Posts Tagged New Fiction

Fortnightcap: The New God

The New God

A Fortnightcap by DL Thurston

Creative Commons License

They came to this place in the time before to worship.  They came to this place at the awakening to flee.  That is what our stories tell us, and our stories are all we have.

That was so long ago.  Generations now.  Our new god protects us, even as he slumbers with eyes that never close.  He protects us and watches over us, as he has for generations.

We do not go to the east anymore.  There is the old city, where many of our ancestors came from when they fled.  The stories speak of buildings constructed in the time before, and of great metal birds that flew the sky.  I don’t believe in those birds.  The only things that fly the skies in the day are the eagles.  At night the sinewy gaunts take to the sky and call to us in languages I cannot understand.  Thankfully, they don’t dare land where our god has sway.

There are stories of people still living there, thirsting for blood, calling for death, with brains so damaged by the gods that came that they are little more than animals.  They wait for us there, keeping us hemmed in, picking us off one by one if we leave the protection of our great protector god.  And so we go west.  We track the buffalo, we track the deer, we till the soil.

And we try not to see the things that are out there to see.

When we come across an animal touched by the hands of the horrible gods, we kill it.  That is called compassion.  For they are horrible beasts with mouths that hang open and drool blood, eyes that roll in lidless sockets, limbs with no bones that pull these poor creatures slowly and painfully over the land.  We do not eat them, but we do bring them back to burn them, sacrificing the creatures created by the enemy gods to our protector.

We knows he sees the sacrifices because his eyes, his eight glorious eyes, are always open.  And we know he gets the sacrifices because he continues to protect us.

We do not know where our god came from, or how he came to be.  We just know he came from the before time, the good time.  Some say he was thrust up from the earth, some that he fell from the sky.  Some say he was crafted by men.  That is called heresy, for how could men create a god?  But there is some hope in that thought.  If a god could be crafted once, could not one be crafted again?  That too is heresy, sadly.

So here is the land where my father raised me, and where I am raising my children.  I will teach them of our god.  I will show them the forests to the west, and warn them of the lands to the east.  Soon my oldest will be ready to hunt, to kill, and to sacrifice.  And I will tell them of this history of this place.  How their ancestors came to Dakota to be protected from the gods that rose.  And how they found our new god, our Rushmore.

Fortnightcaps are biweekly experimentation into short form fiction. All Fortnightcaps are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. So if you like the story, please feel free to link people back here. And if you didn’t, maybe the one in two weeks will be better.

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Fortnightcap: Don’t Walk

Don’t Walk

A Fortnightcap by DL Thurston

Creative Commons License

The little white walking man gave way to a blinking red palm.  Beside it, a red countdown began at 28.

“Come on, guys, we can still make it!”  Brad picked up his pace, leaving Antoine and Jon looking at each other, and speeding up to catch him.

“You’ll never make it.  We’ll never make it!”  Jon hastened his pace to catch up with Brad.  Brad had, in the meantime, reached the edge of the sidewalk.  Reached the curb.  Stepped off and into the street.  The countdown was at 24 seconds.

Antoine ran to catch up with the other two.  “It’s an eight lane road.  Just stop, we’ll wait for the next walk sign!”

“We can make it,” said Brad, “don’t just stand there.”

“Hell,” Antoine said, and followed the two out into the street as the countdown hit 20 seconds.  These things were always mistimed, gave people too long to cross, were designed for even the slowest walkers.  Eight lanes.  Nineteen seconds.  It wasn’t that far.

“This!” Brad shouted, doing a turn.  “This is living!  Look at that.  Eighteen, seventeen.  We’ve still got several lanes to go.  We might not even make it before the hand turns red.  Wouldn’t that be something?  Out here during Don’t Walk.”

“You’re sick,” said Antoine.

“Sick and crazy,” amended Jon, as the sign hit fifteen.

“And alive.  Not like you two.  If I listened to you, where would we be.  Back there!” he said, turning to point at the curb behind them.  “Just a bunch of clucking hens talking about how long it takes to cross a road.”

Brad turned back, took a step towards the far curb.  His foot landed awkwardly, his ankle twisted, and he went down hard on the asphalt.  Twelve seconds.

“Damn!” Antoine shouted.  “Damn damn damn.  I knew this would happen, I mean, I knew this would happen.  I follow you two bastards out into the road, and now look at this, Brad’s twisted his ankle, and we’ve got ten seconds left to make it across the street!”

Nine.

“Leave him!” Jon shouted, starting to run.

Eight.

“We can’t leave him out here!”

Seven.

“We can, and we will.  He knew what he was doing!”

Six.

“He’s our friend!”

Five.

“Leave me, damn it!”

Four.

Antoine looked back at Brad, and started running.  Four lanes of traffic to go, and not nearly enough time.  He looked ahead and Jon was on the far curb.  He was shouting, but Antoine couldn’t hear the words.  All he could hear was the blood rushing past his ears.  His feet as they pounded on the pavement.  His heart as it throbbed and tried to erupt from his chest.

One.

The curb was still two feet off.  He launched himself forward.  He hit the ground hard and rolled.  His eyes were screwed shut, instinct protecting them as he hit.  As he opened them, he prayed that he saw the white of the sidewalk instead of the black of the road.  Prayed that he’d made it across before the sign went from flashing to solid red.

White.

He exhaled, then looked back.  Jon was staring at the road, shaking.  Antoine looked to where Brad had fallen, and saw smoke being dissipated by the speeding traffic.

The sign was clear.

Don’t walk.

Fortnightcaps are biweekly experimentation into short form fiction. All Fortnightcaps are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. So if you like the story, please feel free to link people back here. And if you didn’t, maybe the one in two weeks will be better.

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Fortnightcap: Long Way Home

Long Way Home

A Fortnightcap by DL Thurston

Creative Commons License

Tracking the parts down. That was the challenge. Professor Fitzsimmons had sourced so many of them without documenting origins or purposes. For seventeen years I could only follow the money trail, going through his credit card records and requisition orders. So often this left me with odd metals, minerals I’d never heard of, assemblies that were little more than fanciful black boxes. I could only guess at some of their functions, working from notes that ranged from formalized files and patent applications to the back of stained napkins.

Through it all, one thing has kept me going. The letter delivered by the bewildered courier, little more than a yellowed scrap that his company had in its possession for two and a half centuries.

It’s above my work bench, and reads simply “stuck in 1784.”

The machine worked. The note was the evidence of that. But something had gone wrong, something had broken and the professor couldn’t get home again. No one believes me. I show them the note, they call it a forgery. Time travel is a fiction. I’ve been told this more times than I’d care to count. Every cliche has been thrown at me. All I need is that letter.

The scrap of letter came along with documentation telling me the day, but not the time, it had been delivered to their central Boston office. Seventeen years of work, what would one day of waiting around be? With the machine complete, I stepped inside, and stepped out again in the late 18th century. The machine was in perfect shape, there was no reason it wouldn’t be ready to go for another trip.

So I found the firm.

And I waited.

Just after two in the afternoon there was a man who looked exactly as I’d remembered. For me it had been seventeen years, for him it hadn’t been even that many days. I let him enter the firm to drop off his letter, no need to create paradoxes after all. When he came out again, I approached him, arms wide.

“Professor Fitzsimmons!”

His face fell, looking back at the firm.

“Yes, they delivered the letter! I’m here to save you.”

I pulled out the scrap that had kept me going, and handed it to him. He panicked, turning it one way then another in his hands. “Where’s the rest of it? Where’s the rest of it?”

“This is all I got.”

He crumpled the paper, threw it to the ground in disgust. “There was more. You weren’t supposed to come.”

“You said you were trapped.”

“I am. And now you are too. Time travel. Look, there’s a past already in existence that you can travel back to. But the future. The future is amorphous, it doesn’t exist, so you can’t travel to it.”

“But,” I tried to work this out. “We’re not going to the future. Only back to the present.”

“This is the present now!”

“So how do we get back to 2011?”

“There’s only one way: wait. We can only take the long way home.”

Fortnightcaps are biweekly experimentation into short form fiction. All Fortnightcaps are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. So if you like the story, please feel free to link people back here. And if you didn’t, maybe the one in two weeks will be better.

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