Unwanted Gifts

Roberta hurried out of the front door in her husband’s slippers and shawl. Neither were adequate protection for the occurring downpour, but she marched down the street anyway. One of Roberta’s elderly neighbours was hobbling along the pavement some distance away.  Roberta always forgets her name; the street she lives on is friendly but not that friendly. The old lady started to cross the road, but her foot skidded on a stray piece of gravel as she stepped off the pavement. Roberta, however, was ready to save the day, and roughly grasped Bridget (The name dislodged itself from somewhere in Roberta’s memory) by her upper arm and pulled her up before she could fall onto the road.

Some five seconds later, a silver Toyota dashed around the corner, narrowly missing the kerb.

“Oh!” exclaimed Bridget. She stood for a second in silence, clearly contemplating what could have happened if Roberta had not been there. “How lucky you were here, R-“

“Bridget, we should get you out of the rain!” interrupted Roberta, through gritted teeth. Her slippers are already sodden.

After escorting Bridget to her front door, Roberta returned home and dried off. She made a milky cup of tea and began to confide in Fudge, her placid tabby cat.

“Oh, so lucky you were here, Roberta!” she imitated, with a dollop of sarcasm. “Yeah, lucky for you, you old bint. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday, and if Dave’s slippers don’t come out of the tumble dryer alright, I’m done for.”

Roberta’s in depth chats with Fudge only started when she started having the visions. The cat wouldn’t think she was crazy, and most importantly, the cat couldn’t tell anyone else that Roberta had gone off her rocker and thought she could see the future. Fudge yawned and stretched across the settee on the opposite side of the living room to the Roberta.

“Okay, Fudge, I know. Dave deserves to have his slippers ruined, the cheating bastard. Though, he might not have cheated on me yet, and we know that we can change what’s in the visions or Bridget would have met her maker this afternoon. So maybe he won’t cheat on me. The vision of him and his ex-wife could be completely out of context?”

In response to this, Fudge stared glassily out of the window.

“Or maybe I’m in complete denial,” Roberta sighed.

 

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Sunday Photo Fiction – Living Tarmac

142 02 February 7th 2016

Copyright – Al Forbes

A piece for Sunday Photo Fiction.

A strange dust began pervading the air above the roads, accompanied by an oily scent. Over the course of some months, the haze became dense and unbreathable. When the newspapers told us the air could be cancerous, our family of four packed our things.

As the dust was presumed to be a result of urban activity, we went to live with my grandmother and her dog, who resided in a remote village. The lack of mobile signal made it difficult to know how my friends were doing, and there was nothing in the news besides the health warnings we already knew.

One wet morning, three weeks after we had moved, I was walking the dog in the nearby woodland. I noticed an odd smell. Lots of trees seem to have fallen over, even though the storm the night before had been mild. After climbing over the wreckage, I saw the cause.

An irregular strip of tarmac stretching as far as the eye could see, fingers of asphalt forking away like growing branches.

The Metal Infector

57 04 April 27th 2014

Copyright- Al Forbes

Please check out the main page of Sunday Photo Fiction to check out more stories and to read instructions on how to submit your own.

The Great Metal Infection of 2052 actually began in 2050. Biologists who studied the microflora of the Amazon River had trouble identifying a certain strain of bacteria in one of their samples. These bacteria had a highly unusual cell structure, and despite genetic testing, they could not say what the strain had evolved from, or discover its closest relative.

After a short period of time, the biologists began to notice something odd about their tools. Overnight, anything made of metal that was exposed to these bacteria, even the implements they had supposedly sterilised, began to warp out of shape, and odd protrusions would appear. Closer inspections revealed that the bacteria had managed to burrow into the metal and multiply within little surface nodes.

Their hottest incinerator seemed to deal with the affected instruments, but the laboratory couldn’t contain the infection. Within two years, there was devastation. Luckily, the same biologists also discovered the organisms’ aversion to gold, silver, copper, and titanium. The resulting production of alloys which are resistant to “metal rot” allowed humanity can carry on as it once did.

Which is a shame, really.

Friday Fictioneers – The Worst Ride Of His Life

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Copyright – Jennifer Pendergast

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His car was gone. He had no other option, Oliver thought. This was an emergency.

Outside the compound was Bertie, the twenty foot long honey bee they had accidentally created when trying to produce a more resistant species.  As ominous as Bertie appeared, he was actually harmless. His sting had been removed, and most of the time he wandered placidly around the enclosure.

Oliver snapped Bertie’s restraints, took a deep breath and leapt onto Bertie’s back. Bertie, startled, immediately launched into the air with Oliver desperately clutching his fur.

Oliver had a sudden thought; how was he going to steer this thing?