Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sudden Short Story 64

They sat together, outside, watching as the sunlight played against the red and orange leaves of the darkly-barked trees, and the creek trickled down the mildly-stepped valley where they'd made their home.  They had some warm, spiced soft apple cider, a favorite of his.  She moved closer to him, closing her eyes to better hear the sounds of the still forest.
"I like this one," she said.  And they were silent for a few moments, until a thought recurred to her.  "Are you sure that it wasn't hard to allow time to pass while also creating situational permanence?  I'm not up on the latest quantemporal physics, but it seems like you'd have to work at cross-purposes to yourself to get it going."
"I didn't say that creating the time bubble wasn't hard," he answered.  "It certainly wasn't the hardest part, though."
"So which was the hardest part?" she asked him when he'd stopped.
He took a sip of his cider, and thought aloud. "Well, let's see.  Reverse time travel wasn't invented until the war, so I had to survive until then.  It took several iterations to win the war, though, and I had to make sure that I saw it through without paradox.  Then there was that whole psychotemporal issue - I basically wound up stuck in a fractal version of Channelwood for eternity, and had to think my way out of that.  Then, of course, we had to develop pre-point reverse time travel, to be able to bubble any moment from before Earth was devastated by the war." 
"And where was I during all this?" she asked. 
"You know, I'm not sure, it's been so long.  You were probably dead or something.  Or was I dead?  Well, whichever it was, it got fixed.  But yeah, I'd say that the hardest part was avoiding paradoxes during the war." 
"Not the Channelwood part?" 
"Nah, that was easy:  I had eternity, after all." 

Sudden Short Story 63

"As we enter the next room," said the tour guide, "you'll notice a small pyramid like the one we're standing in.  In fact, it's an exact scale model, exterior erosion notwithstanding, but that isn't the most interesting feature.  Unlike any figure, real or mythical, in ancient South America, this figure of a seated human is covered entirely in metallic armor.  Though the statue's armor bears some resemblance to medieval European plate mail, the design doesn't match any Old World armors, and the artist's motivations for this peculiar imagery are lost to us. 
"The inscriptions in this room, however," she continued, gesturing to the glyphs upon the walls, "do appear to tell the legend surrounding the figure.  Our best translation is that he is a legendary warrior, whose obligation to protect the world was so great that he will slumber, without sustenance, until such time as the world needs him to save it.  So, it has been nicknamed 'The Throne Room of the Ancient Guardian.'"  
The tour guide noticed a few stifled giggles among her audience, which was certainly a novel reaction.  These same giggles, however, seemed to also awaken a woman who was heretofore immersed in her phadlet.  She looked up, seeing past the tour guide, who also turned around at that time.  They beheld a little girl, sitting upon that statue like it was such a Santa Claus. 
"Tammy," she said in that harsh whisper that a parent uses when she wishes to yell at a child while remaining quiet.  "I'm so sorry about this," she said to the tour guide as she passed her to collect her daughter, who appeared to be aware that she'd be scolded, as the smile had left her face, but was not leaving the statue. 
The mother and the tour guide ascended the small pyramid, after moving aside a length of velvet rope.  "Mommy?" whispered the girl.  She was shivering at this point.  Before her mother could quite reach her, she said, with a tear in her eye, "Mommy, the statue's breathing." 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sudden Short Story 62

"Karl Schmidt," spake the judge, "I have heard the evidence against you.  I am now prepared to hear any final rebuttal that you may have in this matter." 
"Herr Eichler," began the accused, "my accuser, and the so-called witnesses, have provided what seems to pass for evidence that I am some kind of witch, but I have to wonder if they aren't doppelgangers themselves.  Though they have the semblance of my neighbors, they appear to know me not at all, or else they'd know that I am no fool.  What might make any man suspect that dealing with the devil will produce any good, even for only himself?  Shall everything that I touch turn to gold, that I might starve without nourishment?  Shall I become immortal, that I must outlive my every friend?  Or shall I have a beguiling presence, and never know whether any friend is really true? 
"During your deliberation, you plan to ask yourself whether I am a witch, but you can answer that simply by asking yourself whether I am a fool."