Category Archives: Stories

The Door

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

I’d been working at the lab ten months when the incident occurred.  Every day I’d walked down the long white corridor, ignoring the turn off to the restricted area.  I didn’t have permission to be in the restricted area. I was a lab tech. Occasionally I’d glanced down, and seen the huge industrial steel door, with a handle that looked like the wheel of a ship, so big I always imagined it would take about four people to open it, but I never went down the corridor, never peered through the thick glass window.  It was restricted. Above my paygrade.

“Morning, Lucy,” I smiled as she walked passed me and turned down the corridor.  She was the scientist in charge of this special project. She always insisted I call her Lucy.  All the other coats insisted on formality. They were mostly dicks though, and Lucy was really nice.

“Morning Mike,” she smiled at me. “How’s the weather?” She always asked me how the weather was, I don’t think she left the lab.

“Bit drizzly today,” I informed her. “Nice weather for ducks.”

She laughed a genuine laugh.  “I’m gunna be stuck in the lab most of the day, wanna have takeout with me at lunchtime?”

“Sure, I’ll order it in.  What do you fancy?” I smiled at her. Ten months I’d been there, and not really gotten to know anyone.

“Surprise me,” she smiled. “See you later.”

I watched her walk down the corridor, swipe a key card, tap in a code, press her hand against the panel before turning the big wheel.  Security sure is tight down there, I thought as I plunged my hands into my pockets and began to whistle, heading to my area.

By midday I decided I had had quite enough of cleaning jars, so I brought up the takeout app on my phone.  I decided to go for pizza. Who doesn’t like pizza? Cheese and tomato, sure winner.

“What are you doing here, this area’s restricted?” A tall man in a black suit and dark glasses blocked my way down the corridor like a giant, living cliche.

“I’m having lunch with Doctor Winters,” I said.  “Could you tell her I’ll meet her on the steps outside.  Tell her it’s brightened up.”

The man looked confused, but turned and headed towards the room. Dick, I thought to myself, as I headed up the steps and out to the main entrance to wait for our pizza.

“I think I’m in trouble, Mike,” Lucy’s voice from behind me made me start.

“What?” I spun around.  She had a large bruise on her face and looked very shaken.  “What happened.”

“I knew it was coming,” she said quietly.  “The thing I’ve been working on, they want to move it to the next phase.  It’s not ready, but they… they don’t want me to work on the next project. I think that would have been it for me, if I hadn’t arranged to meet you for lunch.”

“We need to get you out, now then, Lucy,” I said determinedly. “Don’t go back in, it’s dangerous for you.”

“It’s not that easy, Mike,” she looked awkwardly at me. “Where would I go, they’re everywhere!”

“I know.” I said calmly.  I shouldn’t be revealing this.  I was going off mission. But Lucy had all the information in her mind.  I’d get her instead of the files, we could blow the place. “But we can protect you, trust me.”

“We?” She looked at me, a glimmer of hope in her eyes.

“I’m SECTOR, Lucy,” I smiled at her. I know I was taking a risk.  “Trust me, I’ll get you out.”

“My family?” She was looking around nervously.

“We’ll get them too.” I said.

“Are you serious?” Control’s voice came in over my cranial implant. “What are you doing Mike?  This is not the mission!”

“It’s the mission now,” I said firmly, turning away from Lucy slightly as I spoke. “Get her family, and send us an extraction unit, we’re leaving now.”

“BOSS isn’t gunna like this,” Control said awkwardly.

“BOSS can shove it,” I responded. “Ten months in this shit hole and I’ve got nothing.  Now I’ve got something.”

“Alright, give us 30 minutes,” I could almost hear Control role her eyes.

“Mike,” Lucy looked at me. “We need to get him out.”

“Who?”

“Project J5.  If we leave him in the room they’ll weaponise him.  He’s behind the door.”

“OK,” I took a deep breath. “Come on, let’s go…”


Friday Flash – Strange

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

This Friday’s flash prompt from Claire was to type “strange pictures” into Google, and pick one as inspiration for a flash.  What this showed me is that people find many different things strange, and strange for someone might be perfectly normal for someone else, so, here’s my #FridayFlash

Strange Pictures

It always struck me, how the portrait of my great grandmother, the one that hung in the smoking room was never particularly, pleasant.  I suppose that was why it was in the smoking room, rather than the great hall, with all the other portraits. That, and of course, Great Grandma Gretel was the shame of the family.  She had been on the marches, argued the part of the slaves, once she threw a stone at a policeman.  True story.  Our family didn’t protest.  We were in the fortunate position not to need to.  We were well off, well respected and had no need to rebel, or incite change.  Anyway, Great Grandma Ethel disappeared, shortly after the portrait was painted, leaving Great Grandpa Bill with two children, and I can only imagine greatly relieved not to have a rebel living under his roof any more.

I often retired to the smoking room, no-one really used it, and I enjoyed the quiet.  I would sit and study the painting, sometimes chat to Great Grandma Ethel about my day, the things that pleased or annoyed me, what I was looking forward to, or what I was dreading.  No matter where I would sit, it seemed to me that Ethel was looking at me, really paying attention to what I was saying.  It was on such a day that the fire broke out.  I first noticed the smoke coming under the door, and opened it to the flames.  I let out a cry of panic, and was unable to shut the door again against the heat and the flames.  I rushed to the window to try and leave that way, but it was rusted shut.  The old house had fallen into disrepair.  The smoke was burning my lungs, everything was getting darker, and then I remember no more.

I awoke to see firemen staring at me, as though I was on a platform, above them.  I think I blinked, but can’t be sure.  A voice from behind me said quietly,

“Do not move until they’ve gone.”

I remained still, lying out, looking at them.

“What a strange picture,” one of them was saying. “See the woman in the background, she is in very old fashioned clothing, but the one at the front, she’s modern. Very out of place.”

“The whole thing is out of place,” another said. “See the farmer in the backdrop? He’s older again, whoever painted it did not research their history.  Come on, there’s no-one here, let’s go.”

When they were gone I looked up to see Great Grandma Ethel smiling down at me.

“The world I lived in was not for me,” she said quietly. “So I came here, to join my grandfather on his farm. I’ve enjoyed our talks, I hope you will be happy here.”

I blinked. I felt I probably would.


Friday Flash: Music

Category : Flash Friday , Stories

Today in our Sparkly Badger’s Group, the flash prompt from Claire read as follows:

Choose your favourite song, pick a smidgen of the lyrics and use that as your inspiration. Alternatively, choose an instrumental piece. Share your music & your flash in the comments below, no more than 1000 words.

My original problem was that songs already tell stories, so telling a different story was nearly impossible for my brain.  But then, a colleague dared me to write a flash about the song below, and I do enjoy a challenge. It’s more of a micro flash, but never say I don’t rise to a challenge…

Geoffrey the giraffe peered longingly over the treetops to the watering hole. There, with only her nostrils and ears poking out of the mud was Henrietta. Geoffrey had loved her from a distance for months, but had never had the courage to say so. His parents wanted him to settle down with Gloria, a giraffe from the neighbouring plain, but Geoffrey had never really been into giraffes, he preferred a filler, rounder figure. He…

Sadly for him, Henrietta was not interested in giraffe’s with a hippo fetish, or being anyone’s experiment, so Geoffrey was doomed to watch from a distance, never able to wade the swamp and dare allow his love to speak its name… Well, it was a bit weird, wasn’t it?!

This picture is shared from Wikipedia, under the creative commons license. It was taken by Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa