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Fantasy Science Fiction

By the time I stepped out, the leaves were on fire. Just as the mysterious caller had told me. Rising to the sky with a brilliant blue roaring like tigers. Thoroughly convinced of the apocalypse she warned me of, I gingerly stepped back inside and picked up the phone. 


"OK, I'm convinced," I say. "Now what?" 


"Now you listen to and do everything I say."  


I'm a stubborn sort, so this isn't an appealing option. I don't even let my boss boss me around let alone random strangers telling me I hold the key to ending the apocalypse. But with some strange fire beating at my door, I have no choice. I don't vocalize my submission but merely utter, "OK?" 


That urged the stranger to go ahead, "Because of your initial stubbornness you have precisely thirty two seconds to escape your house before the creature overtakes the entire house."


 "Creature?" 


"Twenty nine seconds." The message was clear. The more I questioned the less time I had, the blue fire burrowing it's way through the front door makes this message crystal clear. 


Getting into the kitchen I yell into my phone, "What do I do?" 


The distorted voice fixes itself into delight at my compliant tone. "Go to the bathroom."


 Considering the circumstances I am about to do that already. But I spare the voice the comical remark and figure that she means for me to go into the bathroom. There is a double edged tension as I race down the hallway -- uncertainty both at my back and before me. The disquieting realization that this blaze of fire moving in my direction is a living creature with a vendetta against me and the dark uncertainty that awaits me in the bathroom. What is this person doing? The bathroom is in the center of the house -- no windows. no outlets. There may as well be a firing squad awaiting me there. Is this how I am going to die? Taking the word of some random stranger? Still I have no options. Besides, I'm almost to the bathroom when -- "Arg!" I scream in pain. The fiery creature rakes my back with it's emblazoned talons. I stumble through the bathroom door and slam the door behind me. 


The stranger directs me from the phone, "Now fill the sink with water." 


I can no longer suppress my tongue; "What the hell! Am I preparing for a power outage?" 


The voice forcefully repeats, "Do it." 


Options down to precisely one I fill up the sink. 


"Now," the voice goes on, "pull a hair dryer from the cabinet." 


 "Hair dryer? Does this look like Vidal Sassoon to you?" 


"Anything you can plug in," comes the exasperated revision. 


The fire melts the door making my next decision for me as I pull out my electric razor. 


"Plug it in." 


I obey as the fire is crawling toward my shoes. 


"Turn it on." 


I comply as it climbs up my legs. And just when I think she can't up the ante on crazy, she does just that with these words: 


"Now toss the razor into the water."  


At that moment, a realization hits me. The voice had given me all this information about the creature. Maybe I know too much and this is the voice getting rid of me so I won't be captured by the creature. I hesitate, but as the fire rises to my junk, the hesitation ends and I place the buzzing razor in the water. A spark rises from the concoction of liquid and wires and it fills the room -- everything goes black.


….


I awaken writhing in pain on a hard metal surface. I open my eyes and it appears that everything is made of metal. The room is not like anything I've ever seen before with glowing balls expanding and contracting. Brilliant clear tubes with a plasma like substance flowing through it with effortless wonder. Electricity flowing from every pore of this futuristic structure. 


I have no idea where I am. But one thing is certain and it is the one thing I am grateful for: I am alive. Almost on cue, a voice says from over my shoulder, "You're very lucky." 


I turn to see a woman, messing with some dials. "Your hesitation almost cost you your life but the spark you created blew a circuit cutting the electricity to your house and making the creature inoperable "


Already disoriented, her words confuse me more, "I don't get it." 


"The fire creature feeds upon running electricity. Once you cut the power to your home, the creature could no longer survive. The entire plan had a one in twenty chance of working, but it was the one with the best odds.”


She pulls up a stool and sits next to me as I try not to be distracted by the brilliant array of lights surrounding her.


“Now, I'm going to test your memory to make sure your brain is functioning properly." 


She produces a beam of life from her finger and points it at my eye. "What is your name?" 


I answer clearly because I don't want to be stuck in some interplanetary psychic ward for weeks. "Ronald Joyce." 


"Good." she says. "Now what day is it." 


I hesitate, wondering if she’s asking for my own day or some space date.


Easing my tensions she says, “On earth.”


"Uh Tuesday?" 


"The date?" 


"Of course -- June 5th 2019." 


"Very good. now what did my operative tell you in that phone call."


"Um that the world was ending. That an alien force was coming to get me and that -- well that I was some 'chosen one' foretold and I was the last hope for survival." 


"Is that all? No hints about her location or anything?" 


It is then that I realize how odd this line of questioning is. Then I think back to what I was told about the creature -- that it lives on electricity. Then I see around me all the bolts of electricity flowing throughout the vessel.


"Wait. What are you --" 


But it is too late. The woman’s eyes start to glow. She becomes consumed in a blue fire. 


Finally, she levels a sadistic glare at me and smiles.


"Nice knowing you, chosen one."


October 17, 2020 01:31

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4 comments

Jessie Elke
03:42 Oct 23, 2020

Hey! I was suggested this story by the critique circle! Read through it, and I really liked the concept. I think you work well with ambiguity! For science fiction ambiguity is especially hard, but it worked! I did notice that the tense flipped a lot from past to present (ex. first paragraph was past tense, second was present). It distracts from the building drama. That's a super easy fix though, I'd just go back and look at all your verbs to make sure they're consistent. I think you did a good job with characterizing our narrator Ronald J...

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Courtney Haynes
04:01 Oct 23, 2020

Hey, thanks a lot for the feedback. Yes, there were a lot of tense and grammatical errors. Busy week, so I didn't get a chance to go back and edit. I'm always glad when the critiques have no big surprises -- it means at least I'm able to recognize when I'm doing something wrong (lol). Either way, I'm glad you found something positive in my hastily made short story. Thanks again.

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Jessie Elke
13:19 Oct 23, 2020

Sure thing! Can't wait to see more from you :)

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C. Jay Loren
15:09 Oct 21, 2020

Ooh this was definitely very interesting. I liked it! :)

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