Virtual

woods

Photo credit: Fandango

It could have been any time of year except winter. Jake hoped it was a nice, cool summer morning. He didn’t like the heat, but summer mornings were just about right, like the Goldilocks of seasons and times of day.

He was in the mountains he guessed. Didn’t matter really. He was free for a while, free to walk, hike, run, scream, anything.

He felt good, strong, alive. Jake couldn’t remember a time when he experienced the world this way. He took a deep clean breath.

“Mr. Francisco. We’re done calibrating the system and are shutting down now.” The voice was disembodied but it was Simmons.

“So soon?”

“We can put you back in VR when we get the programs uploaded, probably next week.”

He sighed. When they turned it off, the VR world would vanish and he’d be a bed-ridden ALS victim again. Doctors said he had a year left. The virtual reality his company invented was the only way he’d be able to live out his days as an able-bodied man.

I wrote this for the FFfAW Challenge for the Week of January 9, 2018. The idea is to take the image above and use it to inspire the creation of a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 173.

I had a lot of different ideas for the image and then I noticed that when the screenshot or digital photo was taken, a four-arrowed cursor was also captured just above and to the left of center. That gave me the idea for a person enjoying the great outdoors only to discover he’s in a “holodeck” or something.

I fleshed the concept out a bit more and came up with the story you’ve just read. A friend of mine is an ALS sufferer and while he can still get along without a motorized wheelchair, he’s approaching that particular milestone all too quickly. He needs a machine to help him breathe sometimes, which is why I had my character take a deep breath.

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

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On Thursday the Time Traveler Walked Out

driving drunk

Image: nbc15.com

“I quit. I don’t care about the money. I don’t care about anything. You’re going to get me killed.”

Martin Fields removed the Temporal Jump Suit and threw each piece on the floor of his bedroom rather than packing it in its customized carrying case.

“That idiot in Las Vegas almost shot me.”

Isis stood passively listening to Martin as he started removing his clothing, which was appropriate in New Mexico of 1879 but would look like a foolish costume in the present day.

“That idiot was John Henry Holliday, also known as Doc Holliday, and perhaps he would have been less inclined to threaten you if you hadn’t been staring at his common-law wife’s nose.”

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Harvey’s Suit

smart glove

The Rapael Smart Glove

His nervous system wasn’t working anymore, so they had to give him a new one.

Harvey Lincoln was 59 years old when he was diagnosed With Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS, sometimes also called “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” A visit to the Mayo Clinic and undergoing an exhaustive battery of tests confirmed the diagnosis.

Harvey just felt numb going over the test results in Dr. Bell’s office. Harvey’s wife Sara sat by his side quietly sobbing.

That was three years ago, and the degeneration and death of Harvey’s motor neurons was steady, but thankfully slow. Harvey knew he was living on borrowed time, to use the common aphorism, but it was having time that allowed him to participate in the experiment.

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