Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Bitter End

[This was written for - where stories are limited to 1024 characters]

When galaxies cross paths, stars rarely collide, astronomers say. But we were not warned about the collateral damage.

The city street is full of people, women, men, children, wanderers. No one smiles. No child laughs. All are joyless. Without hope. Doomed.

The twin stars shine down without mercy. The Sun. Our Sun which has nurtured our species and fostered all life on our beautiful planet, over millennia. And then there is Giselle

Giselle! A tiny star of beauty from the Andromeda Galaxy which for hundreds of thousands of years has been merging with our Milky Way. We were told Giselle was not dangerous – she was not on a collision course with our Sun. They spoke the truth. What they did not mention (at first) was that Giselle would be captured into a highly elliptical orbit around our star. Our Sun. A cosmic ballet began.

That was 5,435 years ago.

And in 17 years, 42 days, 21 hours and 58 minutes Giselle will finally cross the path of, and utterly consume our Earth.

All are joyless. Without hope. Doomed…

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Just Don't Do This, OK?

[This was written for - where stories are limited to 1024 characters]

Einstein always said that space was curved. Well, all right then. With the help of a little basic quantum physics (is there any other kind?), I built my new house into the fourth spacial dimension.

I now stand in the hallway that runs through my house, and find myself staring at my own back, fifty feet away. So I pursue, er, me. Breaking into a brisk trot I cannot catch up to me. Darn, but I run nice!
Stop! Turn around! Again! AGAIN! No matter how fast I turn, I am still staring at my own back.

I roll a ball towards me. Helpfully, I spread my legs wide, and I do the same. I can see the ball going cleanly between my legs, as a ball rolls gently through mine.

Damn it, I want to see my face!

An IDEA! Grabbing a small mirror, I lift it up and over me, so that I can see the smug face of me behind me.

There are some things that can snap one’s sanity like a twig.

In the elevated mirror I could now see an unbroken line of me’s, stretching out to infinity, all with a look of instant overwhelming terror…

* * *

Prompted by Anonymous, I'll add that this tiny story is inspired by Robert Heinlein's very fine short story 'And He Built a Crooked House'. I had made this attribution on the Ficly version, but forgot to add it here. Naughty me. ;-)


[This was written for - where stories are limited to 1024 characters] 

Major Peter Burns finished his spacewalk, and holding onto a rail, unhooked his tether.

It was so unfair – at that moment there was a flash of light as a smiling crew member took his photo through a nearby port. Surprised, Peter jerked up, and his helmet hit a strut. He recoiled, losing his grip.
To his dismay, he was now four feet from the grip and drifting away.

But he was already dead, Peter knew. Four feet was no closer now than four thousand feet, or four thousand miles and the vast sphere of the Earth waited patiently behind him.

* * *
Becky leaned on the fence. Her dad, Joe, leaned next to her and they studied the night sky. They’d seen five in the last hour and were keen for more.

A streak of light started in the west, suddenly flared and smoothly spanned the sky before guttering towards the east a few seconds later.

“Wow! That’s the best one all night!”

Becky pondered.

“Daddy? What are shooting stars made of?”

Joe smiled, happy to impart fatherly knowledge.

“Oh, rocks I guess, Honey.”