Anne

grave

© Liz Young

Her grave was one of the few to survive the uprising. Earth defeated the invaders in the Revolution of ’48.

I can barely make out ‘Anne’ on the gravestone. She was thirty when she died, one of the millions killed in the uprising. Only because my project was so secret did she think I died during the first alien attack.

It’s been decades since Earth became free, and the new government eventually found records of my experiment and sent rescuers. The equipment was still working when they woke me from decades of cryogenic sleep.

I wish I’d died with my daughter.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioneers photo writing challenge for April 28, 2017. The idea is to write a piece of flash fiction based on the photo above that is no more than 100 words long. My word count is 100.

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

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29 thoughts on “Anne

  1. Your final sentence reflects an irrational sense of depression and loss that belies the protagonist’s motivation to develop his secret cryogenic sleep project in the first place. It is uncharacteristic for a scientist/engineer to discard the thinking of a lifetime that impelled him or her to pursue such a development. Hence, such a depressive expression can only be interpreted as a temporary phenomenon or as the result of cryo-sleep damaging or suppressing his endocrine system functioning. But perhaps a longer story is needed to contextualize and explain the statement.

    A more likely eventual response from this sort of individual would reflect the optimism and flexibility that would be prerequisites for a cryo-sleep candidate, because such a candidate could not expect anything other than to awaken among unfamiliar people in unfamiliar surroundings that demand starting over to define his or her life anew. Another useful characteristic might be described by analogy with the ancient character of the biblical Job, whose implicit trust in HaShem enabled him to accept and overcome the losses of his fortune, his family, and his health, and to start over again — choosing life that he might live, to cite the injunction of Deuteronomy 30:19. This is the choice that is intrinsic to entering cryo-sleep, because by the nature of the condition it will be needed upon awakening from it. And one would hardly enter into such a state unless one had a comparable degree of trust that one would, indeed, awaken and be capable of facing conditions extant at that time.

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    • When he went into cryosleep, his daughter was 2 years old. Then the aliens attacked and he was never awakened. Decades later, his adult daughter was killed in the revolt against the aliens. He woke up years after that, expecting it only to be a few months or a year after he went under, then discovering not only that he’d been in suspension for decades, but that everyone he ever loved was dead. Yeah, he’s depressed.

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    • I was momentarily struck by the irony, but Dad chose to be cremated. After his memorial service, the family will be sprinkling his ashes near one of his favorite fishing spots.

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  2. When I read this, I was thinking of WW2… I watched an episode on pbs last night about the escape from sobibor (sp?) concentration camp. I’ve heard many stories, spoke to many survivors and their descendants. I saw their stories in this, especially when it came to the last line. So many, senselessly slaughtered. So few, escaping through many means and in many ways. A good, thought provoking write this week.

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    • True, especially if it’s unexpected. As I recall, I wrote something similar, a story of a woman undergoing cancer surgery and expecting to wake up hours later. Instead, there was an accident and she had to be put into cryosleep for decades. Her young doctor was retired and elderly when she woke up in her “brave new world.”

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  3. Sometimes a hundred words is just not enough, those little details you give in the comments section, lift this piece of flash fiction to become a fully rounded story which I really enjoyed reading

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  4. Dear James,
    It’s a pity he hadn’t been able to save her. It looks like he’s in for a lonely existence. Could be a pilot for a television series I think. You packed a lot of story into your 100 words. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

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  5. Dang; and he went into cryo when his daughter was two? That’s something to regret. At least since she didn’t know what happened she didn’t have to live with feeling like she’d been abandoned all those years.

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