(The Machine) From Innocence To Fear and Reverence

Submitted into Contest #155 in response to: Start your story with a character facing a situation that isn't awful, but isn't great.... view prompt

5 comments

Adventure Fiction Fantasy

This story contains sensitive content

*fighting of one character with another and one is victorious.

From Innocence To Fear and Reverence

It was a long time coming. The machine would help run the household. It knew the family's nuance and was willing and able to accommodate whatever family could think up for the device. Nobody would have known anything different except Danielle was weak and had to tell the truth. She strongly felt the family spent most wishes on things nobody could figure out. 

Some thought they were untouchable since they saw the complete picture of the house's value. You see, the entire block had places with machines just like theirs. The house was, for all intents and purposes, the machine. 

Danielle was the most innocent in the group at her house. She did not want to determine who did what and asked for what from the computer. Ah, but she knew some asked for anything and everything because they had nothing better to do and no imagination. That’s the reputation they got for being dumb and imaginationless. Danielle was clever and always asked about the others. She knew the best way to be was to be ahead of the pack. It was proving more and more difficult as time moved forward. The children in the house were off limits and considered to be some bright lights to the machine. The machine would be the deciding factor in the war against household members. Each household member who was an adult attempted to take over teardrops from other members so they could eventually take over the household entirely. When the house is taken over, the victor would then be in a position to take over the neighbouring household and so on and so on. Eventually, one or two adults would be taking over the entire block.  

Danielle figured that if she moved forward in time and looked back, she could keep ahead of the rest and exist well with the machine and in the household. She found that she was spending more free time in the future and not interacting with anyone in her present life. The family was too busy with their issues to be bothered by news and information about Danielle. At least, that is what she always thought. Only this time, she was dead wrong. Shayne was all over her business, and there was nothing that he wouldn’t do to find out about what Danielle was up to daily. Each person had a pod travel area that looked like a tiny teardrop from the original house, always connecting to the house in one small area that would make up the top of the teardrop. The kids were finding their own entertainment at night. Danielle had set up a tracker on her account; that was how she figured out Shayne was tracking her. Danielle knew she must take care of Shayne (the immediate threat), or it would take care of her. The weaponry department was the most lacking as the house was not supposed to be used for killing.

The primitive weapons would maim unless the two were near, and Danielle knew that if that were the case, Shayne would overpower her. She stood across from the arsenal and discovered that she would need to train to take Shayne on and be successful. Danielle was training since she got home until she had to sleep. Danielle focused on annihilating Shayne, and it was her focus now: she fixated on defeating him. Shayne didn't know Danielle was onto him, but he recognized she was becoming more muscular. He felt insecure about his physique: he was overweight and out of shape. He wondered if he might be better off focusing on someone else.  Shayne looked at the entire family members, and outside of the children, Danielle was his best bet; unfortunately, Shayne was not so confident anymore. Shayne decided to scrap the whole plan. 

Danielle decided tomorrow was the day. She lured Shayne and two others into her teardrop. The other two were distracted by her incredible visuals and comics while she stabbed Shayne with a sword and thrust a knife across his throat, severing his jugular. He bled out in seconds. After he bled out, she shoved his body into a bush in her teardrop; afterward, the remaining three left the teardrop together. Once Danielle and others returned to the house, the younger ones never asked about Shayne again. It turns out Shayne was a tyrant to them too. They were relieved to have Shayne gone! Danielle was also relieved; now, she could get back to monitoring who was monitoring her. And so it went for the innocent Danielle, who killed Shayne from the machine's house and left all the evidence in her teardrop, never to be discovered. But that’s how it went in the households now. Sometimes people went missing, and then a person with one teardrop now owned two; that was a warning and meant nobody should mess with that person. So it went that Danielle was no longer to be innocent but rather feared and revered. 

She would carry that around for a few days until she realized her head was the one people wanted to get to now, and her two teardrops were sought after by all in the house. How could she have been naive to believe it was one and done? She didn’t want this burden, and she didn’t want this life for herself. She couldn’t bear to lose her teardrop to someone else, and her newly acquired teardrop was proving to be so rewarding for her, but given the new aha moment, she would have to readjust her plans. She no longer would allow herself to be conquered, but she would stand and defend. Otherwise, it was unspeakable what she would have to do. It would be easier, no doubt, in the end. Perhaps she was being unreasonable now about her future. Maybe she had what it took or didn’t, but how could she tell? Defending her teardrops would require a lot of strategizing, and she was more than excellent at that! So what was her problem? She knew that other people in the house also had two teardrops, which meant a more difficult battle. She would prepare harder now and focus with more attention to detail. This was her life now. She knew what she had to do if she ever got tired. 

July 19, 2022 18:55

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5 comments

Graham Kinross
23:42 Aug 17, 2022

You should trim your note and the title from the text when you upload them. If you break down the paragraphs into smaller chunks it will be easier to read. You could have the characters tell us a lot of this information in dialogue. You have a great story so put us in the moment and let us live it with you. Is there more of this now?

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Emma G.
21:19 Jul 27, 2022

This story sure left me questioning about the bigger world. If I'm being honest, it felt a bit confusing having no prior knowledge of what was going on, but was still an interesting read! Now I'm wondering how Danielle will fare being the new target.

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Lily Finch
15:25 Jul 27, 2022

Yes. Thanks, Emma, for the read and the comments. I am trying to develop a more extended version as I have a lot of ideas about where this story could go. Unfortunately, they are not yet all down on paper but rather ruminating up in my noggin.

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Betty Gilgoff
19:36 Jul 25, 2022

An interesting read Lily although it definitely left me with the sense that it should be a part of a larger body of work. The fantasy or science fiction aspect could so easily be more developed and I was left wanting to know more about who these people were and why they were all in households with machines and individual teardrops that they could take over from each other. So much left to the imagination. I hope you're continuing the work somewhere.

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Lily Finch
18:09 Jul 29, 2022

Thank you, Betty, for reading and commenting. I have many ideas for completing this story but am letting them percolate at the moment. The teardrops and the explanation will definitely be next.

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