#WEPFF Requisition (Science Fiction #Story)

Pixabay

*Author’s Note: This post will serve a dual purpose. One, to satisfy the word prompt for today’s Write28Days Challenge (Glory). Second, to participate in WEP’s February’s Story Challenge (theme: 28 Days). 

 

Requisition

 

Glory fingered a loose strand of black hair as her green eyes stared outwards. A warm breeze caressed her petite body as she sat on the wooden steps of the white porch. The air carried a mild scent of sweet honeysuckle which she slowly breathed in.

“Enjoying your final day?” Came a husky voice from behind.

She turned partially towards her housemate, an aging, thin man, sitting in the rocker, and nodded, “Yes.”

He leaned back as he took in the mountainous view spread before them.

“It’s a shame you couldn’t be granted another twenty-eight days here,” he said as his colorless eyes scanned the horizon’s deep purple and pink hues, “it makes no sense at all as to why they couldn’t allow you to remain here indefinitely.”

“You know that’s not how it works,” she muttered as her arms wrapped around her knees.

“Yes, but it is unfair, not to mention unjust,” the man tapped a finger on the chair’s armrest.

With a shrug, she replied, “I’m just grateful to have had this one last wish before it’s all over with. I mean, goodness, I had the chance to see all of my friends and family, to say my good-byes…even if none of it was real…it was nice.  Really nice.”

The man scowled as he nodded, “Yes…yes.”

“I know you try to understand, Jessup, and I appreciate it very much,” Glory said as she glanced down the expansive meadow where she could see the shadowy forms of buildings that made up her childhood town, “but you don’t have to stay any longer.”

Jessup let out a long exhale, “Yes, but it doesn’t feel right to leave you to -eh- to face your end.”

She smiled, “You are too thoughtful, but I will be okay.”

His eyes swept over her before he bowed his head, “As you wish,” and within seconds, his body dissipated into a thin cloud of mist.

Glory studied the empty chair for a moment before returning her attention to the sky. The streaks of purple and pink were quickly transitioning to layers of dark blue and black.  The usual nightly orbs obscured by a looming menace in the heavens where billowing sinister clouds barely concealed an enormous fiery mass barreling towards her.

A shiver ran through her body as she closed her eyes.

Will I feel any pain? She wondered as waves of heated air brushed over her.

The earth beneath her rumbled as the roar grew louder and louder until her body shuddered right off the porch, and on the rolling ground.

Crackling and sizzling filled her ears as she opened one eye to see where the fire was when she realized the sounds were coming from her skin.

Just as the burning grew unbearable, everything went dark.

*****

 

Bleep bleep bleeeeeeeep.

The blipping line on the monitor instantly became a steady line.

A tall man in a white jacket stood staring at the screen for several moments, the bushy brows burrowing which revealed the deep lines around his brown eyes.

“Dr. Cruz?” came a woman’s voice from the nearby console.

“I will never get used to this,” he said, “extinguishing lives all for what? Profit? So that our government can repay its debts?”

“No, it’s mankind’s next step in its evolutionary process. It has also helped science learn much about the human’s consciousness,” the same woman replied.

He bowed his head for a long moment, eyes closed as he pondered on her words. Then, he shook it.

“Those are just the Company’s taglines.  We are nothing more than an assembling line for repurposing human bodies for those who can afford them. For the few who want to extend their own selfish, futile lives.”

“Dr. Cruz,” the woman’s tone now stern, “I wish to remind you that everything said and done here are being carefully monitored.”

He clenched his jaw, “Time of conscious death, 23:02,” his fingers tapped hard on the blue-lighted tablet’s screen.

To his left, the woman in a white jacket turned to focus her attention on the various displays of electronic devices in front of her.

“Closing the file for collateral number 230645 aka Gloria Swann,” she said as she pressed on the glowing screen, “body already prepped and ready for shipment to recipient number 02A02,”

 

 

Twilight

dead earth

 

(*Note: This is a short story for the Pandora’s Box of Horrors Challenge)

 

 

Gray clouds hung low in the colorless sky as he watched a group of teenagers clamber down the street littered with rusted and mangled vehicular bodies.   Houses on both sides of the disintegrating asphalt stood in various wretched shapes.   Woods warped.  Windows smashed or missing. Vinyl sidings bent like painful hang-nails.

Like Rome, another giant had fallen.

The group turned down a graveled pathway which led to a large, crumbling brick-laid building that stood three-stories tall.  A sign stretched across the middle of the structure with words etched in the marble slab: Esmond High.

As soon as they crossed the threshold, he turned his eyes toward the heavens.

How much longer now before the imminent end?

He carefully hobbled inside, turned right and entered into a large room.  Inside, several long tables spread across the dusty tiled floor, each partnered with two deformed metallic chairs.   Large windows lined the far wall, and like the others, many were either missing or broken.  They also provided the only source of lighting.

The younger version of adults sat at the three front tables, their eyes rested solely on him.

He shuffled across the room.  Long, wispy white hair hung from his head.  White-black beard partially covered his face, its bottom touched the ragged red and black plaid shirt.

“Good morning, class.”  His voice crackled as he slowly limped to the front where a small wooden desk stood.

“Good morning, Mr. Pike.” The teens replied in unison.

He gingerly set down a plastic bag on the desk which wobbled with the weight being pressed on it.  Mr. Pike turned his cataract-riddled, hazel eyes to the classroom before him.

“It seems our number is ever growing smaller.” He sniffed.

“Marge’s parents have married her off to the Mableton clan so she won’t be coming back.” The lone female in the room spoke in a quiet voice.

“Ethan, Sam, and Levi have been recruited to the front line.” The dark-haired male at the center table said.

“Sal was killed with his parents  by  thieves last night.” The smallish boy next to the brunette female muttered.

“Madness.” The old man whispered as he rapped his arthritic knuckles on the wood.  “This is what we’ve been reduced to.  Constant warring with one another.  Servitude and slavery.  Mockery and misery all around us.  All due to stupidity.  Stupidity.”

“Mr. Pike?”  The girl’s voice drifted to his ears.  “Are you all right?”

He shook his head hard and blinked several times as he struggled to regain his focus on the remaining kids.

“Yes, yes of course I’m alright!” He snapped as his hands gripped the plastic bag.  “It’s a bit disconcerting when I see our future being ripped from us, that’s all.”

“What’s in the bag, Mr. Pike?” A petite oriental boy from the table directly in front of him asked.

The elder released his grip on the bag and began to pat it. “Ah, yes.  The bag.  I discovered the content last evening when I was rummaging through a building that was once a library.”

“What’s a library?” The girl asked.

“My dear Oona,” he said, “a library was used to house what we called books.  Books were once the foundation of which we built a great civilization. Books were what brought us out of the last Dark Ages.  They enabled us to become highly advanced and educated and enlightened.   They were the glue that held us together.”

“What happened?” The small boy next to Oona asked.

“Man grew stupid, Darrin, “he answered. “We grew so enamored with technology and all our wonderful advances, and decided to get rid of books, which contained everything, our souls, to rely completely on digital machines.”

He glanced across the room and saw that all eyes and ears were attuned to him, and continued. “Then the storm happened and wiped out all the technology, and with it our heart and soul as a specie.” He raised a hand into the air. “Hence, you see the result all around us.”

“So…” Mr. Pike reached a hand inside the bag. “For the next few weeks, or for as long as we are able, we’ll be reading two of the greatest books ever written, in my humble opinion, by man.”  And pulled out two heavily worn, hard-covered books. “Moby Dick and War and Peace.”

“Could we take turns reading them?” Oona breathlessly asked.

“I don’t read too well,”  the oriental boy said.

“Don’t worry, Mai, I’ll help you,” she replied.

For the first time, Mr. Pike smiled.