Short Stories
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The God Strain

Author: G. Jefferies

 

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Smithy was duplicitous. On the one hand he worked in a state of the art research facility combating rare viral diseases. In the other he was where he was now. Stuffed up; the equivalent of Frankenstein’s monster. The real deal Jekyll or Hyde, take your pick while the world sits on baited breath waiting for the float to sink; buy your front row ticket now while you still can. Shops will be closing and not reopening any time soon.

The lab was a high security, need to know and dealing with virulent flu strains that seemed intent on defeating anything his team threw at them. One in particular was almost showing signs of sentience and mutating before the vaccine even went live. Like it knew, read his mind, the coding sequence necessary to turn things round and undo months of work. Smithy dwelt long on this one. He called it the God Flu. Self adapting sub-strain of a SARS like flu bug, except it dealt in death, not just sometimes, every damn time.

They’d picked it up a month previous after a strain appeared on a plaque that wasn’t supposed to be there. Within days it had wiped out the surrounding competition and sat staring back through the isolation booth. A red agar eye studying them studying it. That was when things should have been incinerated. Science is curious, so the moment passed and things got worse.

Animal testing delivered consistently poor prognoses; forty-eight hour incubation then system wide collapse, game over within three days; no variation. The end of days contagion where judgement is passed.

Time and again he shook his head on this one, pushing up his spectacles and rubbing tired eyes that hid a mind full of anxiety. If it ever got out the damn thing was indiscriminate. That it would infect humans he was in no doubt and the result of that….he refused to think about. Sanity was fragile and too much ruminating over morals of his employ would lead to a breakdown.

Up until last Tuesday, and apart from the new virus, all was well in his world. That was when he began reading King’s The Stand; when conscience began to eat into what remained of a mind that…maybe Oppenheimer felt the same when the nuclear bomb went off.

I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.

But for a roll of the dice civilisation could already be a dead wasteland and what he was doing now would never have mattered.

He could feel self justification eroding away as he read deeper. A mistake and poof….society goes to hell, everyone panics and almost everyone dies. Either which way the end of days and for those that survived a new Dark Age. Hell, there were already loads of TV series and films showcasing it. Books like the one he was reading. How many warnings did folk like him need for Christ’s sake. That was about the time the voice appeared. A deep resonance grating at the back of his mind.

What’s it feel like to grow the God Flu?

Smithy looked up from the book and frowned before shaking his head and stared out of the windscreen at a carpark basking in full sun. A lunch time break from the rat race and the unnamed contagion. God Flu.

The voice spoke up, again.

Well, you ready to do this Smithy?

This time he felt the spittle evaporate in his mouth and hairs rising on his neck. He listened fearing his under conscious was tripping on the moral debate that haunted his nightmares. Job versus animal testing; playing with viruses that could cause mayhem if containment failed or someone did something real stupid.

What, like make the God Virus?

This time he spoke up, “Yup, I guess so.”

Secure is it? Deep in your bunker of death.

He thought of Oppenheimer. Atoms and viruses, both very small and yet capable of so much.

“Clearly.” Conviction was lacking. Wasn’t talking to yourself a sign of madness?

You do know you’re outside the building right?

The book was open at chapter 23, the magician, man in black, all hail the Crimson King. Coincidence maybe, but that was fiction.

“Yes, and what of it?”

What if you’ve got forty eight hours left with life as you know it?

Anxiety was threading it’s way through his veins.

“Not possible,” he said to the empty car, “it’s isolated and the lab would lock down.”

It’s God Flu Smithy. You don’t even know how it got there.

“And you do I suppose?”

He took a moment out looking at the greying hairs reflecting back from the vanity mirror. Dark rings under slung his eyes while fingers drummed on the steering wheel. The book now rested on the passenger seat. Who was the runner in there again? Campion. That was it, worked in military germ warfare lab where things went wrong. The similarities struck him as perverse. Safe while it’s safe but when it’s not safe, people are people; they run and what runs with them….I am become death. Oppenheimer in action.

He shook his head. Who the hell was he talking to anyway? His own conscience drip feeding the worst case scenario. There were safeguards for that though, hermetic seals, positive air pressure, micro-filtration systems and suited and booted with respirators. Any breach and everything closed automatically. If you were in you were in, simple; infected or not infected you weren’t going anywhere until the all clear was cleared. He needed air. A quick stroll down the sea front ought to do the trick. Waves were calming. The soft wash as they broke, the sound of gulls and smell of sea spray.

A long haired youth rested on his elbows over the hood of a beat up ford escort. He was eyeing the breakers and sighing.

“No good man, no good at all.”

Smithy paused, “You talking to me?”

“Anyone who’s listening dude, no rides here.” He looked glum as a hand touched the underside of the board resting on a roof rack.

Shall we send him to where the breakers never stop?

Smithy ignored the inner voice. Breakers were in one of Kings books too. The nuance was fitting. Breakers for a breaking world, the destroyer of worlds. He shook his head trying to dislodge the distraction.

“Ever tried Australia?” he said. Although why he said it was something he dwelt on later.

The youth stood up, hair blowing in the wind as a smile crossed his face.

“Idea, I could be in Melbourne tomorrow and riding waves by nightfall.”

Smithy noticed a vacancy drift across his face between him standing up and speaking. Must be on something he thought.

Like God Flu interjected the voice.

“You serious?” he asked.

“Why not?” replied the youth, “life’s short and the world could end next week.”

“What makes you say that?”

“God Flu man; if it hits then everyone dies and I’m going out on a wave.”

Smithy just stared as the surfer cast him a nod as he turned, climbed into his car and headed off down the sea front. Mental calculations trickled through his mind. Forty eight hours, two airports and a million other encounters in London alone. He felt hot. How did he know about God Flu and was that sheer coincidence? The odds were staggering.

Not really Smithy. Not from where I sit.

He stared out across the ocean fearing his mind was breaking like the waves pounding the shoreline. “You’re not real and I’ve got to get back to work.”

As real as the plaque that watched you staring in disbelief.

He turned and found himself walking to the bus station but not knowing why.

“Do you blame me? It shouldn’t be possible. New strains like that can’t just appear spontaneously.” He lacked conviction because it had. Just like that, the red eye looking at him looking at it.

God Flu man. The voice mimicked the surfer.

Smithy started. “No!”

It takes less than a minute to upload.

“Upload?” He entered the terminal. Twenty or so passengers milled about either waiting for a bus to somewhere, pondering timetables or buying tickets. A few pensioners smiled at him as he walked past. Smithy joined a queue not knowing why. A child, holding her mother’s hand looked up at him wide eyed and scared.

Twenty metre radius Smithy. How many you walked past already? How many’s the hippy found and how many have the found, themselves, found?

The queue dismantled and he found himself at the kiosk staring vacantly at the woman behind the counter.

“Where to?” she asked.

Smithy didn’t know. He didn’t even know why he was here in the first place and not back in the lab staring at the circle of red. A red that was imprinted in his mind waiting for the dots to job up.

Frowning he blinked and heard himself say “Sorry, not today, I’ve changed my mind.”

With that he watched the bus station drift away as he walked back into the sunshine. Distant like, as if he was in a cinema watching a film and detached from the actual scene. Pushed to the back, no longer in the moment. His own thoughts felt fuzzy.

His mind spoke up.

Are you saying it can infect people merely by being near them without any physical contact or aerosols. No carrier vectors at all?

This time the answer came from his own mouth.

“You catch on Smithy, smarter than the average bear.” There was an underlying sarcasm bleeding from the words.

His own throat felt dry and hot like something had clutched his vocal chords and begun to squeeze.

But that’s…

“Impossible,” the God Flu spoke back, “yes from your biological viewpoint.”

Meaning?

“You still don’t know where I came from do you?”

Don’t tell me…outer space. He could still feel pain and the headache rearing up was becoming a (red) giant.

“Guess you just answered the big question all by yourself.”

Which is? Smithy felt sick, his vision distorted and the outside world was far, far away.

“You’re not alone.”

The sledgehammer hit home and the headache disappeared. He was left in a dark, silent place. Interred in his own mind unable to reach out. Viruses wrest control of cells and use them to replicate. That was in the basic text books on virology. God Flu took over the body, taking it places with the sole purpose of infecting others, uploading like some computer virus. One purpose, one motive. On and on until there was nothing left to infect.

Why?

“We need a new home Smithy, and this house is occupied. Call it an eviction notice and it’s just been served.”

 


 

This his post was written for a bit of fun after a chat with Rachael Ritchey of blog battle infamy. The idea was to use the last five battle prompts in one post;

Duplicitous, voice, float, ticket, indiscriminate.

I added the next one, surfer, just for the hell of it.

Inspiration came from several places, one is mentioned in the text. No prizes for guessing what that is. Three bloggers twisted things. One is linked above and the others two are Sci-Fi officianados, not my writing genre per se, but a twist was needed. Ergo thanks go to 

Planet Simon

Adam Dixon

 

I have ideas to expand this in both directions so may carry the Surfer into the blog battle proper as a sequel, if you like. Or I may leave it as it is…just a bit of fun. Feel free to suggest otherwise 🙃

 


 

© G Jefferies and Fictionisfood, 2016. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in: Short Stories

by

Former research scientist the became the primary stay at home Dad for two children. Writing has always been factual in the previous life but always had a fascination with fiction but never been brave enough to develop it further. A comfort zone thing. Science writing is familiar, fiction is not. Hopefully the blog will provide more confidence and lead to a change in career writing from home around children!

139 Comments

  1. Ah god, this was brilliant. I loved it so much! I could read a whole book on this. This sorta thing is really my bag (I mean, I loved The Stand unreservedly). I really enjoyed the nods to King, and the references — such a cool touch!

    The idea of the virus controlling the host to further its propagation is a scary one — and a very real one. Like the cordyceps fungi that infects ants. I felt my skin prickling as I realised that Smithy’s thoughts were slowly becoming derailed, and had the sneaking suspicion where the story was going. Having my fears confirmed was brilliant.

    Honestly, top drawer Gary. I knew I was going to like it before I read it (it’s so up my alley), but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of it one bit. In fact, I think it enhanced it.

    I would say that I’d like to read more of this story — a continuation — but with the current pandemic, I understand if you don’t feel too eager to dive back into this universe. 😉

    • As per Facebook missive I did share a few thoughts on expanding this one at some point. I’d actually just read The Stand when the idea of a biological Wi-fi virus dropped in. The text changes used were meant to give some indication of the loss of mental control to the virus too. A larger scale version of what actual viruses do as they take over cells to engineer new virus…well, apart from the cognitive dialogue. I actually have an intense fascination for biology at that level too. To think evolution diversified to produce such efficient repositories of stabilised DNA or, more amazing, RNA, that was capable of causing so much devastation once inside someone is mind blowing when you get to the size and complexity of what’s actually going on.

      You might enjoy part two of this one too if it’s really your bag. Both appear in The Crux Anthology. Part two is on here though.

      Many thanks for the positive thoughts too. It helps that mojo dip get a kick.

      However, new thoughts in this zone might wait a while for the pandemic to ease. Well, written ones, I have been pondering it recently so ideas are forming 🤔

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  5. Very interesting and absorbing, first time I’ve ready anything like this and I’m gripped! Not my usual genre…goes to show blog sharing opens you up to new possibilities!

    • I was actually reading The Stand when this idea sprang to mind. There is a second part which I’ll put up in the blog share next week as a few new comments have shown unexpected interest. I guess that says never let old posts fade out! Although writing might have longevity…as long as readers like it! I write across several genres too. This was my first try at a more sci-fi dystopian apocalypse. I got stuck after part two as it was heading into no way out. I’ve come up with a new idea there since then so may take this one further now!

      What genres do you generally read? I have recently expanded mind into areas I never thought I would. More so as I tend to do author spotlights now too. I agree that blog sharing really opens up possibilities too. That’s what makes blogging so special. My own missing in action since November was down to writing a novel called Black Marsh. Hit NaNoWriMo with it and finished about two weeks ago. Alas blogging and social media can’t do-exists with writing or I do both badly lol. I’m hoping to catch up on new blogs soon too.

      Thank you so much for reading and taking time to pass comment too!

      • Ahh to be honest these days I don’t have time to read as much as I’d like but I do love shows like The Walking Dead and other post apocalyptic shows, as well as historical dramas, thrillers and rubbishy easy to watch comedies, oh and I love a good mystery / twisty story – guess you can say my taste is very varied so reading wise it would be the same! Oh and reading about interesting people past and present! Lots of different things interest me… thanks for the reply!

        • Good grief, no need to thank me for replying…its you who I should thank for that!! You’re right, that is an eclectic range of tastes. That’s good really as I write across several genres myself. In fact I might put up some repeats on BUYB because there are quite a few new people in the group now. It might be short stories are easier too, as they don’t demand the same time and commitment to read. Even got a couple of memoirs that might fit the bill too!

          Thank you again for taking time to comment too.

  6. I like the twist at the end! The idea of the God Flu is just terrifying. You might like a new show on Netflix called The Travelers. (Maybe it’s not new, but new to me). It’s about a future where the human race is dying and these future people send consciousness back to the 21st century to try and change the points in history that led to the almost annihilation of humanity in the future. They use algorithms and quantum physics to accomplish their goals–rather than a virus. But maybe there’s some inspiration there?

    • It builds on my science background which includes microbiology. My special option at Uni was virology. I find them probably the most advanced evolutionary organisms in how they go about integrating into the host genome and taking over cells to replicate their own virus particles. I tried to play on a more modern twist where this was an apocalyptic virus program that infected people via wifi or electrical impulses and gave it a running conscience that actually took over people’s minds. The nuance being shown where speech changes from italics (internal voice) to talking. It allowed the person to challenge the internal voice without realising near the end the conscious control has swapped over as the God Flu takes full control. I did a second part which I’ll recycle next week before getting stuck with an end of the world apocalypse that had no way out. It was while I was writing Black Marsh that an idea popped in to remedy that with another twist.

      I like the idea of that show you mentioned too. I’ve not got Netflix and haven’t seen it. Might have to investigate now! Thanks for taking time to read it. I always enjoy hearing what people think!

  7. Can I just say, this story has made me feel a tad paranoid in light of how I’m feeling at the moment?! Maybe this isn’t just a heavy cold, but in fact God Flu!!!!! Very well written Gary x

    • Oh my, I put that one back up purely because I had an epiphany on how to progress this from a short story into something much bigger earlier this month. I got stuck with this after part 2 which follows out surfer dude. Obviously with your current ailment this might have alarm bells ringing if the inside voice becomes more sinister!!! Thank you Hayley. Supportive comments make writing worthwhile x

    • Thank you Judy; it was one of those that I just started and let flow; the antagonistic “virus” really came forward rather quickly. No idea if it can easily be stopped and despise the Hollywood victory from impossibility scenarios aka Independence Day !!

  8. Well, I was prepared to be scared..lol Can’t wait for part two..I love it when random words are thrown at me ..Some of my best short stories are from words or a picture..Until next week then 🙂

    • I remember looking at the words Rachael threw at me as prompt words for the previous five blogbattles wondering how on earth I could flow with them. Ended up rather pleased with this 🙂

      Thank you so much for reading 🙂

    • Fear not, part two takes it to a whole new level. I stopped there because I couldn’t see a way out!!!!

  9. You are spooky. Within the first few lines, I thought of the Stand and then you mentioned it. That book scared the stuffing out of me!

    • Me? no I’m quite nice really, its the writing does that decides to go all macabre. All by itself too, I don’t plan anything as a rule! I’m glad you were second guessing The Stand though; the lead in was deliberate there as I’d just read it myself and had Smithy reading it as a concept one I started writing it. You might like the second part which I will put up again next week.

      Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

  10. Hi Gary!
    That is one awesome picture! Look at what an engaged community you’ve built! I knew you when! LOL! Stumbling!

    • Hi Janice, thought you were on holiday!! I got that off Pixabay and for this story it works quite well given the context. I love the community feel here now too. Really must upgrade the theme and start making things easier to navigate. Still feel like a newbie mind lol

  11. noellekelly says

    Great story Gary, nice and terrifying!
    The Stand is my all-time favourite book, so this is right up my street!

    • Thanks Noelle and I was reading The Stand when this challenge was thrown down. There is a part two knocking about, but I might shunt that onto next Sunday again now 🙂

  12. I read The Stand a short time after it was released (so, late 70s, which means I was in my mid teens). I’m still having nightmares. *shudder*

    Thanks for the new nightmares, Gary!

    (seriously, it got under my skin, so well done you!)

    • Agreed re The Stand. Interesting to ponder the psychology of people though if something like that were to happen…it wouldn’t be pretty methinks. I will take your comment as an accolade to my genre diversity X oh…followed you on this FlipBoard thing too!

  13. *Shudders* That’s a scary thought, but in this day and age a more credible one. Well written.
    The Stand was great, although I watched the movie, I have never read the book, I must now that you have reminded me of it 🙂

    • I did say not to read it! But thank you Juls…it’s quite a scary thought given the way tech advances…small extrapolation and how impossible is it really? I was reading The Stand as I wrote this…never seen the movie though. Was it any good or does it fall into the pit of bad King book to movie conversion. Personally, I think his books are very mind oriented and that needs a very good director to get the visual tension right. The books good though 😊

      • I won’t be able to comment on the conversion until I read the book you eejit!! 🙂
        The movie is six hours long, I had it on two video’s at the time and it was just impossible to watch one without the other. I made two of my friends watch it also and same thing, we watched till 3am.
        I loved it, as you say extremely thought provoking. Watching the characters develop and their interaction unfold was amazing when you realised they all had parts to play, kinda, if you know what I mean lol

        • Ha Ha…fair point! You have made me want to see the film now too. Thanks for that (no sarcasm there btw). Looking forward to it 🙂

    • Bit different this one don’t you think….possibly a marmite scenario….love it or hate it 🤔 I actually found it quite scary to write too 😱

  14. !!!!Very bleak…very dystopian…utterly terrifying and believable. Just going to go and check my stockpiles of antibiotics and canned food…!!!!!

    • There is a second part following the surfer dude. I only write the two parts, again as a bit of a tester. This one was for the blog battle, but using five previous prompts. Started as a bit of fun, but went very serious real quick. An example of me starting with Smithy sitting in his car and just writing. No plan or storyboard; just see what he reveals as it went. See what you make of the next part and then….cull your wifi…..you will see why I said that after lol

      Thank you 😊

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    • Most generous of you my new friend 😊 I had mixed feelings about the confusion really…part of me wanted to engage the reader in sympathy with Patrick as he hasn’t really got a clue what’s happening either…not wise in a short story but it started to feel like something bigger so I wrote it that way with that in mind…just in case….I tend to drip feed more in books…this short stuff is hard….my natural rhythm is 5000 words as an average chapter length….this blog battle thing is therefore very tough for me 🤔

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  17. Ok, so, do they all really die?? Or just their minds are now occupied by the God Flu??
    So, maybe that’s why it’s not really scary, since it’s sci-fi, not horror??
    I just can’t dwell on it too long, or I’ll get freaked out, which will then scare me…
    You do have a way with words!
    Is there any way you could leave out the “F” word?? Just asking.

    • I’ve thought about the Fword in this one….it started as an exploration of his mind and used words he might use….then it moved a bit and I’m thinking it’s probably not necessary here. I may edit it out….although a fair few of my characters use such language because it’s kind of the day to day lingo used…not all of them, just depends on the background and social upbringing…and the giving them a real feel and not being flat. Of course loads don’t swear too 🙃

      • Oh no, now I’m gonna need a cuss word rating too! You just might find I’m too much trouble!
        Thanks so much, if ya do edit it out!

        • Trouble…er…all the time and it’s brilliant 🙃
          I think I will take this one out over the weekend… And consider mentioning language if it’s present….hope you get though in fiction some characters need it to be real though…even if that is an oxymoron 🤔

          • Haha, make-believe needs to be real! I get it, I just don’t like it!
            And you don’t have to cater to me. I know I’m only 1 little, er, big fish in your reader pond!

            • Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of bad language but st the same time I’m a realist and if I go out people watching (aka character hunting come research) I have to take on board language, how it’s used in various situations and so forth. If I wasn’t true to what I find then I’d be writing worse than I am now !!! I do get what you are saying though 😊

          • Thank you, thank you so much for the edit!! It was a huge kindness to me! And I appreciate it immensely!
            No, I don’t think it took away any impact from the story to take it out.
            That could be just my prejudice??

            • It could be 🙃
              But you know my thoughts on including reality into fiction…this one was probably unecessary…if it had featured as part of his internal thought processes and his dialogue contained swearing then it would be consistent for his character to keep it in…that said Smithy doesn’t curse so not needed 😊

  18. Wow! Now this made the story more clearer! Thanks Gary. Keep writing it, seems to move in an awesome direction! 🙂

    • Thank you…maybe I should have flagged it clearer that the other one would maybe make more sense if this was read first. It’s strange really as this was purely an exercise in prompt writing for the blog battle hostess Rachael. Same with the other one as this weeks prompt was surfer. But the plot is growing on me….I kind of want to know how stuffed we are when the countdown ends 😱

      Really appreciate your lovely feedback too 😊

      • Ohh that is equally amazing! Inspiration and ideas can ‘pop’ so suddenly and unexpectedly! Good luck with Smithy and Rick and God Flu Man! 🙂

        • Thank you….and might try another for the next blog battle…although I ought to get my other projects moving too….decisions decisions 😊

  19. I don’t know how I missed this. Your recent posted made me look for the prequel. 🙃
    Amazing read!!! It was very gripping. I can see the microbiologist somewhere, lol. I loved the imagination that went into writing this. I liked the “upload” idea. You are super talented my friend!! 😊😊

    • Easily done…I’m finding stuff zipping down my reader so fast I miss things. Time is the other enemy too, blink and it’s days later and catching up gets very hard. I think I linked this one in the second one. So glad you found it interesting to read and took the time to comment once more…you are very generous too 😊

      • I know I’m mentioning this again, but I really liked how you thought of the ‘upload’ like wifi. Great thinking and very imaginative! 🙂

        • Thank you…not sure where it came from 🤔 I was just writing away and next minute that’s what came out…most of my stuff is like that too….just get directed into the path things want to take…it’s why I call myself a character biographer rather than a writer 🙃

          • A character biographer is indeed a great story teller and a writer. So, that is your strength on the fiction front! 🙂 🙂

            • Seems a logic point I have to agree with…although the magnitude of the strength is debatable 🙃

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    • Thank you for such a positive comment. Trouble with the ending is its kind of an ending even though I’m doing a sequel with the surfer dude at the moment 🤔

        • Time will tell if it turns out cool 😱 Mind you, it’s not really for me to decide really, that’s the responsibility I abdicate to readers 🙃

  21. Wow, Gary….this is soooooo intelligent…and only took you 5 hours!!!! Your imagination and descriptions are just so intriguing and emotive….I love every thing you write! And, I agree, the Stephen King references were a nice and relatable touch…such a fantastic read…thanks for sharing, my friend 🙂

    • You are too kind Truly. Imagination is probably my one true skill! I’m thinking of a sequel to this for next weeks blog battle. The King reference was imposible not to use as I’m currently reading the very same book I mentioned…big inspiration really but decided on a different take owing to the two sci-fi followers mentioned 🙃

  22. That was impressive. Well done.

    “I too look forward to you actively participating in Blog Battles,” I say through a rictus smile of gritted teeth.

    “Also I’m just gonna go delete Scrivener and Word off my computer now, and just sit in front of the PS4 shooting things because what’s the point?” Haha. Ha. *sigh*

    • Too kind, too kind indeed. It was merely one of those ideas that drags one in whilst writing. It kind of decided what was going on word by word….I didn’t really have much control over the way it rolled. Things don’t always pan out this way my new friend….but one must ask…I have Scrivener too but it’s just glares at me daring me to use it….I know it’s good but is it tricky to get to grips with? You should always sit in front of the console too…it’s good for frustration…well apart from rage quitting as my kids say….I did have the PS3 but their mates live on the Xbone…so I’ve gone down that route 🤔

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Really appreciate it !

      • Heh, I mentioned Scrivener but I don’t use it. I do almost everything on my iPad, so maybe if/when scrivener for iOS comes out…

        • How coincidental is that! Same here. I use Textilus on the iPad, shunt to Dropbox then whack it into Word while Scrivener eyeballs me saying ‘go on, you know you want to.’ One day maybe…or maybe next manuscript…thing is it outputs things into all formats needed for kindle, books, drafts, manuscripts…it’s just the bit inbetween thats got the huge learning curve 🤔

  23. Beyond well done!! Wowza!! I love how you had the conversation flip, very smart!

    • Thank you Deb….I was wondering who would be the first person to spot that. In the original I had Smithy jumping in front of a train realising he was being used to spread the disease. But I kind of liked the parallel with viruses resting cellular control to make more viruses….or in this case take over him entirely…either could work I guess. 😊

      • You’re welcome! I like the path you chose. The train is more expected or ordinary if you will. 🙂

        • Agreed…this way stops him from being able to do that and creates a locked in equivalent before the virus restores him as symptoms take him down… It’s odd through…I started with the train idea but the story, as I find all mine do, wrote it’s own course. I suspect they are probably better for that as I do have crap ideas at times 🙃

          • No ideas are crap…they are just a starting point! Without them you wouldn’t end up where you did!! 🙂

            • A fair point…but it was meant with a modicum of humour whilst looking at the bix marked very bad ideas 🙃

              • Ya I know. I’m on a “don’t say anything negative about yourself” kick…so I’m sharing that philosophy with others…
                In that vein you must get rid of that box!! 😉 Hope your day is enriching!!

                • I find it’s easier to say than do sometimes…like kicking a bad habit. Still, if we can all keep chipping away and making sure folk stay on track with snippets of kindness I’d say (personally speaking) the blogosphere has been a really unexpected asset. Likewise for your day too 😊

                  • Isn’t it amazing how it’s so much easier to be negative than positive. I wonder why that is…hmm maybe I have a new post in my future. 😉
                    You are right about the blogosphere so many amazing and kind people!! I think it’s all the media’s fault regarding the negativity!!

                    • I think that’s often part of our own mental training and part psyche, part nuture and a whole heap of life experience. Unlearning it is the tricky part…a bad habit to kick…dead easy to say but actually doing is a bit more challenging. New post in your future is funny…if you don’t your blog will hibernate 😊 And spot on…my soap box is crammed with annoyance at political rhetoric and media social programming. It’s like they think we have no free will and simply accept what they tell us….bah humbugs says I 🙃

                    • I know! I’ve been working on unlearning it for the past year, I’ve made some progress but….I think too many people do accept what the media says as truth, yikes! That’s two bah humbugs if you please!! Lol… 🙂

                    • No easy fix is there. But I’m told it can be done!! The media thing irks me too….it’s like some people simply believe things without question..same with Google…type it in and believe what it throws up. So much for free will lol 🙃

                    • Oooooh is there some kind of fictional story in there for you…Google creates a cyberbug that takes over the mind when you google something, there is a subliminal message that puts you under their control and soon all these people are under googles control and they take over the world and and and use your imagination to create the rest!!! HA! 🙂
                      You’re welcome!! 😉

                    • Oddly, I have mused upon this as a direction for a story extension of this very piece herein. And a discussion elsewhere on artificial intelligence and a failure to spot it because it would know the base questions asked in advance and thus answer them to hide things…tis food for thought… Thank you 🙃

                    • There are so many directions you can take this!! Exciting..definitely food for thought!! 🙂

                    • I need to start another file for ideas…I can’t keep up anymore 👻

                    • Oh dear!! Such a dilemma… 😉
                      Write faster…lol

                    • Hey, stop with the obvious solutions …that would just eat into my prevarication time 😊

                    • Ok I’m going to have to Google that…Lol. 😱

                    • Excellent, you are so getting the hang of it 👻

                    • From Vocabulary.com:
                      “While the noun prevarication is mostly just a fancy way to say “lie,” it can also mean skirting around the truth, being vague about the truth, or even delaying giving someone an answer, especially to avoid telling them the whole truth. ”
                      Another word could just be FICTION!! Ha. 🙂 Wishing you a day filled with Fiction… 😉

                    • Lol…speak or act in an evasive way….used a lot in mindfulness circles, and writing for that matter, to avoid doing something you don’t want to. In political circles the process is often fiction 🙃

  24. Wow, this is fantastic! Loved the initial uncertainty with the voice and then his acceptance once he started talking to it. It gave me a “28 Days Later” vibe, but actually with subtlety! Loved the reference to King’s work, he is an inspiration of mine, also!
    Thanks for the link, I’m pleased that our sci fi ramblings could provide a cool twist! Very good stuff 😊

    • Most generous my kind friend. I’ve decided linking blogs is a cool idea if I can tie them to a post or source of inspiration. The twist was out of the Astro biology ruminations….why go in all guns blazing when biology is pretty fragile. No idea why I came to use the wifi upload idea but I quite like it. Thank you so much for the feedback 😊

  25. 😀 That was great, Gary! <3 Loved the tension and build up. You included all the words without making it a rambling cheese-fest! Really very impressive. I am looking forward to seeing what comes when you officially jump in the battles (which you WILL do (that's me using the force, so don't ignore it otherwise you'll burst my bubble)). 🙂 I'm going to go tweet your story now.

    • Thanks Rachael…it’s all your fault mind…especially now I’m thinking there’s a flipping story in it!! The sequel is set up for the surfer though. In truth I rather liked having to fit in multiple words. It enhanced the challenge into a deeper think. Only took two days too…well maybe five hours in total. But using the force Jedi? You underestimate the power of the Dark side… Although a tweet too…that’s is so generous 🙃 Might be I could actually join in with the battles after all….thanks so much for the positive vibes. Really appreciate it 😊

      • I’m happy to take the blame for writers writing. 😀 And you should totally explore the store in it. It could be awesome! It might be fun to occasionally do a battle challenge with like three or four words. 🙂 I’ll have to keep that in mind. The Dark Side is no match for the batting of eye lashes and a pretty please or two. ;P The tweet’s just my way of sharing the fun. Now, imagine that poster of Uncle Sam that we’ve all seen: “WE WANT YOU!”

        • You think? That’s two people who say I should add it to my growing project list 🤔 I think it might be fun to do a few one offs collating the previous months prompts. Even if it’s just me doing it like this for a wheeze 🤔
          Oi…thats just not playing fair…none of this feminine bewitching stuff….it’s just not cricket you know! Now when is the Surfer deadline again? Memory like a sieve 🤕

            • There’s a project list?? Why did I not know this before?? And…you are not saying use an entire years worth in one post I trust 😱 Project list….now where would that be I wonder 🤔

              • There’s no project list, perse, we only get the new word the week before, or two weeks before now. It’s just I’ve complied a list of winners and the word weeks they won.

                • Will still show up the words though yes 🙃 Must go right them down and see if it helps Surfer dude on his journeys 😱

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