Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ghosts Schmosts!

Well, it's Wednesday! I believe I mentioned last week that today's my favourite day of the week, and that's still true this week. Today was my English Teacher's birthday, which is kind of cool though I won't tell you how old she is! I figured, for tonight's post, I'd respond to last week's poll which asked a short story. The following is just under 1,000 words which I know can be long. I'm part of a teen writing website called www.cleanplace.net and basically, every week they have a Squabbling or Challenge. This week's challenge was:

Write a story using the opening line:
I was six years old the first time I disappeared.

Taken from:
Vanishing Acts, by Jodi Picoult

You must integrate the line INTO the story (i.e., you may NOT make it a line in a book that is being read by a character, etc.) All characters should be NEW, and no fanfic. Your story should have a beginning, middle and end. Remember to edit!

Genre:
Science Fiction -- Absolutely no fantastical elements! Use SCIENCE. The story should be set at least 100 years in the future and may take place somewhere beside Earth.

Word Count: 500-1000

Have fun!

These challenges are meant to, well, be challenging, and to teach young writers to think outside the box. Here's my short story deriving from the challenge. I hope you enjoy it and perhaps are inspired to try it yourself!

~Books
b-crazy

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I was six years old the first time I disappeared. Then, I was too young to fully comprehend the depth of my disappearance and thought that I had somehow tapped into some unknown magic. Now, ten years later, I know better.

As I sat on my bed that hot, lazy summer afternoon, the only thought going through my mind was of the cute girl who had crossed my path yesterday evening at the MacDonald's cash. Her slender frame and dimpled cheeks had caught me in a snare, mid-grab for her money. Then, the faint sent of peppermint floated on a breeze and into my nose. Resting gently, the smell lingered for moment before leaving as she turned away.

Deep within my thoughts, the disappearance caught me off guard. One moment I lay on my bed, reclining gently on my pillows, and then the next instant, my body is dissolving into billions of particles. Before I know it, I'm being whizzed through the air and out into the vast regions of space and time. How I can see where I'm going, I have no idea, but watching the Earth receding to the blue-green sphere never gets old.

The journey never lasts long and soon I find my particles rearranging themselves under a large glass tube. I blink away my surprise as the tube lifts and I step out into a large multicoloured room crowded with mini-humans. Walking forward, my body is pushed along by the sea of blue jumpsuits. I can't help the smile tugging at my lips as I join in the chaotic hustling and bustling. Each person comes no higher than my waist and yet, each is probably far more intelligent then myself.

"Ahh! Michael," a voice said from above my head. I looked up and felt a grin capture my mouth. A small man stood high on a platform overlooking the mesh of bodies. Dressed in the standard jumpsuit, only his flaming red hair set him apart from the others.

"Glad to see you could make it," he continued as I struggled to get closer to the ledge.

I laughed. "Sylvester, when have you really given me a choice in coming here or not?"

He rested a finger on his chin and pretended to ponder the question, a thoughtful smile on his lips. "Well, no. But technically I can't make you stay here. It is against the law, you know."

I shook my head, beaten. "You mean, so you tell me it is."

"Well, it doesn't matter, Mike, you know that you'd stay here if you could."

I chuckle at this. You know me too well, Syl. It seems the Moon has become my home away from home. Anyways, what's the problem this time?"

Sylvester brought a finger to his lips and shushed, looking around at the sea of people as he did so. "Not here," he whispered, and jumped from the ledge and into the sea of people. "Follow me."

That captured my interest. Normally, the Moonies, as I called them, simply called me up because there was a simple glitch that their advanced minds could not understand. Over the past 300 years, a lot of the knowledge from the 21st century has been lost meaning that the everyday issues I may deal with seem like catastrophic problems for the Moonies because they are so rare. Born in Wawa, Ontario, 1991, I'm an expert in this sort of thing.

Sylvester led me down a secluded hallway and through a maze of corridors. I looked around me in wonder at the lack of bodies pressing in from all side. Sylvester had first told me when I was six years old that we were in the largest power house on the moon. In order to create such power, there needed to be non-stop working and that means non-stop people.

"Syl, where are all the Moonies?"

"Elsewhere," he replied, his voice sounding detached and afraid. "Yesterday, there was an incident and three of our people were seriously injured. We closed down this section of the building in order to protect them."

"How did they get hurt?" I asked, not wanting to know the answer.

Sylvester sighed and stopped walking. He turned, looked me straight in the eye and said, "We believe it to be some paranormal activity."

I blinked. Paranormal Activity? Wait a minute—"You mean a ghost?"

He gave a curt nod and continued on his way.

"Syl, be reasonable. Even I know there is no such thing as ghosts and my civilization is light years behind your time."

"Just see for yourself."

I sighed but said nothing as I followed him into a large room loaded with boxes.

"This is our storage shed. Any technology that is outdated or broken first comes here to be sorted before it is taken to the furnace," he whispered, crouching low. "Look up there... do you see it? The ghost?"

I glanced up and laughed. I couldn't help myself. Their "ghost" was a box! A box floating in mid-air, true, but the room was filled with boxes. Following a hunch, I looked around the room and spotted a large mirror resting against the far wall.

"Syl, when did that mirror get here?"

"The day before yesterday, I believe," he answered, not following my link.

"Watch," I said. I walked over and stood in front of the mirror and struck a ferocious pose.

From behind me, I heard Syl give a slight squeak.

"You're on the ceiling!" he said.

"Right. You see, the mirror is reflecting my image into the ceiling. Normally, that would do nothing, but because your light-bulbs are giant sheets of glass, they capture the image and provide the image of a ghost. What you're seeing is scientific magic."

He laughed. "Amazing!"

I grinned. "Yep. I remember—never mind, it's not important."

Sylvester gave me a quizzical look and I smiled. Who said the future needs to know everything?

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