Curse of the Rising Mummy

mummy ct scan

from Llvescience.com

The Eleventh Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series

It had been almost a week since Landon had first encountered The Mysterious Mummy, and in spite of the initial scare he had gotten, the eight-year-old’s visit to Cairo seemed more or less ordinary.

Okay, it wasn’t ordinary. He was visiting a foreign country for the first time in his life, and he was playing with Dr. Salib’s grandchildren Adjo, a nine-year-old boy, and Nuri, a seven-and-a-half-year-old girl.

They spoke only broken English, and Landon couldn’t speak Arabic at all, but they managed to communicate and have fun playing with each other.

They couldn’t play right now, though. They were at The Egyptian Archeological Institute in Cairo. Grandpa’s friend Dr. Salib was the Director of Archeology at the Institute. Adjo and Nuri were really proud of their Jaddi or Grandpa. He was so important. Landon started feeling a little jealous because his Grandpa didn’t have such a big, important job like that.

Maybe the kids couldn’t run around and play, but today was still an exciting day. Three days ago, the lid of the sarcophagus was removed, and today, Landon would get to see the Mummy!

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The Summoning

dragon

© A Mixed Bag

Raul’s aged uncle found the dragon toy in an obscure curio shop in Venice. His nephew Raul loved dragons, so he sent it to him as a present.

Sasha, Raul’s sister, brought in the mail after school. Raul saw the return address and took it to his room. If Step-Father saw it, he’d throw it away.

Sasha grabbed a snack and then took off to her friend Carla’s house, where she spent most of her time. She was fourteen and he was only ten.

Raul hid the dragon in the back of his closet with his other treasures.

Step-Father came home late and drunk. Raul had his homework done but burned the frozen pizza they were having for dinner, which earned him another beating.

Later, in bed, Raul was sobbing. In the closet, the dragon’s eyes glowed green.

Next morning, Raul woke up in a soft nest in an enormous tree house, being caressed by a golden dragon.

“Rest easy, my child, she cooed. I felt your need. You will never be hurt or neglected again.”

In the people world, Sasha came home near midnight to find her house on fire. Only Step-Dad’s remains were found in the ashes.

I wrote this in response to the Sunday Photo Fiction -February 19th 2017 challenge. Based on the photo prompt above, authors are to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. Mine is 199.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Cyrille

brave

Photo: Provided by Kristen Johnson / KTVB.com

“Cyrille, we always knew there was something a little different about you, but we didn’t think it was this.”

Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were sitting on the sofa in their living room confronting her. They were always kind, but a bit reserved. Cyrille had been renting a room from them for a little over a year. She was three months away from graduating with her bachelor’s in mechanical engineering.

“I promise that it doesn’t make any difference in our relationship. I’m still the same Cyrille who’s lived here for the past year.”

“Well, that’s the problem, Cyrille.” Mr. Johnston was like one of those sitcom Dad’s from the late 1950s, always playing the role of straight man to utter seriousness. “We don’t think we can continue to rent a room to you.”

“But why not?” Cyrille started to get out of her chair, but then realized they might see it as an aggressive act.

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A Last Look At Home

chuo tokyo

© Google 2016

“I never thought I’d see Chūō-ku again.”

“Does it look that different, Hiro?”

“I miss the waterways. It’s different, but it’s home.”

“I’m almost sorry I brought you here, given what’s about to happen to you.”

“You said what happens to me happened over seventy years ago.”

“You’ll still have to return.”

“And die, I know. But I’m curious why your Isis had you bring me here to the ward where I was born.”

“Look there.” The Time Traveler pointed to the fish market on the corner. A family, three generations of them, were just opening up.

“Your son, his children, and their children.”

Hiro’s eyes moistened. “They survived.”

“One last look at home, Hiro.”

“Thank you, Martin. Now I can die in peace, knowing my family lives on.”

“It’s time for me to take you back to Hiroshima.”

“Back to my present, Monday, August 6, 1945. I’m ready.”

I wrote this in response to the What Pegman Saw photo challenge. The goal is to use the photo at the top of the page as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. Mine came in at 147.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

The photo prompt is a 2016 street view of a ward of Tokyo called Chūō-ku, which literally means “Central Ward”. I looked it up on Wikipedia, and among other things, found out that after World War II, much of Chuo City was rebuilt and many of its numerous waterways filled in to make space for more buildings and roads.

I leveraged time traveler Martin Fields, who I featured in a seven-part series beginning with On Wednesday, The Time Traveler Got Wet, in order to give a Japanese man from 1945 a chance to see what had become of his family after seventy years. He gets a look at them in the 21st century before returning to his fate in Hiroshima the day the Atomic Bomb was dropped.

Why the other-worldly being known as Isis would have given this gift to a single individual is not revealed, but it’s enough that it was given.

The Trap

closing in

From “Star Wars” (1977)

He was already in a fetal position, but the walls kept closing in. His muscles were stiff and tight from the pressure. He was about to be crushed. He could barely breathe. He wanted to scream, but there wasn’t enough air.

“What am I going to do?” It was a desperate thought. “How am I going to get out of here?”

He wanted to give up, let the pressure destroy him, but he couldn’t. He had a wife, children, grandchildren who would be devastated if he died. He had to continue, but how?

The pressure continued. The walls seemed to wrap themselves around him, like form-fitting steel or stone.

“I’ve got to find a way to make the pressure ease up, but I can’t!”

Nothing worked, not TV, not books, not booze, drugs, porn. Nothing.

He had no way out but he couldn’t give up.

The receptionist’s voice shook him out of his living nightmare.

“Mr. Moore, Dr. Carlton will see you now.”

For all the good counseling would do.

The Woman is Africa

black woman art

From: Clipart Kid

It’s been over forty years and I can still remember her. She’s probably forgotten about me completely, and I don’t blame her. I didn’t make much of an impression.

“What do you think of it, Jeff?” Diane showed me her completed art project. “Think she’ll get first prize in the Senior Art Fair?”

It was our Senior Year in High School. I’d been taking art classes there since I was a Freshman, and she’d transferred from Tucson at the beginning of the year.

“I think it’s great. Is it a self-portrait?”

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The Man Who Walked On Venus

Venus

Artist’s concept of Venus’s forbidding surface. (ESA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

“How’s the weather down there?” Jeremy Howard heard Amy Jefferson’s voice in his ears accompanied by just a hint of static.

“Hot.” He chuckled. “472 degrees Celsius. Atmospheric pressure equivalent to being 900 meters under the surface of the ocean. The wind speed is 710 kilometers per hour with gusts up to 750.”

“Sounds like a wonderful vacation spot.”

“You’re welcome to come down and join me, Jefferson.”

“Not a chance, Howard. This one’s all yours.”

So far it was light banter, but Jefferson was monitoring Howard’s telemetry and she was starting to get worried.

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Bee Drones

robobee

© Eijiro Miyako

It had been forty years since Eijiro Miyako and his colleagues at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Science and Technology developed the first generation robo-bees. Pesticides, land clearing, and the effects of climate change had resulted in a steady decline in the bee population. Without bees, many plant species, including crop plants from apples to almonds, could not be pollinated and reproduce.

By the tenth generation of the tiny drones, they were self-replicating, self-repairing, solar-powered dynamos. They did not replace the natural bee population, but they greatly enhanced pollination efforts, allowing flowering plants to survive and finally to thrive again.

Each individual robo-bee’s AI formed a collection of nodes, which, when linked to the population of drones as a whole, formed an intelligence that was arguably sentient.

The problem was finding a way for the natural bee population to either develop an immunity to what was killing them so they could increase their numbers to a viable level, or eliminate the causes of their die off.

The drone AI quickly realized the cause of the die off of bees, and many other environmental problems, was the human race. Robo-bees could go even where the natural bees could not, so the almost complete extinction of humanity was ensured by swarms of millions of these tiny assassins.

I read a story yesterday called Robotic bee could help pollinate crops as real bees decline at “New Scientist,” and thought there could be another side of the story.

This is a pretty grim outcome, and hardly superversive, but if you push your biosphere too far, the biosphere will push back.

Redemption in a Playground

photo prompt liz

© Liz Young

I used to be like this junk. Drinking, smoking, a broken plastic person. A terrible father. A worse husband. Disreputable, divorced, self-destructive. But that’s before they were born. My grandchildren. They made me believe in myself because they believe in me. Now the man I was is just like this stuff, discarded. I’m sitting on this hill watching them frolic on the playground in the park below.

“C’mon down and play with us,” Johnny shouts.

“Yeah, Grandpa. Push me on the swing,” Cindy adds.

I stand up and walk toward my redemption.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioners challenge. Based on the photo prompt above, you’re supposed to write a complete story of no more than 100 words. Mine came in at 93.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

A Sky Filled With Hope

israel from space

Photo credit: NASA/Barry Wilmore – Israel from space

Each of the 1,038 nanosatellites that launched from the Satish Dhawan space port in India was hardly larger than a milk carton, but these small, inexpensive spacecraft, originally designed at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, were the hope of mankind.

Avi Salomon and Havah Tobias stood in Mission Control and watched the monitors as the nanosats reached their initial orbits. The “father” of the project, Professor Dan Blumberg, received a remote feed at Ben-Gurion in Beer-Sheva.

“It’s looking very good, Professor.” Tobias spoke into her microphone. “I think we will be successful.”

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