© @any1mark66

Everyone told me shrinking an object or a person while maintaining that object’s original properties is impossible and they’re right. Planck’s constant prevents it. That means no Ant-Man, Atom, and no little subs like in Fantastic Voyage.

Surprise. I’m only six-inches tall. This grasshopper doesn’t know I’m standing in front of it because I’m not. I’m a hologram. My perceptions have been projected into a half-foot tall holographic matrix.

Fascinating, except for one thing. I can’t disengage from the matrix. I’m stuck inside the projection of myself in my backyard.

“Hello, tiny.”

“Helen?” What…how can you see me?”

“I arranged your little accident.”

“What? But why?”

“When I come back from my business trip in three weeks, I’ll discover you were killed in a home lab accident. Tragic for the widow, but I’ll inherit your fortune and your hunky lab assistant, Harold.”

“Helen, why? I thought we loved each other.”

“You’ve always loved your gadgets more than me. You never even noticed me screwing Harold practically under your nose. Go hop around with your friend.”

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of November 28, 2017. The idea is to use the image above as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 175.

I think I’ve written a few stories prompted by photos of insects lately, so how could I make this one different? Well, when I was a kid, I really did read the old 1960s comic books about Ant-Man and The Atom and was fascinated by the idea of being able to shrink way down in size. Also, one of my favorite science fiction movies to this day is the 1966 film “Fantastic Voyage.”

However, as I very briefly explained, Planck’s constant prevents real-life shrinking (learn more at PhysicsForums.com and this BoingBoing.net article).

However, if you could create a holographic matrix of the correct proportions and then project your perceptions into the construct, you would experience being small without actually being small (at least as far as my fake science goes).

Just don’t let your two-timing wife know. Otherwise, you’ll end up like our hapless and nameless scientist.

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

Now read Diminished: The Expanded Story.

17 thoughts on “Diminished

  1. Well, now, if this advanced holographic projection is capable of interactive perception (which holograms cannot yet do), can it also perform physical operations in the manner envisioned in the StarTrek series? If so, perhaps our hapless hero might yet turn the tables on his faithless, murderous spouse. If he could only reach the controls or the circuitry, or attract the attention of someone else who could do so! Maybe the parents of one of the neighborhood children? I’m presuming the wife’s plan is for him to starve to death (probably by thirst) during her three-week absence, rather than to shut down or destroy the machinery that is keeping him trapped. That gives him at least a few days to try to find a rescuer. Failing that, might he achieve at least a Pyrrhic victory by leaving a note or a recording that reveals his wife’s treachery and gets the forces of law and order to execute her for premeditated cold-blooded murder? Maybe even his back-stabbing lab assistant Harold could be implicated as an accessory to the crime. If he could only get out of this, he could still get both of them for attempted murder! Yeah, but how! Stay tuned, readers, to see if James may be inspired to give our hapless hero a chance to survive, and maybe even to revenge this outrage. Can Justice triumph? One of the reasons we read fiction is the hope that it will do so, even if it sometimes falls short in real life.


    • Yes, the plan is to leave him stuck in the holo-matrix chair until he dies of thirst. I had envisioned the hologram as not visible or solid (hence his question about how she could see him…special glasses perhaps), which means he wouldn’t be able to get anyone’s attention or manipulate any controls, but revising that premise is an interesting thought.


      • Since a hologram is by definition an image, an invisible hologram is a contradiction in terms. Now, I suppose one could be constructed to be displayed at wavelengths outside the human visual spectrum, but there’s not much to be gained by doing so unless it is more than a visual projection. What it seems you are actually envisioning here is some sort of a covert agent that can transmit observations to a remote operator. If that is its sole capability, and the operator is somehow trapped inside some sort of operations console, then it would seem he has little recourse. Simply being tied to his chair wearing some sort of VR apparatus would seem a bit too obvious that foul play was afoot.


    • Thanks, Akshata. I hadn’t planned to write an expanded version of this tale, but then PL’s suggestion stuck in my brain and I’m in the process of editing it now. Please stand by.


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