Wheel #ThreeLineTales

three line tales, week 100: a ferris wheel in Paris with soldiers patrolling

Wheel had been watching over the city since the terrorist attack of 2038. Everyone believed it was for their own safety because that was the lie they had been feed. I though, knew something more sinister lay underneath and I was determined to find out what it was.

(Inspire by; https://only100words.xyz/2017/12/28/three-line-tales-week-100 with thanks).

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When You Are Alone At Home

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I hated being all by myself at home. It was too quiet and there never seemed to be anything to do. Most people would like that, I guess. They’d see it as a chance to do those odd jobs or hobbies or watch TV which they couldn’t do when parents and kids were around. Yes, I could do all that, but I didn’t feel in the mood for any of it.

Maybe it was the lack of motivation? The pressure that I must do something! I had the space, the time, the chances, so yes, I must do some kind of activity which I couldn’t do other wise.

Nothing was coming to my mind though. I listened to the ticking of the kitchen clock, the dripping of the rain outside and the cat purring around my legs. I put the TV on, but only for background noise and just to hear voices so I wouldn’t be lonely.

I wondered if this was how it was when you got old and housebound. Would I just watch TV all day and doze? Would I reflect on my past and wonder what the rest of my future would be like?

I hope I’d lived a good past.

The cat jumped up and snuggled into my lap. We’re not friends, but with my parents gone for a few days, she was attention seeking. I petted her and listened to her purring more loudly.

I’ve have to get a cat when I was old and stuck inside. It would have to be a nice cat though. One who’d sit in my lap all the time and not be so wild. An indoor cat. Maybe, one of those with a really long coat and bright blue eyes. I hope I’ll be able to brush it though….

I channel flicked, but didn’t find anything worth watching. A nagging voice in my head told me to do something. ANYTHING!

Picking the cat up, I placed her on the floor. Disgruntled, she looked at me then trotted off. I went into the kitchen, though I was hungry and began looking around. Finally, I decided to do some baking.

I wasn’t that good to be honest, but at least it would kill time until the evening. Then there’d be soaps on and quiz shows and murder mystery dramas. I could get snacks and chill out, maybe the cat would come to me again?

I pulled one of my favourite cooking books off the shelf and flipped through it. What could I make? Something simple, easy and tasty. Cake? Cupcakes? Yes, that would do…chocolate cupcakes!

I set to work and found my mind better now it had something to focus on.

Job

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If Sophie was being truly honest with herself, the new job was never something she’d really thought about doing. Now, sitting at the reception desk, she cast her mind back and mapped how she had ended up here.

University had promised so much. The new friends, the new skills, the experience of adulthood and when she had left, she had thought herself walking up to employers and waving her degree in their faces. They’d hire her on the spot!

That though hadn’t happened and in the months after graduating, Sophie recalled how she had felt so lost. Sighing, she let her thoughts linger on those two years when she felt like an outcast. Her friends had all moved away and gotten jobs, cars, some had even married and had babies. She, however had been alone and stuck at home.

Volunteering had been a calling she had often answered. Sophie remembered how she had turned to that again. Finding places and people that needed her help. It had been a delighted feeling but her degree had begun to get dusty. Somehow, she had been offered a job out of the blue from one of those places. Even though it was only in the morning for half the week, it had been welcome money.

Then everything had gone down hill. Her boyfriend broke up with her, the support money she had been receiving was cut and her mum got ill. Sophie felt tears growing, she swept them away and stared hard at the computer screen. Last year, had been bad and she wished she could just erase it from history. She pictured taking a calendar and a black marker pen and just going through and blanking all the months out.

Perhaps, though it wouldn’t really matter. The past was the past and she couldn’t get rid of it. But she could just turn away from it and move on. Sophie smiled at that thought and looked around herself. Today it was quiet in the centre and the heater was blowing hot air on her face. She looked down at the contract of employment she had just sighed and even though she had re-read it a few times, she flipped through the pages again.

On the second page, it clearly outlined her dates and times of employment.

A full time job,  she thought, though I totally didn’t think I was ever going to end up here! I made it somehow and now it’s time to embrace that and start living to the full again. 

The Underneath

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The bones lay long lost and forgotten. Nothing more then bricks the world had used to built upon. Who were they that had laid down their lives for this lie of a promised land? Soon though, we would join them and become the foundation for a failing world.

Travel Book

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I want to take you away with me. Not just in your imagination but in your heart and soul too. I want to take you to lands that don’t existed and perhaps they never did and lands that will existed in the future, but even your children will never know them. There’s no need to be afraid or to pack your suitcases, in fact all you need is a comfy seat and some light.

I want you to meet people who have never been and yet always have been. They will tell you stories you won’t believe and take you on adventures which will always stay with you. I want you to feel every emotion to the core of your being and know that your tears are not wasted. For each bout of sadness keeps our heroes and heroine live for longer.

I want you to remember that even as you close the covers, the end doesn’t happen. You can visit these places and those people as many times as you like. For they are always going to be with us because they and their stories have been immortalized.

So what are you wanting for? Go and pick up a book right now and travel where ever it takes you too.

Savers

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Gracie walked passed the still robots, eyeing then worriedly. Their huge sliver figures stood off to the side in every public building and street.They were always watching and to Gracie, silently judging. Red, green and blue lights some times flashed on their heads or bodies for seemingly no reason. Then there was the bleeping, whirling and soft wailing sounds that they admitted.

Of course, everyone knew they were for protection against the Terrorists, but no one liked to speak about them. She got onto the train into a middle carriage were there was unlikely to be one standing between the seats. Above her a poster called the robots The Savers Of Earth!

Sitting down, she looked out the windows and wondered what the world was coming too.

Written In The Palm

I was too old to believe the stories now, but still going passed Old Weezie’s run-down shack I couldn’t help but pause. A dusty pathway lead across the bare ground to the unpainted single floor wooden house. Snow was falling heavily on to the tinned roof and dropping all around me. I shook my pink umbrella and looked at the broken steps leading up to the unsafe porch where an old rocking chair sit before a slightly ajar door. Two curtained, but empty large windows flanked the door, staring slightlessly out.

Glancing around the street, I saw no one else though I could hear a radio tinkling out music. All the other houses looked new with their bright red bricks and black slate roofs. A few cars were parked on driveways before gargare doors whilst a few others were parked next to the curb. Christmas lights, trees and decorations sat in windows, around them or outside. I noted a large white snowman on one roof and two fiberglass reindeers looking startled in a nearby garden.

I was torn; Should I carry on or go and see if she was okay? I didn’t know if her door was ajar like that all the time. Breathing deeply and knowing it was seasonal to be neighborly, I started walking up the path. The voices of childhood echoed around me, making me recall the stories about Old Weezie. They said she had been reading palms for a hundred years and could see every bodies future in her crystal ball. She had a third eye on her forehead and witches blood flowing in her crooked veins.

I reached the porch and went up, keeping close to the side. The old wooden boards creaked loudly under me, giving out a warning of my approach. I paused and tried to peer inside, but the door wasn’t open enough. I put down my umbrella, shaking out the snow and thought the one story that had always scared me the most. Old Weezie capturing animals and at midnight killing them and removing their insides. She would read the organs and predicate the births and deaths of people before eating them.

I shivered then knocked on the door. It swung in and I had to poke my head inside and call out. My voice echoed and shortly after a tried, old wheezy voice called out for me to enter. The word no almost forced itself out of me, but my feet had already moved inside. The hallway was dark, but there was a light coming from the door to my right. I knocked on it and the same voice asked me to enter again.

I eased the door open and entered a heavily scented crowed room. Everywhere I looked was an interesting object jammed against normal looking bric-a-brac and other weird things. My eyes focused on a small table and two chairs in the middle of the room. In one of the chairs a small woman was at propped up on a pile of cushions. Her long white hair was in a bun and her face was wrinkled so much it was hard to make out any features.

‘Sit down and I shall tell you what you wish to know,’ Old Weezie stated.

‘I just came to see if you were alright. Your front door was open and it’s freezing outside. It’s just being to snow again. I should go, I’m late for work,’ I rambled off.

She smiled and pointed at the chair, ‘I can see you wish to know so much.’

I tightened my lips together and thought about running.

‘My lowest price and fastest reading for you…let me see your palm.’

‘It won’t hurt, right?’

She laughed, a low struggling sound that was almost like a dying trumpet.

I walked over and sat down, now feeling it would be too rude just to leave. She named her price and I paid, watching her squirrel the note away. She held out her right hand and I placed left hand down into it. I felt a small wave of cold then her other fingers were tracing along the lines of my palm.

‘You’ll lead a long and good life,’ her voice rang out, ‘you’ll get married twice and have only one child. The first marriage will be short and ending in tragedy, but the second marriage will be to your soulmate.’

I looked down at our hands, my thoughts whirling, how true was any of this?

‘You will be happy, but your health will be bad for a time,’ she continued, ‘I see you getting better though and having grandchildren. You’ll work hard for a time, but then find that it’s all paid off. You are confident, but need a little bit more trust in yourself.’

She let go of my hand, that smile still fixed to her face.

‘That’s it?’ I questioned.

‘Yes. Unless you wanted a more detail reading? That’ll cost you twice as much.’

‘I’m fine, thanks.’

I looked down at the lines crisscrossing my palm, her words repeating in my ears.

‘You’ll be let for work,’ she stated.

‘Yes, yes. I should go. Thank you.’

I stood up and left, closing the door behind me then trying to put the front door back into place. It wouldn’t quite fit and I was forced to leave it. I walked away and hurried to work, thinking over things till it all became stuck in my head. Deep down, I knew only time would tell if she had seen my future, but I couldn’t help but think that maybe some of those childhood stories had been right about Old Weezie.

 

The Elite

For the past few months, Sora had felt guilty. Pushing her half-eaten porridge away and getting up from the stool, she left the morning meal bar and walked over to one of the circler front windows. Behind her, the voices of her parents and the whirling of machines whispered softly. Sora hugged herself, desperately wanting comfort and an escape from the guilt. It was new to her this nagging feeling and she wasn’t doing well at hiding it or the other feelings the guilt brought on.

‘I’m not feeling well. I’m going back to bed,’ she called over her shoulder then fled to her room.

The voices of her parents and their breakfast clattering rose behind her, but she shut it out with her bedroom door. Laying on her messed up bed, she looked up at the solar system projected on her ceiling, whose light glowed gently down. Her parents thought she was too old for it now, but Sora found tranquillity in the ever moving planets, stars and asteroids. Snuggling into the large pillows and pulling a microfleece blanket half over her, Sora shut her eyes and tried not to sink lower into the guilt.

She heard her parents leave, no doubt believing that because she was nearly an adult she could take care of herself. She wondered what their schedules were like today. Maybe her mother would go to the saloon and get her hair and nails done, then she might visit some friends and go shopping. Her father would make his normal mid-week tour of his business, have lunch with some business partners, then go to the gym or to play golf. It was all too predictable.

Sora put a decorative cushion on her face and breathed in the faint traces of synthetic vanilla. A light tapping, almost made her remove the cushion, but her arm flopped to the side instead. The door opened silently and soft footsteps entered. Sora knew who it was instantly, the android housekeeper, who’s soul function was to clean and cook.

‘Can I tidy in here, please?’ a female like voice asked.

‘No. I’m sleeping,’ Sora answered and tried to stay still.

‘But won’t you be late for lessons?’

‘I’m not feeling well,’ Sora counted back already getting bored with the questions.

‘Shall I get the Doctor?’ the android questioned.

Sora pulled the cushion off her face and half sit up, ‘I found out something,’ she started, ‘something I don’t think I should know and I don’t know who to talk to about it.’

The housekeeper didn’t move and continued to stare at her with lifeless eyes. From a distance any android could pass off as human, but up close they just looked like good imitations. Sora didn’t really know or care, how much the androids understood human emotions or if they even knew the differences between them.

‘I read this old book and I found out that once there were different societies of people and they could be divided into a number of categories, but most of the time they’d be divided into how much money they had,’ Sora paused and tried to judge the android’s reaction to this, but of course it didn’t have one.

‘There were three classes of people; rich, middle and poor. The rich have everything and got to do little work, just like how we all live now. The middle classes had to work, but they had comfortable lives and could have most things they wanted. The poor class, well, they had nothing or very little. They lives were all about surviving and not much else. Can you understand that?’

‘No,’ the housekeeper replied, ‘shall I get the Sympathiser? I have not been programmed to connect with humans on this level.’

Sora shook her head, ‘nor has he, it, look it doesn’t matter. Just clean,’ she waved her hand then got up and left.

In the lounge, she turned on the InterFace and giving into the whims she looked up more about the different classes and what had happened to the population. Oddly, all the information she could want was easy enough to access, though she doubted it should be so. The 2101 Freedom Information Act had seen to that and what Sora found made her feel guiltier then before.

When her parents came home and they sat to have the evening meal, Sora told them everything she had discovered and watched their expressions closely. However, if her words affected them in any way they kept it hidden and they seemed non-interested in the matter.

‘Don’t you get it?’ Sora pressed.

‘Yes, of course,’ her mother snapped.

‘It had to be done,’ her father answered solemnly and nodding at his half-eaten steak.

‘Don’t you think it’s wrong? Who decided it was okay to wipe out most of the population? And how did they decided who to keep?’ Sora demanded.

‘Didn’t you find that out?’ came a delayed response from her father.

‘Somewhat. But no real names. I just…I…’ Sora trailed off and looked down at her hands folded into her lap.

‘It doesn’t matter. You can’t change it,’ her mother cut in, ‘if it hadn’t of happened you might not have been born and we wouldn’t have be living like this.’

‘The world was too pollute, we were the cause and we were going to die out,’ her father clarified, ‘so the Tops got together and thus decided only the most important genes could stay in the pool.’

‘And everyone else?’ Sora spit.

‘Scarified to save the human race,’ her father explained, ‘it had to be done. Now, let’s not have any more of this and just enjoy the evening.’

‘I’m not hungry,’ Sora pushed her plate away and got up.

She went to her room and curled up on her bed. Above her the solar system glowed and a comet shot across the inky blackness, Sora let her thoughts go with it.

The Letter

A framed picture tumbled from the mantle and crashed on the floor as I jumped onto the sofa. Freezing amongst the cushions and sofa throw, I stared at the mess from a spread-eagle position. I struggled up, dropping the TV remote at the same time. Tutting, I picked that up and placed it on the arm of the sofa, before crossing the living room floor to the fireplace.

I arranged my dark grey jog bottom like PJ pants and the too big t-shirt as I came to a stop. Being careful because my bare feet, I bent and picked up the picture. Glass tinkled and a few small shards fell out. The wooden frame had broken, which had caused the back panel to come loose and allowed me to easily take it apart.

I slide the photograph out and looked into the faces of my parents. It was their wedding day and they were leaving the church after saying their vows. I smiled, noticing how dashing my dad looked in his full suit, whilst my mum looked so young and pretty dressed in a simple white satin and lace gown.

My parents were currently away for the weekend, having won a trip to Paris from entering a TV competition. So, I was home alone, which was great, beside from having to promise not to have a party or anyone sleep over. It was either that or going to stay with Aunty Nora and there was no way in anyone’s right mind that they would want to do that!

Placing the photo beside the TV remote, I suddenly remembered the reason why I had come into the living room. Swearing, I grabbed the remote and turned the TV on. There was an electric buzz, a flash of blue then a re-run of Baywatch appeared on the screen. My fingers stalled and my eyes popped as I saw Pamela Anderson running across a beach in just a swim suit and blonde hair flying everyway.

I dropped my hand and tried to re-arrange myself, but that only made me harder. Growling, I turned the channel the over and watched a cowboy documentary whilst the urges subsided. Then I got the TV guide up and looked for the movie I had planned to watch.  Seconds later, Batman Forever filled the screen and I become torn between watching it and tidying up. Making up my mind, I picked up the frame again and went to throw it in the kitchen bin on the way to getting a brush for the glass, but a yellow rectangle shape caught my eyes and I stopped.

There was an envelope that had been neatly slotted in-between the photo and back panel. I pulled it out and balance it onto of the photo. Shrugging and guessed it was some letter to the happy couple that mum had kept, I went into the kitchen, put the frame in the bin and grabbed a brush and dustpan from the corner. Heading back, I shook the rug out before sweeping the glass up. I hurried back into the kitchen with it and tossing it in the bin, reminded myself that I had to tell mum the photo had just fallen off the mantle.

Placing the brush and pan back, I raided the cupboards for a packet of already made sweet popcorn and grab a can of cola from the fridge. I ran back to the living room, threw myself on the sofa and watched the movie. It wasn’t until the third adverts that I remembered the photo and the letter. Sitting up, I pulled them both over and inspect the envelope. It was blank and the paper had yellowed with age.

I turned it over and found it still sealed. Frowning and guessing that there had been enough stick to seal it again after my parents had opened it, I slotted my nail under the flap and lifted it. Inside was a sheet of a crumbled white paper, which had slightly discoloured, but not as much as the envelope had. I pulled out the letter and unfolding it read;

Detroit, I know you are reading this right now.

 A ball of fear hit me and my hand holding the letter started shaking. This note was for me! But how was that possible? I flipped the paper over and at the bottom in a scrawling signature was;

 Detroit Stotle, 2095

 The handwriting looked too much like my own, though some of the letters were shaker and loopier. I turned the page back and quickly read down it. My breath caught a few times and my brain didn’t seem able to compare what my eyes were transmitting back to it. Questions plummeted through my mind faster than I could really put them together. I turned the letter over again to carry on reading and found that none of my questions were answered. In fact a line in the last paragraph suggested not to try and question anything, but just to trust and act.

I re-read the letter slower and took in the instructions. I had to phone my parents, tell them I was ill and to come home straight away. Then, I had to hang up before they had time to ask anything and wait for them to come home. If I didn’t and they returned on their planned journey through the Eurotunnel, I’d never seen them again.

‘Is this a joke?’ I spoke out aloud to an empty room and the flicking TV.

Pulling a face, I screwed up the letter into a ball and threw it into the fireplace, which wasn’t lit. Grumpily, I settled back on the sofa and watched the rest of the movie. Still though the words upon the page lingered in my mind and I couldn’t help, but think about them.

 I’m from the future, this is your future self telling you that you must change the next twenty-five hours. Only you can do this and only by reading on and trusting what I ask you to do.

 That’s what the second line had read and strangely, I could hear my voice, but a lot older whispering those words in my ear. Shaking my head and trying to get rid of the written words and the voice, I watched the credits roll, then went to the bathroom. After, I got myself another drink and made a sandwich. Taking them back into the living room, I spotted the wedding photograph and switching it out for the other things in my hands, I went and placed it back on the mantle, though it was no frameless.

Before I moved away, my eyes fell to inside the fireplace and the balled up letter. Swearing quietly, I pulled it out and went back to the sofa with it. I smoothed out the paper and looked at it closely. The words hadn’t changed and the letter was still commanding me to telephone my parents and get them to come home. The next section on read;

 I know this is hard for you to understand being fifteen years old in 2015, whilst I am currently ninety-five in 2095. But trust me you don’t want to spend your next twenty year plus without your parents. My life has been nothing but difficult and empty. I have no wife or child or any other family. That is the reason why I am reaching out to my past self. I believe you can change this and that will allow me, us, to have a better life.

 I glanced at the phone on the stand next to the TV, which was now playing adverts. Biting my lip, I got up and picked up the phone. I glanced at the letter again, than got up my mum’s mobile phone in the saved numbers menu. My finger flicked the call button a few times as my eyes darted from the phone to the letter. I twisted my wrist and looked at what was written on the other side again, it read;

 Afterwards, place this letter back in the envelope and keep it in a safe place. May I suggest your parent’s wedding album? Put it under the photograph that is the same as the one you have found this letter behind. This is so that when you are me, you will be reminded to find the letter again and place it where you have found it today. Thus, triggering your younger self, you reading this right now, to carry out the task.

 I can only hope that this works. Though if it does, I will never know the results, for my timeline will been altered. Please don’t delay or asked any more questions. Just be thankful there wasn’t a fire in the fireplace! Make that call now!         

Detroit Stotle, 2095

 I didn’t know what else to do.

I pressed call.     

Death Date

My eyes and brain took a few moments to register the 3d screened numbers before me: 28.10.2044. 10:08AM. I pushed myself up, the fleece blanket slipping slowly off my shoulders and my hands releasing their tight grip on the small teddy bear. Looking around my bedroom nervously, I expect to see someone in a black lab coat merge from a corner or knock on my door.

Nothing happened and my room looked the same: small white wardrobe, virtual table screen, image windows in which the sun was raising in all its orange glory, side table with all my medicines on it, the patchwork arm chair and the crystal mobile. Listening, I couldn’t hear anything, which was odd for this time of morning. My family should have been rushing about getting clean, dressing, eating, leaving for work and school.

Pulling the fleece away, I swung my legs over the bed and stood up. Cold air wrapped itself around me and slide up my favorite sleeping shorts and top. Seconds later, I felt warmness under my feet and the dull buzz of the heaters coming. I checked the date and time again and then, feeling a bit sick in the stomach checked the numbers tattooed on my wrist.

Everyone on Solria at birth received the numbers. They were selected by a Doctor Computer Generator and based on a range of biological and world facts. The eight digits represented a date and that date was your destined death time. And I had woken up on mine.

I wrapped the blanket around myself and went to the desk. I tapped it, waking up the screen embedded inside. An army of icons covered the table top and after staring at them, I selected photos. Images of the Halloween ball floated across the wall above the desk. I had gone as a mermaid, which some might have seen as an insult to mer-folk, but none of them had been at the party.

The smiling faces of my friends and family looked down on me before I closed the icon and went to my last listed Interweb searches. What to expect on your death day. How can I stop my death? Why must I die? How is a death date decided? Why is my death good for the world? I quickly inputted: My death day is today, but I’ve not died and searched it. No matched results, other than a handful of chat spaces and suggests of Do you mean…?

Signing, I clicked on the first link and noticed my fingers were shaking. I’d missed my first meds. Getting up and going across, I picked up the wooden box in which they were kept. It was empty. Placing it down, I dug out my emergency and travel boxes. The realization that no one had ordered or delivered more because of my death day hit me hard. Taking the pills I needed and downing some stimulated water from a bottle in my bag, I decided to get dressed.

If they were still going to come for me, I might as well by wearing day cloth. Opening my wardrobe, I pulled out a blue dress and matching underwear. I got changed, listening for voices or footsteps. I slipped on sandals and brushed my hair in the mirror. My skin was pale and sensitive because the blood disease. It also caused a large percentage of my veins to stand out and often makeup and clothes couldn’t keep them all hidden.

Leaving my bedroom, I walked through the house and found it empty. My parents and younger sisters were gone, but somehow I couldn’t make myself believe they were at school and work. I sat down at the kitchen table eating an apple and drinking water, reflecting on last night. We had the traditional life celebration day and done anything that I had wanted to do with my last twenty-four hours. I was forced into bed by exhaustion and that’s when they are meant to come with the killing injection.

The Interweb had told me all of this and more. My parents had been brief about it, but I hadn’t wanted to discuss it with them anyway. They had been lucky in getting the permission to have three children and they had been rewarded for having three girls in a time when that gene was down. My sisters were perfect, but for whatever reason, I had been born with the disorder and so they had shorted my life.

Finishing off my apple, I went to the front door and stepped outside. I was still expecting them to come for me. My street looked normal. Two opposite rows of small house with the road and pavement strips between. Cars were parked up, someone was walking their cloned dog, which had just spotted a cat rubbing itself against a pot plant. It was all completely normal, expect that I shouldn’t have been there.

Closing the door, I went to the phone and after a few moments of thinking dialed the services. An auto voice gave me a list which didn’t include or have anything similar to death day emergencies or services. Shrugging, I choice the last choice of Other and a ring tone started up. I had thought about trying to reach my parents, but if they thought I was already dead or else there’d been some kind of mistake, I didn’t want to put them through anything.

A dull voice answered and as I went to reply, it began listing off more numbered choices. Once again none of them seemed to fit my problem. I hung up and went back to bed. I was feeling tried and starting with aching limbs. Settling back down, I got the screen to play some classical music and wash the room in soft changing lights.

Dozing off, I told myself that something must have happened. Maybe this time I wouldn’t awake up or perhaps everything had been a dream?