurance as she had deprived herself of food and sleep for four days. Many in the royal line had given in before the 4 days were up, thus proving themselves unwilling to sacrifice for the country and endure anything that might come. Merida had refused to give in, even when her body was weak and hallucinations haunted her.

The final task was one of symbolism, and it would be the easiest. All she had to do was drink wine from the stag rhyton. The stag was the animal that protected the kingdom, and drinking from the rhyton was seen as getting its blessing.

She walked down the long banquet hall to the head of the table where her father sat. Before him was the rhyton on a stand designed to hold it. At the base of the rhyton, a stag was formed of silver. Instead of the wine pouring from its mouth, as many rhytons were formed solely of the head, this rhyton had the front half of the stag's body as if it was running, and a spout sat between the stag's legs. Merida remembered her younger brother making a crude comment about what it would look like if the stag's back half had been sculpted instead of the front half, and she colored at the thought. How inappropriate for the moment.

Below was a crystal goblet, the same one her father had drunk from at the age of seventeen after facing the same two trials she had just faced. Her father had the server bring the wine. She poured it directly into the rhyton, and Merida waited for the wine to flow into the goblet.

It didn't.

Her cheeks were burning up now, but she tried not to show any other sign of distress, even as she heard the murmurs down the line of those witnessing the event. It seemed as if the stag was denying her worthiness to rule. The entire trial was based on symbolism, and the symbolism seemed clear.

Suddenly, her brother burst into snickers. The queen gave him a suspicious look, then whispered in her husband's ear. He nodded and stood to look into the rhyton. "It appears the rhyton is dirty. It will be but a moment until we can do the ritual properly. Know that those responsible will not go unpunished." This quieted her brother.

Merida didn't want to know what her brother had used to stop up the rhyton. Soon it was cleaned and presented before the king again. This time the wine flowed from the stag like it was supposed to.

When the goblet was full, Merida took it in her hand and steeled herself to drink. What would it taste like, the acceptance of her heritage. The essence of her kingdom. She took a sip.

It tasted like wine.