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Week Four [Weekly Writing Challenges] Read 1005 times

Krystal Itzume

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Week Four [Weekly Writing Challenges]
« on: August 25, 2014, 08:07:13 pm »
Theme of themes: School or Learning

Words to use: Child(ren), Fox(es), Journal.

Length: No length

Krystal Itzume

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Re: Week Four [Weekly Writing Challenges]
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2014, 11:52:41 pm »
There are many things that school can teach. There are many things that school fails to teach, such as taxes and how to be emotionally stable. Such was the situation now for woman in the black cloak as she stood besides the bed of a young child, emotions at war with logic.

The child slept fitfully, hot with fever, heart racing. His mother sat at his side, wringing a wet towel that had been over his forehead. His father was in the hallway, all but yelling at the operator on the other line.

School had taught the new reaper that there was a balance. Life expired so new life could come into being.

The black journal shut. She tucked it away in a cloth bag at her side, still in disbelief that the name of this boy was there.

“But this is new life,” she spoke aloud, and then looked down to her fox, her constant companion on these endeavors. All reapers had one, a creature that went out before them. Most had cats. She wanted a fox.

They had been her favorite animal when she had been among the living.

Here, it spoke, “And it is dying all the same.” It said. It was cold, more trained than she. It was why it went with her, to ensure the jobs were done. “It is not our place to question why some sicken early. It is only our place to shepherd them.”

“Please,” the mother spoke, “Please let him live,” the mother couldn’t see the reaper, but she knew. In some way, maternal instinct perhaps, she knew.

She tried. “What happens if I do not take him?”

“You have been taught this,” the fox reminded. “Others will sicken. The rot will spread. Others who would have lived longer will wither and will need to be removed.”

The reaper swallowed back her feelings. She forced her mind to consider what she had been taught. So much of it seemed irrelevant when the mother’s eyes seemed to look right at her, just as she extended her hand for the child. ‘Let others perish.’ She thought. ‘Let the boy live longer. Perhaps the others that get sick will be criminals.’

Yet, that was not the case and she knew it. Somewhere, a girl experiencing her first love would be struck by a car. A mother would die in childbirth. A grandmother still in good health would suffer a heart attack at a grandchild’s graduation.

Her eyes shut tight and her hand clasped around the child’s thin arm. A chill and a tingle passed between them, and then a shock. Immediately, she pulled back, and pulled with her the child. No longer did illness plague him.

The body before the mother stopped moving. A scream shattered hearts. The boy looked back. “Mommy!” And he moved through the bed without realizing it, and wrapped his arms around air. He went right through her. “MOM!” And he whipped right back around to see her back, and the fox, and the reaper. “Who are you? What are you doing to her?!”

The reaper could not answer.

They told her how to handle this situation, but they could never tell her how to deal with the overwhelming guilt and the sorrow that stole over her. She stood there, and she shook with suppressed emotion.

The fox walked forward. “We have broken her heart,” it said matter-of-factly. “We have taken your life.” He looked confused. He shook his head, before his eyes inevitably fell on his body. “You were sick.”

“I’m…dead?”

The reaper managed a mute nod.

“But…but I was gonna go to school tomorrow again, and I was gonna see Sam,” he told them. “He was gonna bring me a gift from New York. He went there over the summer with his parents.”

“I’m sorry,” said the reaper.

“Unkill me!”

“I can’t.”

“I want to see Sam! I want to…mom,” he reached for her as she reached for his body, “I’m gonna come back, mom. I’m gonna—PUT ME BACK!”

“We cannot.”

“But I don’t—I’m—I’m nine!”

She had all these pretty words in her head, about what it would mean for the rest of civilization if she put him back in his body, but watching the soul of the boy break down in a fit of tears stole them all from her. She wanted to hug him, but she knew that she would be rejected, so she let him cry, and she let him yell. She took it all in silence.

Souls did not automatically mature at death.

She did not know how to comfort a child who was going to have a Mustang, who was going to be a racecar driver, and start a band with his friend Sam.

All she knew to do was let him rage, until the room was empty of his body and his parents, and he sat on the floor at last, legs crossed, and crying. The fox curled up in his lap then, and he did not protest it. He grabbed at the comforting creature and held it close.

She approached then and knelt before him. “I am sorry.”

He said nothing.

“I would like to take you on now.”

“On where?”

She did not know. She had been given an option. Her fear of the unknown made her pick this job as a reaper. She hadn’t been a saint in life—no murderer, no thief, but no saint. This delayed her step into the ‘world’ beyond. “I don’t know.”

He looked up. His soul was stained red with his sorrow and his tears. “Why did you do this?”

She sighed. “If I didn’t, Sam might have died instead of you,” personal. Perhaps that was wrong. “I don’t get to pick who dies. I just…I just do my job.” She didn’t know how to explain it. “If you didn’t die, others would have, before their time. It might have been Sam, or your mother.”

“Why do people die so young?”

Again, she shook her head.

“Do you know anything?!” He demanded.

“Not really,” she answered with a shrug, “But I know you have to move on now.”

“Can’t I stay? Can’t I be a ghost?”

It was an option, but ghosts were not good. “Ghosts damage this world. They cause problems for the living.”

“But there’s good ghosts, like Caspar. Can’t I stay? Can’t I watch my mom?”

“No,” she said. The fox snuggled closer to the boy. His lip quivered.

“I don’t wanna go,” he said. “I don’t.”

“I know.” Even so, she offered her hand to him. “I’ll go with you, all the way to the door.” She promised. “Maybe you can be a guardian angel. Maybe they have drag races in heaven. I don’t know,” she said, and she smiled. It was sad, “Think of it like growing up. You don’t really know what’s going to happen until you get there. It’s all right to be scared.”

Hesitantly, his hand left the fox. The fox jumped out of his lap, and both Reaper and Boy rose.

Once they stood, a door manifested behind them. The boy gasped, and she looked at him, confused. “That’s Sarah’s door!”

“Sarah?”

“Uh huh. My sister. She…I never met her,” he admitted. “I saw her room a lot, but she never came home.”

The Reaper bit the inside of her cheek and looked over her shoulder at the door, and the empty hallway. No signs of the mother. ‘I’m sorry.’ She thought again.

The boy’s hand slipped out of hers and he ran for the door. He paused when his hand touched the golden knob, and looked back at her. “Please, please, when you…when you have to, bring my mom and dad to this door, ok?”

‘I don’t pick the door. It just….’


Well, no time to explain it. “Ok,” she said. He opened the door, and he hurried inside. The door shut behind him, and she looked down at the fox. “Is that normal? Doors like that?”

“Every door is personalized,” the fox said. “It is not common for individuals to recognize them, if that is what you are asking.”

“Could his sister have sent it?”

The fox answered, “I do not know. Come. We have more to see off.” And the fox walked on ahead.

The reaper followed after, the room dissolving as their steps took them into a realm besides this one, a hallway of doors, and she opened the journal to see who was next on the list. ‘Day one.’ She thought with a shake of her head. ‘Why couldn’t I get a murderer for my first case?’

Years from that date, she would understand why. The early experiences shaped her into a kind and patient reaper, even with those her younger self would have condemned on the spot.


Runic Blade

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Re: Week Four [Weekly Writing Challenges]
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2014, 10:07:08 pm »
It was the 40th year of our occupation of the planet Xolos, in the Ultarian solar system.  As a member of the Enforcers, it was my job to keep everyone obedient and loyal to the Leader.  It was a job I did quite efficiently, because that was all that really mattered - efficiency.  Enemies had to be destroyed.  Plotters and rebels had to be discovered.  All this had to happen rapidly and without excess expenditures.  No emotional attachments or time wasting was permitted.

The Leader was not a person, but a computer avatar of sorts.  Rather than being a flesh and blood man, he was the collective wisdom of thousands of generations of humans compiled into a single virtual entity.  This “Leader program” was designed to provide the optimum living conditions for our civilization.

The Leader program had been designed five centuries ago by our civilization's most advanced scientists.  The scientists called themselves the Technocracy and permitted only people passing a series of IQ tests to be allowed to participate in their organization.  Their solution to the difficult problem of governing a society was to remove humans from the equation.  After all, humans were indecisive, emotional, and irrational.  The goal was to make government streamlined to run like a machine.  This would cure all corruption and other failures which commonly accompanied human politicians.

Using the purest form of scientific thinking, the Technocrats created the Leader software.  The Leader program, once completed, would take over the government and the Technocrats would voluntarily resign from their positions.  This, surprisingly, happened.  After a decade of work, the Leader program was placed in control of the entire human civilization of all the planets which we had colonized, including Mars and Earth itself.  The Technocrats gave up their power to the Leader.

The Leader program was based on the principles of Logic.  Its goals were the expansion of power and knowledge of itself.  You will note that it was not designed to cause human expansion – the technocrats did not want to program that into the system because they felt that humans would soon be completely surpassed by machines.  Adding “old fashioned” humans to the Leader program would have held it back from the artificial Utopia which they sought.

Fortunately for us old-fashioned biological types, there are still some things that humans were needed for.  Because of this we have expanded out into space alongside the Leader's robots.  We serve as a kind of serf under the Leader's rule, but since his rule is completely Logical, it would be irrational for any human to be unhappy about this situation.

As children, we were raised in an incubator and then schooled in the official history and the selection of skills which the Leader has permitted humans to learn.  They consisted of various mechanical and physical skills, reading, writing, arithmetic, and history.  History was an explanation of how glorious the Leader is and how primitive people were prior to His Reign.  We can all agree that without the Leader, our civilization would not function as well as it does today.

I did have a bit of trouble in school.  While growing up, I often remember looking at people and feeling incorrect things.  In fact, as we all know, “feeling” is itself incorrect.  I would find myself attracted to girls or becoming angry towards a classmate.  However, since these kinds of emotions are inefficient, I knew that they should be suppressed.  Sometimes it was difficult though.

Another event I recall is one day when I drew a picture of a fox in my journal.  As a student, I was required to keep a journal to track my heart rate, weight, height, and academic achievements.  Doodling in our journals was obviously a waste of time and prohibited.  I was punished for this – I was required to make a copy of my entire journal by hand and then throw the old journal out, but this time with the fox drawing excluded from its pages.  Since there were 73 pages, that took a while.  I never made the mistake of doodling in my journal again though!

After school, I have spent most of my life as an Enforcer.  Sometimes I am asked to terminate inefficient humans for their irrational behavior.  This is unfortunate, but the Leader considers some humans beyond help and it is better to just kill them off.  You would be surprised by how many people still act in disobedience to the Leader's guidance.  I encounter such subjects every day.  Unbelievable.

Overall, I have led an orderly life, productively serving the Leader.  I consider my purpose fulfilled and look forward to my own death next Monday.

The reason for my execution on Monday is that I have become too old to act as an Enforcer.  My physical abilities aren't what they used to be.  It has been decided that in the name of effective allocation of food, old humans like me should be put to death.  I readily agree with this, as it makes perfect sense in protecting and advancing our civilization.  We cannot permit less efficient humans like me to consume supplies when younger, stronger humans exist.

I would almost say that I am “happy” to finally be allowed to die, but of course such a feeling would be irrational and therefore wrong.  Therefore I can only stolidly acknowledge the profound Logic of my own death.

Signed,
Enforcer 84713