Short Story: Colour Blind

Colour Blind
by Richard Holliday

1,611 words

Neophytes aren’t born as such, rather they’re gestated then emerge into the wilderness that is the world. They start their lives very much as they will continue them – as an incomparable bond of chromosomes and machined parts. Nothing more, nothing less.

The sentinels of what’s left of humanity reside on a toxic planet called Monokia; chosen generations ago for its apparent sanctuary from the natural and artificial fates befalling the Original Planet. A dark side reared its ugly mane only when the metallic appendages of civilised industrialisation threatened to smother the rock and earth below. Now the city holds up to the sky, the sky looks wistfully back down and the surface a fetid cluster of rock and ore.

Neophytes have augmented bodies designed over time to combat the ills of the planet. Respiration gear is welded into the very alveoli of the lungs to better filter the acrid air and harness the last molecules of clean oxygen and nitrogen for organic functions. Metal shoes harking back to humanity’s primitive formative years make the pools of waste traversable, where flesh would simply melt away. The eyes too are a blend of natural retina and non-natural sight enhancements that give the being a form of infrared vision but strips out all colour. The brain in the skull is left to ponder it’s assigned purpose; survival, admittance and a sense of acceptance. The brain is conditioned to live in a base form where there is no room for imagination or creativity. These aspects are deemed superfluous and redundant in the face of survival. Life in the endless city is grim, each Neophyte a cog in the machine that makes new Neophytes to replace those who are life-expired.

Continue reading “Short Story: Colour Blind”

Advertisements

Short Story: The Prospectors

The Prospectors

by Richard Holliday

6,394 words

Orange mud was quickly encrusted onto Snow’s black leather shoes as he crossed the threshold of the train station to the road outside. The bright sunshine looked enticing, though this notion soon dissipated. The rumours and warnings were true – this town was filthy and he was here to clean it up.

A lazy sun filtered through the regular shapes of brick walls and slate roofs before casting shadows on the paved street. Taking a deep breath the man gagged as the stench of chemicals and sulphur from factories on the near horizon attacked his nose wall.

“Jesus H. Christ!” Snow snorted impudently. Grasping his suitcase with his spare hand and a piece of typed paper in the other he proceeded along the sidewalk. Wagons and carriages clattered along the uneven streets while burly men and loose-looking women swayed and cantered along the bordering walkway. His eyes shielded by the brim of his hat, Snow looked curiously and studiously at each person he passed.

Criminal, probably. Drunk, certainly. Morally vapid, likely. The list of probable judgements grew in his mind.

Wellhead really was the least appealing town in America. Snow would find plenty to do here.

Continue reading “Short Story: The Prospectors”

Short Story: Just Keep Running

Just Keep Running

by Richard Holliday

330 words

The sound of raindrops fell like shells, exploding many times each seconds into little clouds of water. Displaced. Thrown asunder.

The puddles in the concrete city were just the same as those on the mud-soaked battlefield. A boot came down, caked in dirty water.

A battle took place in his mind but he just kept running. Every gasp for breath could be his last. Death was an unknown spectre that could strike anytime and from around any corner. From unexpected angles and in the shape of red-hot shards of metal, death was everywhere. Descending all around like a gruesome cloud.

He’d seen men die. That sat with him – a fact of the situation. Men seemed so expendable in the machine of war. Countless lives ended without thought or consideration to the consciousness behind them, and in the most horrific ways thought unimaginable. Hot lead and artillery proved an inhumane end. This was industrial death and manufactured killing. Human ingenuity led to human destruction.

Four years had passed, evaporating the optimism of that time. The picnic had begun with his closest friends heading to new shores in search of glory. Instead they found horrors on an unimaginable scale. There was no duty to be found mixed with the blood, dirt and chlorine of harsh reality. The words of optimism and honour were haunted remnants of the ideals they once stood for, now alone like obelisks in the battlefield of his mind.

This had ceased to be Earth. The beauty had gone from its very existence.

Opening his eyes and looking into the gaze of street lamps, motor cars and a thousand shuffling bodies in post-battle life, he realised he’d swapped one battlefield for another. To him this illusion was grotesque.

Had they all forgotten?

He just kept on running toward the low-hanging fog in the distance, unsure if it was an illusion of his mind or real. Whichever it was became irrelevant – it signalled what was next.

The End

No Kindle version available.

Short Story: Safety Yellow

I was challenged to write a 300 word short story about a banana. This is the result.

Safety Yellow

by Richard Holliday

299 words

Through the hazy sky above the tree line rose smoke that was alien in origin. There were never fires on this moist planet, and the tribal leader was intrigued. With a grunt he signalled to his troupe that investigation was necessary. They followed, their primitive language unable to question.

Through thick, sappy leaves the elder trudged, his feet sticking to the warm moss that lined the planet surface like a carpet stretching eternally. Despite his age he’d never seen the jungle of this world change. The sonic boom and earthshock of the crash was alien and deeply worrying. He didn’t like change.

It had recently rained and the moisture still hung in the air. Humidity was a fact of life here, and the elder’s flimsy cloth gave away the last vestiges of his human past. Coming to this place so long ago had changed him and his group of survivors, though they were more than that now. They were inhabitants of this place.

Smoke and the scent of death signalled the crash site was not far away. The elder grunted. This was an alien smell, though a vestigial part of his brain recognised it from a past life long deserted…

A large crater lay in the ground, exposing the natural dirt that the lichen and moss had shrouded for ever. Smoke rose from broken and exploded parts of grey space capsule. This was a re-awakening for the Elder. A figure in a silver suit lay lifeless across a rock. Clearly dead before he’d even entered the atmosphere.

Through the wreckage the Elder found one reminder of his past and the origins of this ship. A package, battered and blackened fell open in his hands. In it a solitary, squishy yellow object. It smelled sweet and vibrant.

A banana.

The End

No Kindle version available.

This story was recently posted under the title Vermillion Dream until I realised rather quickly how silly that was. (Vermillion being a shade of red; the colour my face went)

Image credit: Hardedge-Maelstrom on DeviantArt