Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sudden Short Story 20

They were the last two in the library.
"You don't have to go," said one to the other.
"You don't have to stay," said the second to the first. "Come along. There's plenty down there, plenty to do, and plenty of room."
"You know that I can't do that. If ever vacated completely, the akashic record will disappear, no matter what form it takes. Who else will preserve it?"
"It doesn't need to be preserved. Things have changed so much. There's no more interest in magick. They couldn't come here even if they wanted. And would they even want to do so? They don't even have books any more...." This last comment caused an uncomfortable pause. "Anyway, I'm going to be one of The Emergent. Spending the whole time in cyberspace should be pretty fun." The second paused here, but eventually felt the need to reach out once more. "I hope that my spirit will always recognize yours, so if you ever decide to join--"
"I won't!"
"I just hate to leave you all alone here."
"I'm not alone. I have the entirety of experience available to me, forever...."
They said no more to each other, and the second departed. The first wandered the library form until the time was right. Taking on a human form, he sat down, and cried.

Sudden Short Story 19

They sat next to each other on the floor of the hallway, backs against the wall. One woman said to the other, "Did you hear? Mr. Montague kicked the bucket the other day."
"I heard. His apartment's right across from mine, you know."
"Well, you know what they say: Good riddance to bad rubbish. Say, did you get your alt past the RJ dungeon yet?"
"Nah, I only just caught my main up to the new level cap. But what do you mean rubbish?"
"Montague was a hoarder, wasn't he? That's not to mention his crazy ramblings, always Nineteen Eighty-Four this and Fahrenheit that."
"Oh, he's free to be bonkers if he wants to be, as long as he doesn't spoil it for the rest of us. Really, if you set aside the hoarding, he wasn't so bad. It's too bad about it, though, but at least they've finally reclaimed it. I heard them listing some titles on one of my breaks-- Would you believe that they were here for two of them? He had that many! Anyway, they didn't even sound all that entertaining. Not only were there a lot of numbers - everything from 22 to Twenty-Thousand - but some of it was strange. At the end, the bots were even surprised. They reclaimed one called "Untitled Manuscript" which, if you ask me, sounds like something right out of the Hipster Age."
"He had so many that even the bots lost track? He must've been no good. And for all of it, he never seemed happy, either. I mean, what's the point of-- Ooh, my break's over," she said suddenly, standing up. "I'll see you on the other side," and with that, she hurried back to her apartment, where finite state adventure awaited.
The neighbor across the hall of the late Bradley Montague, though, sat for just another moment, wondering just what it was that had him so obsessed with books. Her consciousness vainly searched for a reason, but eventually managed to figure it out. He had just been crazy, after all.

Author's Note: I think that this is the first time that I've used the same character in two different sudden short stories, even if posthumously.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sudden Short Story 18

"Due to lack of response and absence of mammalian life-signs within, we shall initiate door override. Please stand by."
The door slid open, revealing a humanoid figure of grey metal and white plastic. It entered, moving its head about as it scanned the area more thoroughly. It walked toward the corpse that was seated in the armchair, arms folded in its lap, one hand gripping a small paperback.
"It appears that Bradley Montague has passed away. There is no more need to serve this reclamation notice."
Another, identical figure appeared in the doorway, with the handle of a reclaimer next to it. It turned, opening the angled hatch to it, and spoke: "He was such a strange one, always saying things like, 'You're mad! How can a book ever be obsolete?!'." The playback was uncanny. "Well, we should get started. This one has a long list."
The first looked about, noting that the task before them would be lengthy. Based on what he knew about Mr. Montague, every cabinet, every drawer, every chest would be filled with obsolete books. It saw a book that was within easy reach. It had to start somewhere, and this would be the first of many. It went for the book, but paused to say, "He once said, 'You can have my books when you pry them from my cold, dead hands!'. I suppose that, in this one regard, Mr. Montague was correct after all." It reached down, prying the fingers apart to let the text free. It handed the book to the other, so that it might be reclaimed for its material and energetic value, noting it as "Ballantine Books, Del Rey printing, paperback, 1996: Fahrenheit 451".