Welcome to SIX DAYS OF ILLUSION, the countdown to the release of the illusion exotic, my first short story collection.
Let's kick things off with the first story in the collection.
"SPACESHIP NAME" SYNOPSIS
The end of the world is bad enough, but its worse when you’re a kid. For little Anant, hope comes in the most unlikely of forms, the voice of Captain James T. Kirk. However, in Spaceship Name, hope does not come without a price.
The open road and coffee are excellent catalysts for a writer. Like lots of my ideas, Spaceship Name came to me while driving on a long trip. I don't know why, perhaps its the way the highway can put you in a trance. This was one of those projects that bloomed almost fully formed in my mind and developed quickly.
I wrote Spaceship Name while hammering out Tears of the Dead, my second Chronicles of Fu Xi novel. I wanted to include it in the DeadPixel Publications collection Terrible Cherubs, but the themes didn't quite mesh. Instead, I shopped it to a few magazines, got some nicely written personal rejection letters, and ultimately decided to use it as my lead-off story in the illusion exotic.
One of the themes of Spaceship Name is artificial intelligence (AI). Lately, lots of people like writing how AI will be mankind's undoing. I'd like to imagine a future where technology, especially AI, will not only save our species, but help salvage our humanity.
Hey, call me an optimist.
Here's a sample from Spaceship Name. Enjoy.
"SPACESHIP NAME" SAMPLE
A policeman stepped into view and peered into the back seat window. He looked a little like one of his Rescue Warriors Action Figures. Anant wondered if he had big boots. Rescue Action Figures always wore big boots, so Anant wanted big boots, too. But Mommy said they wouldn’t fit under his braces. Except this policeman also reminded him of a Star Wars storm trooper, the black ones who fly TIE fighters, not the white ones marching around with guns. He had something covering his face like Darth Vader. If the policeman didn’t make Mommy cry, and Daddy so quiet, Anant would ask to touch the big, shiny gun slung over his shoulder.
But the policeman glared at Anant behind that scary mask, and that made his stomach knot up even more.
I bet this policeman doesn’t have big boots. Only good guys have big boots.
Then he pointed his big, black scary gun at Mommy. “Turn this vehicle around, now.”
“Please, we must get my son to safety. They are expecting us at the Embarkation Point. Call them, they will tell you,” Daddy’s voice cracked.
“Drive,” Mommy whispered urgently into Daddy’s ear. “He won’t shoot.”
“Sit back and shut up,” Daddy hissed.
He’d never heard Mommy and Daddy talk that way to each other, even when she got historical. The knot in Anant’s tummy turned to queasiness, queasiness to nausea. He wanted a drink of water, but fear kept him from asking.
“Turn around now. Last warning.” With a metallic click, the policeman pulled something back on the big black gun.
“Mommy?” he whispered, but she didn’t hear him. The bad feeling in his stomach started to creep into his throat. He’d had already peed himself. If he threw up, Mommy would be even more cross.
A horrible smell wafted in from the open window, one Anant instantly recognized - The Look Away Smell, the most horrible smell in the whole wide world.
He smelled it before, in the backyard during the height of last summer, not long after the Bad Moon first appeared in the sky and everyone started whispering and acting different. The hot, gagging reek drifted from beyond the chain link fence in the neighbor’s back yard. It invaded Anant’s mouth and nostrils, making it hard to breathe. Daddy repeatedly told him to “look away” and go back inside, but Anant couldn’t push his wheelchair fast enough over the soft grass. The smell made him throw up and chased him all the way in the house. Mommy cried and made him some Kool-Aid, while Daddy made a lot of phone calls. After that, Mommy and Daddy seldom took Anant outside.
And now the Look Away Smell filled the car. Anant slid lower below the blanket, covering his nose and breathing through his mouth.
If you liked what you read, you can click here to pre-order the illusion exotic for only .99 cents. After 22 April the price goes up, so buy early and buy often. Please tell your friends by a like, share and tweet!
Check back to tomorrow for day 2 of SIX DAYS OF ILLUSION and another story from the illusion exotic.