Daily Prompt: Twenty-Five – “Without You”

Daily Prompt: Twenty-Five.

Daily Prompt – 25

03-04

There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one of them. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)

“Without You” (no – u, j,q,x,z)

It was Friday.

The table was a mess. A newspaper’s pages covered everything.

Yet the newspaper had only one thing circled.

“Caroline Bale

Born – 05/15/1954

Died 11/23/2004

Mother, sister, friend.

She will be missed.”

There were tearstains on the paper, and a ring of water from the whiskey glass.

She was only given five lines.

She will be missed.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Dystopia! (The Musical)

Weekly Writing Challenge: Dystopia! (The Musical).

Weekly Prompt – Dystopia

02-25 – 03-04

Is it Saturday? She thinks groggily.  I think it’s Saturday, but why is it so cold? Did Maz open my window?

“Mo-om.” She called, eyes still shut, and curled up coughing, the fit, seemed to take ages.

Great, it’s Saturday I’m freezing and now I’m sick because Maz is a dweeb.

“Mom.” She croaked, still not willing to crack open her eyes. She felt around for her blankets to huddle into them. She didn’t have her covers there was only one explanation. “MAZ!” She bellowed, coughing harshly at the strain it caused.

She sat up, and fell forward. Her hands flew out before her and slammed into some glass. Then she realized something very not good was happening. Finally, blearily she opened her eyes.

Carefully she stood and leaned back, what she’d assumed was her bed seemed to be some sort of tube. She looked forward not up, the pad she was leaning on was mostly vertical, in front of her was a curved glass cover. She took a deep breath.

I’m in a glass coffin. She giggled. And I’m very cold. She looked down. At least I’m not naked.

She fingered the thin white cloth of the shapeless dress she found herself in. It tore slightly it was so fragile. She dropped the edge and took a deep breath.

I’m not learning anything new here. She decided. I have to find Mom and Maz.

Leaning forward she pressed up against the glass. It didn’t budge. She leaned back and hit it as hard as she could and cried out as her knuckles bruised themselves against the glass. Undetered she leaned back onto the pad and pulled up her right leg and slammed the bare heel into the glass. It budged. Slightly, just enough to give her a moment’s excitement before it fell back and sealed itself again.

She didn’t notice the frustrated tear that mared her cheek, or how her teeth were chattering as it seemed to get colder in the small tube. She was determined. Crouching sideways so she could reach the bottom of the tube she pushed the tips of her fingers into the seal of the glass top. She followed it around and up and found nothing.

Look for an opening, sometimes it’s a backpass. The words of her soccer coach rang in her ears. So she turned and pulled at the pad. It slid away from the metal frame with only the slight resistance of velcro binding. There under what had been her bed she found a panel that slid up exposing wires and buttons, and couldn’t understand anyof it. There was however a large red button, and who can resist a large red button.

If it doesn’t let me out, whatever it does should let someone know I’m here. She reasoned and punched the button quickly before she talked herself out of it.

There was a click, and the glass began to slide up and out, like a garage door. She pushed against it and flopped onto the ground. It was so warm. She shivered violently and hugged herself around her middle.

What the hell is going on?  She picked herself up and looked up and down the long hall. The metal grated floor dug into her bare feet and she winced when she took a step forward. She heard a soft *whump* And looked towards it.

Just to the right of her strange Snow White coffin was another, just as occupied as hers had been with a man, thumping at the glass as she had done. With a growing horror she realized that the entire hallway was filled with these things.

I’ve been abducted by aliens. I’ve been abducted by aliens and that’s very, very bad. She may have completely panicked at this point. She banged on the glass that the man was behind and pulled ineffectively at the seal and she was panting with the effort. She had to help.

They put us in; there must be a way to take us out. A whiney voice rang in her ear, it sounded a lot like Maz when he was in a snit and certain he was smarter than his boring older sister.

“Mom, Maz.” She whispered, feeling very, very small. She stopped and stood back, the man made eye contact through the glass and seemed to hold her still with his beseeching stare. He was saying something, but the glass distorted everything and it sounded so very far away.

She shook her head at him in silent despair, she couldn’t understand what he wanted. She couldn’t help him get out. He was shivering. His pad had been pulled aside so it crumpled against the side, the red button did not light up in his tube. He pointed to the right, down the hall, then to the big red button. He did this two more times and she nodded.

Big red button, big red button She ran down the hall, noticing almost all of the tubes were filled with people in thin white dresses awake pounding at the glass, lips turning blue. Big red button, big red button. Her feet were screaming at her and she was terrified to look down, certain at least the left one was bleeding. Big red button, big red button. Why did aliens change our clothes … why would they care at all. She stopped at a large desk, it was a semi-circle metal and dark like the rest of the hallway, there was a door behind it. She started towards it but there were so many *whump**Whump* noises coming from the hall it was terrifying. She couldn’t leave those people there, freezing.

She looked at the desk, there were no words just buttons with numbers and a few toggles. There in the far left, nearest the door.

“Big red button.” She grinned and pressed it. Klaxons turned on and yellow lights flashed, she flinched away from it. There was a symphony of *clicks* and the entire hallway was shrinking as the glass tops lifted up and people were falling out of there freezing prisons onto the metal grated floor. The man who was beside her came striding down the hallway ignoring the people and dodging their grasping fingers.

“You!” He called pinning her to the desk with his eyes again. “Name.” He demanded.

He’s not in the white dress, he has shoes.

“Naomi.” She managed. “Are you working with the aliens?” Her hands flew to her mouth as if to push the words back in, but it was too late.

“What?”

“They let you keep your clothes.” She responded and her hands flopped to her sides, as if to give up keeping her quiet. She coughed and doubled over, certain her lungs were going to collapse.

“No aliens Naomi.” The man managed, with a peculiar look on his face. “Look I’m not into politics, I can’t handle this situation.” He seemed to shrug.

There was a clank and a large group of people rushed through the door. It almost seemed they would collide with each other of get stuck in the doorway there were so many and it was so small. But the managed all the same. There were doctors with masks up snapping on thin see-through gloves, nurses, some carrying stretchers, and several people in suits. It was a woman who stepped forward and eyed the man in his beige coverall and leather boots.

“Explanation.” She demanded, her lips pursed and her demeanor unamused.

“What you sent me to fix was broken, too broken, sealed me in and shorted when I hit the emergency release, defrosted the whole section.” The man shrugged and brushed past her. “When I said it needed yearly maintenance I was serious.” He tipped an imaginary hat at Naomi. “Thanks for the rescue kid.” He grinned and slid through the open door.

The woman sighed and stared at Naomi without seeing her. “The entire section.” She may have sworn at this point but Naomi wasn’t certain, she had never heard that word before, it may have been the name of the man who handed her a plastic square that lit up in her hands.

Everything seemed to blur after that, the woman made an announcement and the suits left in her wake, the doctors and nurses seemed intent on setting the recently released with blankets and warm IV’s. No one was answering the questions being asked.

That woman knows the answers.  Naomi reasoned. Someone had better figure out what’s going on here and where Mom and Maz are.

She snorted and slid through the doors and followed the suits, not quite in ear range of the orders the woman was firing off. The floor out here was not metal grates; it was a freezing cold laminated sheet. She shivered in her thin dress. It didn’t take long for one of the suits to notice her.

“Boss, got a stray over here.” She froze as the group stopped and turned to her. Big and brave, not afraid of a stupid suit.

“You should return to the others.” The lady said not unkindly, but so matter of fact that it caused Naomi to bristle. Right like that’s going to happen.

“Oh really, should I now?” She crossed her arms. “Because I don’t know what kind of sick operation you’re running here, but when my mother find out about this you’re going to be in more trouble than it’s worth. She’s a top notch advocate and liable to destroy you and whoever you’re working for, so if you think I’m going to blithely wander back into that prison back there you have another thing coming. You better have some damn good lawyers, not that it’ll do you much good.”

The woman actually chuckled lightly. “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons.” She whispered and Naomi only barely caught it.

“Alright Dragon, why shouldn’t I?” I’ll call you that forever now, just try and stop me.

“What year is it?” Dragon asked her suddenly.

“2027” Naomi answered confidently. “I don’t have a concussion; I just want to know what the hell is going on here.”

The woman used her odd swear word again. “That early, this is going to be hell.”

“I’m still waiting. I’m still freezing, and bozo number three is looking a little too closely for me to think its necessarily wholesome thoughts in his mind, white is way to revealing.” She pointed at one of the suits, he immediately turned his head his face flushed red, he shrugged out of his dark jacket and held it out not making eye-contact.

Immediately she pulled the still warm jacket on to her shoulders, its arms way to long for her but she really didn’t care at this point. She pulled the arms up enough to do up the buttons and the jacket fell to her knees.

Dragon sighed. “Let’s not do this in the hallway, would you care to step into my office?” She finally asked and Naomi took that to be a good sign that they weren’t pushing her back in with the others.

A short elevator ride later and she found herself in a bright warm office, sitting in a soft armchair with a hot cup of tea in her hands and a blanket over her bare legs. She watched as Dragon skimmed over several clear plastic squares and discarded them quickly. Eventually it seemed she found the one she wanted.

“2027, female, teen – here you are.” She smiled. “Naomi Heartrite. Fifteen years old. Saturday March ninth. Do you know where you are Naomi?” She asked coming from behind the desk to perch on the edge.

“Your office.”

“Yes, but where?”

“No, that’s what I’m trying to figure out.” Naomi growled.

“You’re in a hospital. Lady Grace North Hospital and Holding.”

“Holding?” Naomi questioned, and Dragon grimaced.

“You’re quick to the point. Yes Holding.”

“Is that where I was?”

“You and about 200 others in that section. What is the last thing you remember?”

“Going to bed Friday.” Naomi’s hands shook, because she wasn’t certain what was happening anymore why she had been in such a horrid place, what had happened last night.

“Friday March eighth, 2027. Naomi look at the date on this file.”

She handed a plastic square to the pale girl. “April twentieth.” She glanced up. “2069.”

There was a moment of absolute still silence. The girl looking off past Dragon’s shoulder and the woman dubbed Dragon looking straight at the girl.

“No.” The girl managed. “That .. That..”

“Forty-two years.”

“But .. but why?” Forty-two? Forty-two years?

“You know what cryogenics is yes?”

“Freezing people when they need to wait for future breakthroughs, yes but I’m not sick.”

“No you weren’t you were, damaged though. Badly. You were in a car crash and needed immediate care, so you were transported to the nearest hospital, but care in the twenties couldn’t help you. So cryogenics at your mothers command. Seven years later there was a treatment, surgeries done and you were healthy again.”

“So why was I still in there!” She screamed standing suddenly tea fell and soaked into the plush carpet.

“Sometimes when there is success there isn’t necessarily anyone left to come back to. Records showed your mother as your holder, and she couldn’t be found. When there is no holder we cannot reanimate and so you, like those other 200 downstairs right now have nowhere to go, no one to be placed with.”

“So what you’re going to stick us back in those coffins?”

“No. You’re awake that would be cruel.”

“But holding us for eternity that’s fine?” They would have kept me on ice forever. She shivered again.

“That’s the law.” The woman stated. “With no one to care for you, you, all of you, become a burden on the state. If a holder is not found financially capable they are ineligible until such time as they become so. It is for your protection.”

“My mother wouldn’t have left me.”

“Naomi.”

“NO! She would have been there when I was fixed seven years later. She, she”

“She was found, but not in a state to be a holder. She was in her own unit by then, in cryo.”

“She’s here?” Mom, I’m going to find you.

“No she’s not in holding any longer. She was reanimated several years ago her form of cancer was able to be cured and her holder was found stable enough that it was ordered acceptable by the courts.”

“So people just sit in those iceboxes, fully healed, waiting for someone to bail them out.” This is what happens, people not worth it unless there’s a payout.

“It’s not as barbaric as that.”

“Try saying that while sitting here. I’m 57.”

“No you’re still 15. Aging is minimum inside Cryo-units.”

“Now what?” Naomi sat back in the chair and curled her legs up under her.

“Now I have 200 reanimated members of society that have nowhere to go and a publicity nightmare.” Dragon sighed.

“Terribly sorry you’re having a bad day.” Naomi scoffed. “I meant with us?”

“There are charities and government programs geared towards helping the reanimated, although they normally work through Holders, so it will be a paper work nightmare. It really would have been easier if that unit had never malfunctioned.”

There was a commotion outside the office and loud voices arguing. The door pushed open and a doctor rushed in followed by a suit, bozo number 3 Naomi knew, since his jacket was gone.

The doctor stopped and just stared for a moment.

“Director, if I may have a moment.” He stated angrily.

“No you may not.” Dragon, who was apparently the Director of this hospital, said. “As you can see”

“Not with you.” He sighed. “With my sister.”

His sister? His sister? Oh my god. “Maz?”

“Omi.” The doctor managed, choking slightly eyes bright.

“But you’re … eleven.”

“And you’re fifty-seven.”

“Dragon over there say’s it doesn’t count, still fifteen, still can’t drive.”

Reality seemed to blur and shift again and Naomi found herself in a bed in the hospital, brother at her side. He was trying to explain to her what had happened.

“I tried to be your holder, when mom wasn’t able anymore.” He said, eyes never leaving his older .. younger… his sister’s face. “But I could only hold one. So I held Mom, and Mom held you, and when you were cured I fought so hard to bring you home but I would have to let go of Mom’s place and then she wouldn’t be eligible for treatment I..”

“You did what you had to.” Naomi realized. “Is she, I mean”

“I called my friend Greg, you remember him?”

“He ate a worm last week.” Naomi laughed.

“Please remind him of that. Greg’s bringing Mom here.”

“But if she’s awake why didn’t she have me woken up?”

“She’s not deemed fit to help you integrate. There’s a lot of paperwork to changing holders, and it’s almost impossible when the old holder was in holding themselves. We, we weren’t certain they’d ever let us have you back.” Maz was crying, his head pressed down into the hard matress of the hospital bed.

Naomi did what big sisters did and held him close. It was immensely weird that her brother was 38 years older than her, and at the same time felt perfectly natural to hold his head and rub his back.

“Wait, so you’re 53. I’m 15 and mom’s 46. You’re older than both of us?” She fell into a fit of laughter and was quickly joined by her baby brother. This was the weirdest Saturday ever.

Daily Prompt – No, Thanks

Daily Prompt: No, Thanks.

Is there a place in the world you never want to visit? Where, and why not?

Hamish knew exactly where this was heading. He knew where the conversation was leading to, and he was not going to stick around for it. With a great heave he pulled himself out of his chair and leaned heavily on his stick. The conversation in the dining room ground to a halt as they saw him approaching. They dithered as though he was incapable of hearing them from the other room. He wanted to scoff at them but he was too tired.

“If you’re going to talk about me, I suggest you wait until I’m dead.” He huffed. “Or at least out of ear-shot. I’m old not deaf, blind, or mute.”

“Hey Gramps.” His daughters oldest grinned. He was a slimy little toad and Hamish knew exactly what he was after.

“I am your Grandfather, not Gramps. If you can’t get that right, why should to get anything at all.” He threatened with a sniff. “Abigail, get the car will you?”

His niece, lovely girl, nodded and left the room without waiting for the ‘family council’ to give their approval.

“Dad we know you’re not deaf.” His oldest daughter, Millie. Sweet thing, worries too much, married a lout.

“Or blind, or mute?” He prompted.

His daughter chuckled. “You are most certainly not mute. But I bet you couldn’t see us from the other room?” She dared.

“Doesn’t make me blind. I know what you’re up to and it’s not going to happen.” He said with a thump of his cane on the floor.

“We’re thinking about what’s best for you, Dad.” Eric, his son, always a bit weedy, smart as a whip though.

“You’re thinking about what’s best for you.” Hamish responded. “Once you got Angus put up, thought you’d turn to the baby brother. Don’t see Abigail helping you in your quest.”

“Dad..”

“That’s because she’s been, with me. We’ve seen him in that place, forgetting who he was. Forgetting me and her. You keep living your lives and living through your cell phones. We got in that car every damned day and visit my brother. When’s the last time you visited your uncle, Millie?”

She halted guilt plain on her face.

“Did you even stay five minutes after unpacking his things into that box of a room?” He demanded of his son. “No. You didn’t you were too busy. I’m old not dead. You won’t put me in a box until it’s my coffin, so don’t try convincing me with pamphlets. And don’t you dare talk about it at my brother’s wake. I’ve seen the hell he lived in, sitting by the phone as if it were his only line to life. Did any of you call him? Did you wait until it was too late and cry that you had meant to do more? Oh you’d planned to visit if only he hadn’t up and died before you had the time?”

He stared at the shamed faces of his family. Not one dared to meet his eye, even the slimy toad was flushed red at his part in the tragedy that was his brother’s final days.

Abigail stood in the doorway stone faced, her tears long since cried out. He nodded to her and leaned heavily on his cane. “That said, it’s been a horrible afternoon. And just so you know I will not be signing up for a stay at any retirement home/village/or any such nonsense. I’ll die at home or in a hospital and without the tender care of any assistance workers. You will excuse me now. I’ve just lost my brother and my family’s trying to sweep me under the carpet, I think I deserve a drink.”

He grabbed the whiskey glass from the table next to his son. It was the good stuff. He drank it in one swift gulp and wiped his lips on the sleeve of his suit.

“Come Abigail. Someone sober needs to drive me home.”

Daily Prompt – Places

Daily Prompt: Places.

Beach, mountain, forest, or somewhere else entirely?

Terry really, really didn’t want to open his eyes. He knew, deep in his bones, knew, it was a bad idea. With a groan of realization he cracked his left eye. As he had feared he was not at home. He was supposed to be at home. His wife was expecting him at home, and if the sun was telling the truth he was very, very late in getting home. He groaned again and let his eye close.

He was not at home. And he was definitely in trouble.

And his head hurt, and his mouth felt like something died in it.

Yes he was hung over. His wife might very well skin him for this. She was having a dinner party last night and he’d blown it. He thinks. Last night’s mostly a blur that hurts to think about. He shifts and something rustles under him. Did he see the sun when he opened his eye? Yes definite red glow filtering through, and there was a dampness soaking through his shirt that he knew wasn’t from some hotel or a friends couch. So he was probably outside.

Outside was bad. Outside meant a lot more places he could be with the possibility of not having civilization around to get him aspirin. A very manly whine may have escaped at the thought of waking up without aspirin. All the same his shirt was uncomfortably wet and the red haze was sharp and demanding. He rolled so the sun hit his back. All he accomplished was a sharp pain on his ribs that had him yelping and sitting up much too fast.

He found himself relieved of last night’s meal. Huh, looks like he made it to the dinner party then. So how had he ended up outside. In a forest if the pinecone he’d damaged his ribs on was anything to go on. He squinted through the pain and found himself staring at the damp bark of a pine tree. Which he decided made sense what with the pinecone of doom that had attacked him.

He managed to lean onto the tree’s trunk and may have fallen asleep. It was a stupidly loud bird call that made him groan awake once more, this time his pants annoyingly wet as well as his shirt. He really couldn’t get a break. With a sigh and more than a little help balancing from his friend the pine tree he managed to stand up.

For the first time he really looked around and was surprised that he was not in a forest. Sure there were pinecones and pine needles and even his very own pine tree to rest against but beyond that, nothing but a Martian landscape of red hills and dirt. He shook his head and winced. He was mostly certain he was not on Mars. Why and how would he be on Mars? He was at his wife’s dinner party last night, at some point.

He took a worried step forward and his foot hit the Pinecone of Doom which slid out from under him and sent him falling back onto his trust friend the pine tree. He looked between the pine tree, and look behind him more sparsely spread out pine trees, then out to the Martian landscape. Not the dirt of the red planet he assured himself. Red clay. Georgia. That’s right his wife’s dinner party was his wife’s mothers dinner party. He had been out with his wife’s brother and his friend, they had gotten to the party and that last glass of wine had turned into a whiskey then … He wasn’t certain what happened after that, something about baiting the crew.

What crew he wasn’t sure. But it had sounded like a wonderful plan at the time. He scanned all around, he couldn’t see a house. Just red clay a couple pine trees and more red clay. God his head hurt. He contemplated sleeping again but everything just ached. He wanted a shower and about ten aspirin. Also to punch his brother-in-law … yea punching him sounded pretty good right about now.

He scanned some more and saw a glint of .. something off by one of the large hills of clay. Gathering himself up he managed a few steps. Then a few more, soon he was walking like he’d done it his whole life. Albeit with his hand pressed to his head and his eyes barely open. The sun was too damned bright in the south.

Cresting the hill was difficult, his feet kept sticking in the clay then sliding where it formed a slick mud coating. His hands were filthy and he couldn’t wipe the gunk off of him even as it dried forming a second orange skin complete with cracks over his knuckles that mimicked the wrinkles in his hands perfectly. Finally he made it to the hill top and was surprised at what he saw. The glint that had drawn him was metal. Big yellow metal construction tractors. Several of them silent in the afternoon sun. He was at a construction site. In Georgia. Somewhere near his wife’s mother’s house. And it was Sunday. No one would come today and send him in the right direction. He pressed his fingers to his eyelids and immediately regretted it as the clay crumbled slightly leaving dust in his eyes when he opened them.

He grunted and looked about. He could see much more from his new vantage point. The tree’s where he’d been asleep, the machines dotted around the construction site and more tree’s, on the other side. He stood staring for a minute and could honestly not decide which way he should go, but it seemed a shame to backtrack to the trees he had left earlier, not to mention the Pinecone of Doom would probably kill him if he returned.

He started carefully down the clay hill and was shocked at how quickly the trees were gone from his site. If he had woken here, he may well have believed in aliens. Giant metal yellow aliens though, he could still see the large trucks with their claws to shape the earth. He started up the next hill and stopped.

He heard something, something shrill. Something pissed off and worried. He smiled, he would call back but he was certain that was a very bad idea given the state of his head. Instead he hurried back down the hill and followed the call as best he could. Minutes later he was climbing up another crumbling yet damp clay hill, and really why was Georgia earth so determined to contradict itself he was not certain. He managed to clear the top and smiled at the sight he managed through his squinted eyes. A shame faced brother-in-law with a clear red handprint on his cheek and a worried wife calling incessantly for him to stop fooling around. He raised his hand to wave and miss-stepped. He yelped as he slid down the clay hill, dirt and rocks slidding up under his shirt, one rock gouging a line all the way to his shoulderblade before wedging itself in tight, his left shoe filling with loose powdery dirt that had dried on top while his sock cuff managed to slick up with wet clay from underneath the dry. He lay still at the bottom of the hill for a moment eyes shut and really, did he want to open them again? He wasn’t certain.

Then there was a cool hand on his brow and another on his cheek. Soft words, that didn’t hurt his head. He smiled softly. His wife. He frowned. That meant his wife’s brother was there. All this was his fault. In a snap he managed to open his eyes stand up and plant a mean right hook on the brother-in-laws jaw.

He may have yelled something about pinecones. But he wasn’t sure. He was certain that he’d have to try again when he wasn’t so hungover, the brother-in-law had barely rocked back. Although he was grinning like a fool and patting his shoulder. He decided he would wait until the headache had passed. He may have whined about needing aspirin. He really didn’t care though. His wife’s hand was on his back her soft voice scolding her brother made him smirk as they carefully negotiated the construction site and headed back to showers, and beds, and aspirin.

He really needed an aspirin.

Daily Prompt – Send a message to the Future

Daily Prompt: Back to the Future.

A service has been invented through which you can send messages to people in the future. To whom would you send something, and what would you write?

It had happened a couple months ago, a breakthrough in science they told us, a way to electronically send a message to the future. Even detailed delivery was available, to a specific person, to arrive at a specific moment, in fact it seemed the more specific the easier it was to ensure deliver. There were awed silences, parties among the theoretical physicists who had worked their whole lives on such a thing. Some denounced it as heresy. I didn’t really care all that much about it. I couldn’t see how it affected me at all. In fact I found I didn’t think I would ever use it.

I have always kept a diary. Not always diligently, and not always with beautiful prose or a pretty binding. Nonetheless I find myself writing my thoughts and feelings, my passions and fears, my own little self-help book and personal history. Occasionally I find myself leafing through the pages of one of my varied diaries, smirking at myself when it seems I’ve written while completely drunk, sometimes visiting a particular time to help myself come to terms with who I am and who I was when I had written those entries.

It was while jotting down a note my roommate of several years came into the kitchen while brushing her teeth with a curious look on her face. She spat the froth from her mouth into the sink, causing me to grimace.

“I’m going to the expo tomorrow.” She said. “You’re coming with me.” She turned and left without even rinsing the sink out.

So the next day, against my better judgment I ended up at the expo and pulled around from new exciting breakthrough to new exciting breakthrough really just wishing for the weekend to end so I could get back to work. I wondered if that made me a sad person, everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves. My roommate eventually went to the long line of people excited to try out the newest and most exciting breakthrough and send their messages to the future. I ended up bringing her a flat fried tortilla that apparently had enough nutrients to feed a person for a week and tasted of pizza. She ate it in about ten minutes.

We grew closer and closer to the front of the line and she was so excited to send her message that I couldn’t deny her by trying to drag us out, even though I wanted to be in bed and the trains stopped in half an hour. Finally we arrived and she grinned like a school girl, leaned forward and whispered to the machine. The screen lit up and she apparently liked what she saw and hit a too large red button sending the message off to the future.

I rolled my eyes and she hurried off the platform. There was no need to rush away from the expo now. Neither of us could afford a taxi back home, even pooling our money, and the trains wouldn’t fun until 7 the next morning. With a sigh we did what we always did in these situations, and what did that say about us that we had such things planned already, we went up a floor and looked for an unused meeting room. Then we hid ourselves behind the meeting table and using our coats as blankets and our arms as pillows curled up to sleep, making sure our expo passes were secured and our bags safely tucked between us.

We were up hours later with no need to rush to the train. It was Sunday the last day of the expo. Many of the tables were shutting down and packing up, most of the freebies had been given away. Some of the stalls were discounting their merchandise but by this time most of the expo goers had run out of money or run out of space in their bags. The line to the message sender was dwindling. It was sort of poetic. Three days and it had lost its sparkle. Sure it had been out for a couple months but three days at this expo and no one seemed so excited they’d wait for the hours we’d waited just yesterday. This fad, it seemed, would be like so many before it the most amazing thing ever until the next one when it would fade into obscurity. I must have looked whistful though because my roommate hooked her arm through mine and marched me over to the line.

“Your turn.” She demanded, the hard line of her jaw telling me I wasn’t getting out of this.

So there I stood in a line that would take bare minutes and I was told I was sending a message to the future, who would I send it to, myself? Perhaps. What on earth could I put in it? I didn’t know then I was standing looking at the screen it’s blank page staring at me, the cursor winking as though it were bored waiting for my instructions. Leaning forward I whispered into the microphone, much as my friend had done yesterday and pressed the red button, barely bothering to read the print out.

Satisfied my roommate let us leave and my back thanked her. Sleeping on the floor puts me all out of whack. I’m not as young as I once was. It takes us two hours once we board the train to get to the station find the car and drive the rest of the way home. I cook a meal for myself and my roommate groans at the scent, apparently the tortilla also keeps you full for a week, which should be impossible, but then again there are so many things that used to be impossible that aren’t anymore, why freak out about one more?

I stir the pot of spaghetti once more before deciding it’s done and plate up. My roommate yelps from the living room and I come running, pot still in hand.

“What?” I demand, brandishing the dirty wooden spoon like a weapon.

“I just got all tingly.” She yelped again and walked away from the couch. There was a sudden drop in temperature and we looked at each other with wide eyes.

“If you summoned a demon .. “ I threatened.

“Right, right, it’s my problem to clean up and you’re using me as fodder to escape. You’ve told me before.” She rolled her eyes. The couch seemed to pulse and writhe while remaining statuesque, which was terrifying and compelling, neither of us could look away from the phenomenon. And then there was a piece of paper on the floor, my roommates name boldly written in green letters.

Taking my spoon, and dripping red sauce on the floor she edged towards the paper and picked it up cautiously. She sniffed it. I have no idea why she sniffed it, I have a feeling she didn’t know either. With wide eyes she pulled it open and flinched.

Nothing happened.

She read from the paper and huffed.

Then giggled.

Then cleared her throat and read out loud.

“This could have been sent in an email, or if I wanted to take longer snail mail. Any message sent ends up in the future. I don’t understand why you made me miss my train for this.”

Grin and retrieved my spoon.

“You’re cleaning the floor.” I inform her and she chuckled.

“And you cheated.” She insisted.

It is six years until I find out what her message was. She was living across the country married to some musician while I was living not too far from our old apartment, not yet married, although there has been some interesting company I’ve been keeping. It’s not the first of these messages I’ve received. In fact I’ve got a special box that came out three years ago that keeps all the freaky moving not moving stuff from happening all over the room you are in. Instead it all happens in the box then the paper slides out as soon as you next pass it. The boxes are all over the place so you can get messages pretty much anywhere. I’ve received them at work and at the grocery store and even once while sitting on a park bench.

I pick up the paper and see the distinctive green ink. Missives almost always come in black or blue, red occasionally for business purposes. This green had really only ever been used in the very early days. Sitting on the couch, the same couch my roommate had been frightened out of years ago, I let my fingers ghost over the name, my name.

I sat there for several minutes then shook myself out of it. Unfolding the paper I can’t help but grin.

“I didn’t cheat.” It starts. “I bet you will.” And I had, I really had.

“You owe me dinner.” I must say that line confused me, for all of thirty seconds when my doorbell rang.

I practically leapt from the couch and flung the door open. There stood my old roommate, husband nowhere to be seen and bottle of wine in her hand.

“This was a much better message than yours.” She declared and thrust the bottle at me. “Where’s my dinner woman?” She demanded flopping onto the couch.

I spent maybe five minutes in the kitchen before bringing her a plate with a fried tortilla on it. “Spaghetti alright?” I indicate the plate and she picks up the tortilla and takes a nibble.

“Mmm. Just like old times.” And she turns on the teleview-screen happily munching while watching reruns of some awful soap opera we used to watch in college.

I wrote in my diary and when I’d finished tucked it away in its record box. It scans each time saving the progress, all my journals are stored in there. It has an auto link to my personal net. When I die it send everything in it forward two years, to whoever’s name I last told it. Right now that’s still my roommate, my best friend, and if she’s gone too, it’s to her oldest child. It’s a little morbid but at the same time, I’m certain my story and hers will be seen by those it matters to, and maybe they will get some laughs, and see who we really were at certain times in our lives. Maybe they’ll watch through us as impossible things became normal and they can wonder at what they will see become normal.

My best friend throws the remote at me.

“Bored,” she declares grinning.

I roll my eyes at her, and wonder if it will ever stop being entertaining.

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