Friday Flash: Abseiling the Great Light Wall

Abseiling the Great Light Wall

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The Great Light Wall is the largest artifact in the solar system, but most people don’t think about why it was created any more, except on XLZ Memorial Day (observed either July 19 or the third Monday of July, varying by country). A transparent Dyson sphere, several miles thick, built outside Mercury’s orbit, the Wall has one purpose: keep the growing solar flares contained. It won’t contain the energy of a nova, but it’s not meant to.


In the 24th century, the Eurasian Space Agency and the Indo-Pakistani Agency for Space Exploration joined forces in an effort to move humans beyond the bounds of our solar system. These dreams came to an abrupt halt when XLZ-348, an experimental spaceship that was supposed to “fold space,” thus allowing faster-than-light travel, folded itself into the sun along with an unknown amount of degenerate matter. The resultant plasma jet blew past Venus. Eyewitnesses on Earth described it as a highway of fire across the sky (1). Subsequent flares were not as large, but dangerous levels of radiation accompanied each new burst. (Work on folding space was discontinued, over the vociferous objections of Steve Lee, one of the engineering consultants for the XLZ-348. Rumors have surfaced in the past few years of a shipyard on Triton, far from UN oversight, but these rumors have not been confirmed.)

Observations of the flares confirmed that the degenerate matter had carried enough heat to trigger helium flashes in intermediate zones of the sun. Astrophysicists disagree upon whether the sun has actually begun its red dwarf evolution but agree that it has become inimical to life (2).

The United Nations’ Space Oversight Agency gathered scientists from around the world. In less time than anyone familiar with bureaucracy expected, a plan was put forward for a protective sphere around the sun using data gathered from the 2018 Solar Probe Plus, as well as subsequent missions, including the Taitale Project of the 22nd century. The job was opened to bids. (3)

HySphere won the contract for the construction (3) but quickly ran into cost overruns. Initial estimates were based on robot workers, but frequent breakdowns required personnel to be on site. Carbon-carbon shielding and lead lining of quarters increased costs significantly. Unable to attract new financial backing — and well aware of the danger to Earth if the sphere was not completed — HySphere turned to tourism. With the safeguards for the crew already in place, extra space on vessels bound for the Wall was easy to arrange: for a few million dollars, you too could brag you’d been close enough to the sun to see sparks. Repeat passengers were harder to come by, at least until Hyram Freeson realized that the Wall was of necessity three-dimensional.

HySphere extruded the sphere surface to create canyons, following patterns already laid down during construction.

“Display your rock-climbing skill in the most dangerous place known to man” read the first ads. When his wife pointed out to him how sexist this was, Hyram changed the wording to “Bold men and women, come climb in the light of the sun!” (citation needed) The wealthy flocked to the still-in-progress sphere, eager to be among the first to visit the ultimate in man-made entertainment, a labyrinth of walls kilometers deep and so extensive climbers never had to see another person. Communities built up, with spas, permanent base camps, and refuges at strategic locations. Freeson had his funding, and Earth still had a chance of survival.

In the following decade, the United Nations sued HySphere for the return of money paid under the original contract, accusing the company of using UN money to kickstart its own fortunes. (4) The World Court ruled against the United Nations, saying that HySphere had built the protection sphere as agreed upon, and the contract did not forbid using the sphere for personal gain. Hyram Freeson’s elation was short lived, however, as the World Court also held that the sphere, having been paid for by the people of the Earth, was equally open to all. (4) Every government, business conglomerate, or individual with access to space set out to put their own mark on the sphere, or as the media had begun calling it, the Great Light Wall.


Today, dozens of companies thrive on the tourism business at the Wall, and prices have come down into the reach of the average family, thanks in part to package deals created by Disneyland Sol. (Call 1-800-555-DISN from anywhere in the world to book your vacation.) However, even with the expansion of offerings, the most popular reason to visit the Wall is the climbing, and the most popular company is HySphere. Around the world, people say, “Next year, let’s go abseiling the Great Light Wall.”

See also

Dyson spheres
HySphere Inc.
Mountain climbing
Space exploration
United Nations v. HySphere Inc.

References and footnotes

(1) ^ The Times, London; July 19, 2673
(2) ^ J. Adams, Quachri, T., Williams S. “Solar evolution and external events: A review of the literature.” Astronomy and Astrophysics 7150 (3): 684-795.
(3) ^ UNSOA 2673-99E
(4) ^ United Nations v. HySphere Inc.

External links

Disneyland Sol
Eurasian Space Agency
HySphere Inc.
Indo-Pakistani Agency for Space Exploration
United Nations’ Space Oversight Agency

— The End —

890 words

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

Friday flash: Chains of Memory

Chains of Memory

Alina sipped her cinnamon latte and looked around the coffee shop. A young man had just entered through the open door. A few thin chains trailed from him, ghostly silvered colors of a light life. The pair he passed were something else — the woman, bent double with her dowager’s hump, chained with heavy iron to the man across the table, more links being tossed at him as she spoke rapidly, while his own chains were frayed construction paper, barely holding on to him. As Alina watched, another of his links broke and faded to nothingness.

Heartbreaking, but these were not the people she had been called here to help.

“Frankie in?” Thin Chains asked the barista, a young man with heavy and light chains intertwined, some caught on his piercings, others as ghostly as Thin Chains’.

“Hey, Frankie!”

A young woman stepped out from the kitchen area in the back, her chains so heavy Alina was surprised others couldn’t see them. Ship links, motorcycle cables, rusted iron, dog leashes — Frankie carried a lot with her.

This was why Alina was here.

She didn’t look to see the sights and sounds beyond the chains, simply stood and moved to the condiment bar, where she fussed with the cinnamon and cocoa shakers. It gave her something obvious to do while she sang the chains. Her notes were soft, indistinguishable from someone humming along with the background soundtrack, but they reached out and rippled across the chains, testing the links, weakening the weights, resonating along the lengths.

“I heard about last night. You okay?” Thin Chains’ gentle voice was tossed out as another light strand, gold wheat, but it hit Frankie a length of welded machine chain.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Her voice was stiff.

“But Janey said–”

“If you care what Janey says so much, go talk to her.” This time, it was her voice that whipped like a loose chain. It struck home, and stuck to Thin Chains, the most solid of his links.

Alina’s fingers fiddled with a coffee stirrer. So much to be done! But Frankie resisted the blandishments of the music as much as Thin Chains’ sympathy. The links did not break; the chains did not fall.

“You know it’s you for me, Frankie, not Janey. You chased her off. You chased your brother off. You even chased off Dewey, who’s dense as a brick post. But you can’t chase me off.” The links between them shone, silver moonlight glistening off a chain that softened, lengthened, thinned into a bond.

“Maybe not, but if you want me, you take me, past and all. Even if I don’t want to talk about it.”

She would hold onto her chains, would she? Still, Alina was called to help. Rust and tarnish fell away, weights lightened, darkness faded to let the good shine through. Chains did not have to be prisons.


Alina placed a plastic cap onto her cup and turned to go. Her work here was done.

— The End —

500 words

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

Friday flash: It’s all in your perspective

It’s All in Your Perspective

She wouldn’t look down. Iris told herself that it was just like getting a new pair of glasses, that feeling of discontinuity, not being sure where her foot was going to come down, the stumble-trip of curbs and sidewalks. It didn’t matter that she’d worn contacts for decades, that she in fact had no glasses on at the moment. She had a point of reference, something to keep her mind calm.

Others had told her about the colors, the swirling, the vertigo. Mrs. O’Donnell, from two houses down, had been insistent about it at the last Neighborhood Watch meeting — as if they could do anything about it! And Mr. Jameson, with his aluminum-foil lined baseball cap, had yelled down the street that the aliens were going to get everyone, and they had to band together for safety. Like everyone else, Iris went about her normal life, ignoring the warnings. Who could take them seriously?

No one.

Which was why she didn’t bother asking for help now. No one would take her any more seriously than she’d taken her neighbors.

She lurched another step down the block, closing her eyes briefly and hoping the nausea would pass. The blurring wasn’t confined to her peripheral vision, or to just when she looked down. It had crept toward the very center of her field of view, and while she knew that meant it was getting worse, she found that the expansion made the change easier to accept.

Iris knocked on Mrs. O’Donnell’s door. After a moment, the door opened and Mrs. O’Donnell looked out, her eyebrows raised. Iris stared at her — how had she never noticed the rainbows in her neighbor’s pupils? Or the halo of light that surrounded her white hair?

Mrs. O’Donnell stepped aside. “You’d best come in.”

Iris followed her in. “Is it contagious? What is it?”

“Just a new way of looking at things. Think of it as an evolution. Soon you’ll know who’s affected and who isn’t — and who works for the other side.”

“Other side?”

“Not everyone wants humans to improve.” She nodded at the window, and Iris glanced out to see Mr. Jameson mowing his lawn across the street, his outline wavering like ripples of steam. “We’ll prevail in the end.”

Perhaps Mrs. O’Donnell was right. As Iris attempted another step, she still wasn’t sure that was a good thing.

— The End —

388 words

Yes, clearly, there will be more.

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

Friday flash: Seeking Blue

Seeking Blue

The chess set had been put away, and Verena had gone off to her afternoon pursuits of embroidery and painting, in true ladylike fashion. Angelica wouldn’t be along until shortly before dinner; she never saw the obvious, thus making her studies take longer than they should.

Drake stretched, fanning his wings to catch more sunlight, then lay upon the roof, wings splayed as if he were an indolent cat rather than a master of the elements. Three were his to call upon: the air he rode, the earth he sheltered in, and the fire he breathed. Only one remained, and this his mind sought out as his eyes drifted closed.

Deep beneath the castle, within the hill, a pool of purest water murmured to him, calling in a song he did not yet know. Earth-song had cradled his egg, hardening his scales and toughening his bones. Later, fire-song crackled from his mother, heat and light dawning to wisdom. Last, wind-song bore up his wings, giving him the world. He didn’t know what gift the water bore, only that he must seek it.

Air shifted, and tremors carried through the stones of the castle — footsteps. Angelica was early today. Time, then, for her lesson, whisper of a gentle breeze. It would take years for her to learn all the songs, but she was young. She had time.

As did he. Time to hear the water, to make it part of himself, to be more than any dragon before him. He would need it for what was to come.

Now, he raised his voice in song.

— The End —

267 words

Yes, clearly, there will be more.

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

Friday flash: Smoke in the Trees

Smoke in the Trees

Edge of grass and trees, short clear space behind, tall dark ahead. Scent of green and squirrel and a familiar musk, not smelled for seasons. The mist cat pushed into the shadows, following the trail. Brother, here? After so long?

But no — his scent faded. Had touched these shadows, yes, in the underspace, had been so close, hunting the chitters, but gone now. Chitters not gone; chitters spread through trees, hid in spaces only Smoke and other mist cats would see. Even the winged one would not see them unless they came out into the sun.

This was Smoke’s job, one the girl didn’t even know of. Best to keep it so.

Smoke faded into patchy sapling shade, faded out near big rock at center of trees. First chitter there, water clear and cicada-song between the oak branches. The mist cat crouched, haunches tensed, sprang. Teeth closed, bitter black and yellow taste mouth filling as song screeched high into nothingness.

Pain plunged sharp into Smoke’s back, mandible and claw. She spun, fluid cat twist, to sink her teeth into attacker, and two more gouged at her flanks. She slid sideways, shadow to shadow, escape, attack, evade, bite. More of them, always more, until there weren’t.

She held still on thick branch, pads resting on rough bark, tang of tree in her head. Nothing. Chitters gone. Gone, too, all trace of brother, any hope of fading and following him home. Smoke licked fur, washing clean ichor crusting wounds. These had come close.

Back to grass’s edge, fade in, fade out, nip at flowers tickling whiskers. More might come, but girl safe for now. Smoke would stay, keep her safe. When girl had grown, time enough then to find brother, return to family, seek home.

Now, evening shadows. Slip to blankets in cool room. One thought, in grass, next with girl. Now was good.

— The End —

313 words

Better late than never, right? I discovered last week’s cat has a voice of her own. I imagine that means Drake is going to want his say as well. I hope you enjoyed it.

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

Happy solstice!

Friday flash: Top Five Reasons Dragons Are Better Than Cats

Top Five Reasons Dragons Are Better Than Cats

In her room in the northwest tower, Angelica stood up from her oaken writing desk and crossed to the window. She brushed the vanes of her quill against her cheek and stared out at the gray and green scene, castle and clouds against grass and trees. She was happy, she supposed, that her parents had hired a Tiremish tutor for her; they were supposed to be the best, and Philomena had been positively chartreuse with jealousy. Still, he gave her such inane assignments. What did he mean “Compare and contrast the characteristics of two noble beasts of which she had personal knowledge”?

Below, near the copse of trees that stood to the north, she saw Smoke, her mist cat, fade in and out of shadows, stalking something hidden within — one of her father’s deer, no doubt. That was one difference, right? Dragons didn’t play with their prey. Except . . . there, on the northernmost tower, Drake curled in the sun in front of a chessboard, facing the son of the neighboring barony. Well, at least Drake talked to his potential prey, so he was polite about it!

Drake noticed her watching — his keen sight was a little scary — and nodded an acknowledgment. Definitely polite. Smoke had no idea Angelica was watching her and wouldn’t have cared if she had.

What else? Smoke could travel outside the castle, but she was the guardian spirit of the hill, so she couldn’t go very far. Drake’s wings, in theory, could take him to the corners of the world — except he had given his word to Angelica’s father, which meant he was as trapped as Smoke.

The sun came out from behind the clouds, and gold glinted from beneath Drake. Not his full hoard, of course, just enough to keep him comfortable. Smoke didn’t keep such pretty trophies; Angelica glanced over her shoulder to the corner of her room where the mist cat had left spools of thread stolen from the weavers, broken arrows from the fletchers, and bones that Angelica didn’t want to know any more about.

Drat the tutor, anyway! Angelica couldn’t leave her room until she’d written something, and Drake had promised to teach her wind-song. She crossed back to her desk and glared down at the blank parchment. If only she could think of something to write.

— The End —

386 words

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

Friday flash: Always


In the smoky interior of the split-log cabin, Karina moved from bed to bed, tending to coughs and fevers alike with poultices and cool drinks. Soon, it would be time to turn the patients again, to help prevent bed sores — a task she usually had help with, but this was not a usual winter. This year, the ague had hit hard, taking not only her Gran and all the babes of the village, but many of those her own age, usually so strong and fit. She paused to wipe her own forehead.

“Are you okay, Karina?” The voice was so weak, she had trouble identifying it, until it came again. “You should rest so you don’t wind up joining us.”

Heidi, the blacksmith’s wife — how like her to worry about others. She’d lost both her son and daughter the week before, the sweetest two year olds Karina had ever seen. Now Heidi lay to the left side of the fireplace, stricken by the same illness.

Karina crossed to her and pulled a stool close to sit beside the cot. “It’s just the smoke. I’ll be fine. Would you like some water?”

“Maybe a little.” Heidi touched her throat. “It’s so warm in here.”

“Gran always swore by heat for the ague.”

“She would know.”

Nodding, Karina rose and fetched a tankard of water. She held it to Heidi’s lips and waited while the other woman sipped.

A crash behind her made Karina spin around, slopping water onto Heidi as she did so. Thomas, one of the young men her own age, had fallen from his cot, knocking it over in the process. Grimacing, Karina set the tankard on the floor.

“I’ll get you a towel in just a moment.”

“It’s all right. I understand.”

The fall had woken Thomas, but he lay on the floor, staring at her rather than trying to get back into the cot. He must be worse off than she had thought. Karina knelt and pulled the cot closer to him, then rolled him against it, pushing upward so that his weight would help right the cot. After three tries, the cot rocked upright.

His face was waxy, and he stared up at the ceiling, unblinking. Karina shook her head; he wouldn’t make it through the night.

She picked up the sweat-soaked blankets that had fallen to the floor and stuffed them into the large pot of lye water sitting next to the fireplace. His would be changed a little earlier than her other patients’. A trip to the blanket chest yielded a threadbare woolen blanket and towels for both Heidi and Thomas. Heidi smiled appreciatively at Karina, but when Karina dabbed at Thomas’s forehead, he caught her hand.

“It’s always been you,” he said. “Always.” Then his hand dropped and he rolled away from her touch.

She stared at the back of his head; she’d never thought of him that way, and now to hear it like this, with others listening, was too much. She almost couldn’t bring herself to reply, but if he was going to die today, she couldn’t be that cruel to him.

Softly, hoping her voice wouldn’t carry beyond his cot, she said, “I’ll be yours when the daffodils bloom again.”

A sigh was his only response, and she tucked the blanket around him and returned to her rounds.


Bodies — too many — had been stored in an abandoned cabin and added to the hillside cemetery as soon as the ground thawed enough in the spring. The laborers trickled back to their homes, glad of the friends and family they had still living. Now Thomas, who had pulled through against all expectation, stood in the cemetery, staring down at Karina’s grave. Looking back, it seemed inevitable that she would succumb to the ague, as she had spent all her time around those who were sick.

He spoke as softly as she had that night back in the smoky cabin. “You said you’d be mine, and now the daffodils are blooming, yellow and cheerful beneath your windows.” A lump caught in his throat, and he looked away for a moment at the pine trees sweeping down the neighboring hills. “I just — it’s still you. Always.”

Silently, he placed a gold ring on the stone marking her grave. After staring at it a few minutes, he turned to head back to the home he’d hoped she would share.

A breeze touched him, whispered, “Yours,” and then was gone.

Thomas looked back. For a brief moment, he thought he saw Karina standing beside her gravestone, hair blowing in the breeze, his ring upon her finger. Blinking back tears, he took a step and reached out one hand to her. Then she was gone.

Only after he stared a moment longer did he realize his ring had vanished as well. He hadn’t imagined her, then — she had taken his ring. She was his.

This time, when he turned toward home, his step was lighter. Karina was with him — always.

— The End —

850 words

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

Friday flash: Five More Minutes

Five More Minutes

Liam listened to the spiel on the time-travel devices absently. He was only here because of Robin, who said he was too scared to do anything outside his pampered enclave. “You’ve never gone beyond the gates, even for schooling.” He’d show her. He wasn’t afraid — there was just nothing in the current world of any real interest.

Had it been a set-up, all along? He didn’t think she’d mentioned time-travel, but when he arrived at the sales floor, the salesman seemed to expect him, even calling him by name. Maybe that was just part of the mystique — send the records from the end of each day back to the start. It was a neat trick, anyway.

The salesman fixed earnest blue eyes on Liam. He looked vaguely familiar, which probably meant Liam had run into his family in the enclave, even if Liam hadn’t met the salesman himself. With that chin, the salesman might even be a cousin Liam had never met. “You’re sure you understand how the recall works? And the time-delay circuit?”

Liam stifled a yawn. There were exactly three buttons on the device — go, recall, and delay. Go sent him into the past, recall returned him if he wanted to come back sooner than programmed, and delay extended the duration in the past. Simple. He could have operated this when he was still a toddler. “I’m sure.”

“I have to ask,” the salesman said apologetically. “There are rules.”

Of course there were.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be back in a jiffy.”


Now he thought back on that encounter. He hadn’t expected to fall in love while in the past. He’d never heard of such a thing. Yet here he was on a bench in New York’s Central Park, watching joggers and dog-walkers pass, waiting for Angela, and worrying about how long he had.

The programmed return time from the past wasn’t always convenient — it would never do for a traveler to disappear in front of people. Hence the time-delay circuit. The device would vibrate and flash a minute or two before recall, giving the traveler enough time to press the delay button if necessary.

Liam had already delayed twice. He wasn’t ready to leave Angela; he wasn’t sure he ever would be.

He should have paid more attention to the details. Now he turned over the device in his pocket, trying to remember how the failsafe worked, how long he could continue to delay.


He’d been distracted, hadn’t noticed Angela’s approach. He stood up to greet her, smiling as he met her cerulean eyes. “Sorry, my sweet. I was just thinking about the future.”

Her perfectly arched brow raised. “Oh?”

She was too much of a lady to ask whether that future included her.

In his pocket, the device vibrated again. Liam slipped his hand around the device and pressed the time-delay button for the third time. Just a little longer.

The metal crumpled in his hand. He pulled it out and looked at it.

“What’s that?” Angela asked.

He shook his head and tossed it into the trash can next to the bench. “Nothing.”

That was what he’d missed in the salesman’s speech — the device wouldn’t work indefinitely. He’d have to leave an “I told you so” letter in trust for Robin to read. Later. Right now, he had exactly what he wanted — more time.

The rest of his life with Angela.


570 words

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

This week’s flash was inspired by my desire to stay in bed this morning. (Of course.)

Flash fiction: Mourning Bird

Mourning Bird

I was born beneath a black veil of mourning, a dark bud blooming deep in its shadow. The house had burned down years past, possibly decades or even longer, but Mother couldn’t tell me, her sense of time being . . . well, hers. The garden had fallen into disarray, formerly neat hedges become impenetrable thickets, and onions bearing giant purple globes where they had been allowed to go to seed. Into this, then, was I born, a child of the dark, the sorrow of not belonging bred into my bones, which wept with the sound of water trickling down a broken redbrick wall.

When I reckoned myself an adult, I tried to leave, but the iron of the gates held me as tight as any shackle, though they lay broken across the drive. Father told me it was not so much the metal of them as the symbol, that that was how mankind had always bound us, with sign and symbol, through the magic of words that held no magic.

– But why? Why? They are gone, dead and gone, burned and lost and scattered to the winds! Why cannot we go as well?

– Somewhere, they are not gone. Somewhere, they still call this home, though they may never have seen it. So long as their blood beats in their veins, so long does it bind us here.

– It isn’t fair! They don’t even want us any more!

Fair or not, it was the way of our life and I could not leave. I had already explored the garden, every inch, every speck, every pebble, every decaying rib of leaf in the fall. I knew the land, knew its ways, the thoughts of the trees, the whispers of the breezes, the drifts of snow that melted last in spring. I realized I would become like my mother, one with the land, no memory or separation of time, if I could not escape. There was only one other thing to try.

No one had ever forbidden me to enter the ruined house. As far as I knew, Mother saw it still clothed in flames, and Father — he probably assumed I wouldn’t want to. I was bound to the land, after all. What could something set apart in such a way have to offer me?

But it wasn’t set apart any more. Brambles grew through into what had been the kitchen, birds nested atop tottering walls, and I knew at least one fox family had a den in the basement. The house had become an extension of the garden, and I had become old enough to claim it as my own.

I entered through the front, dancing along the rose petals that drifted through space once filled — with a window, a wall? Mother would know, but she wouldn’t understand why I asked — but now bereft of anything but drifting dirt, charred timbers, and plants reclaiming the land. I felt the threshold as I crossed it, a thought, a line, a “this is home” feeling of belonging that sealed in as effectively as did the iron gates — but it was too late for me to go back. I was admitted into the house, but it had claimed me.

How long, I wondered, would humans consider this their place? How long before the blood diluted and set us free? Too long, I knew. I would be one with these walls, drawing the veil of mourning deeper about myself, and lose myself more completely than even Mother had.

I sat down on a pile of leaves to watch the sunset through the broken walls. The ghost of a sparrow flitted through one wall and out the other.


608 words

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

This week’s flash was inspired by a flash fiction challenge on Chuck Wendig’s blog, “Choose Your Opening Line.” In fact, I chose two lines, one for the beginning and one for the ending:

I was born beneath a black veil of mourning, a dark bud blooming deep in its shadow. — 
Gina Herron

The ghost of a sparrow flitted through one wall and out the other.
 — CJ Eggett

Friday flash: Neat freak

Neat Freak

Once upon a time, there was an organized young woman. She always brushed and flossed twice a day, precisely at 7 o’clock. Every dish was washed and put away immediately after being used. Her closet was organized both alphabetically (the shoe styles) and by color (everything else). And, of course, her taxes were always filed by 5 p.m. on January 31 (earlier if she had all the paperwork).

Her neighbors muttered and moaned. “She makes us all look bad.” But what could they do? An audit wouldn’t faze this woman. There must be something! They labored to summon a demon, a fairy, anyone who could help them.

Which is when my muse stepped in and said, “Clearly a fictional character. No one will ever miss her,” and fed her to the kraken in the basement.

The neighbors celebrated their freedom from feeling inferior . . . until they realized that if she was fictional, then so were they. Like Douglas Adams’s God, they disappeared in a puff of logic.


162 words

My blog is participating in the Forward Motion Flash Friday Blog Group, a weekly flash fiction exercise (not that I’m managing weekly!). Check out the other participating blogs for more flash.

Why yes, I am still working on my taxes.