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Latest Stories

July 23, 2022
Flash Fiction L Christopher Hennessy

The Following Story Is Pure Fiction

It’s safe to say I was always a handsome man from a good Christian family and I was well respected in the community and people shook my hand and said graciously, “ Hi there, O’Brien! “ My wife was a beautiful tall blonde of Icelandic ancestry and she thought…
July 23, 2022
General Stories Peter Greenhall

First Boxing Match

‘This is it,’ I thought, all my training, all dedication to the sport was put on the line. The sense of anxiety was huge, it felt difficult just to move forward given the amount of apprehension I was experiencing. The boxing ring is a very lonely place and is…
July 23, 2022
Horror Stories Tanha Emita

The Salt Made

The brine beds are soaked with spume- overhead suspended in the sky of silvery ash. The wind announced forthcoming of an unknown storm- atmosphere here, is hyaline. Salt farmers working in continuity. Far in the landscape children were playing by the…
July 23, 2022
Romance Stories L Christopher Hennessy

You've Come A Long Way Baby

Last time I saw her was today. Last time I saw her the way I remembered her was the day I went away. She was beautiful then as she is now and there’s no denying it. She was waiting in the courtroom with her mother and I was sitting in the dock and the…
July 19, 2022
Romance Stories Safi Torva

The Magenta Subtraction

The large gallery containing the museum’s restoration facilities had only a few workers as the summer holiday had taken its toll and left only two people working carefully on their respective projects. The room, mainly lit by natural light through very large…
July 09, 2022
General Stories Lana M. Rochel

The Metaphysics of One Life

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how. Friedrich Nietzsche Life plays White and Pain plays Black, as if in chess – two opponents determined to proceed and win the game for ‘patient’s life. “A chessboard” is set up once someone’s deemed to have a…
July 09, 2022
Horror Stories Samantha Brooke

Scarecrows

Melissa opened her eyes and stared up at the unfamiliar ceiling. She listened to the sound of Daniel's slow, deep breathing beside her as she groggily recalled where she was. In their brand new bedroom of their brand new house. The house which they had moved…
July 09, 2022
Romance Stories Donald Guadagni

True Love

He dreamed the dream and in his dream, he saw her as she danced across ocean waves, drifting sedately over summer fields, and chasing dandelion fluff and hummingbirds’ songs amongst the starlight morning glories. His heart ached to find her, in rapture of…
June 23, 2022
Flash Fiction Trishna

Perseverance

A particular event is not shaping itself the way it can, what should one do? A particular incidence is not evolving the way it can, what should one do? A particular episode is embroiling uncertainty and rage time and again, what should one do? Should one give…
June 23, 2022
General Stories Tanha Emita

I Am A Grey Horse

I was born in a rambling barn. A place so filthy, where even horses like me would spit in disgust. As I was coming out of my mother's womb, I felt the earth-shaking. I slipped with a soft thud and loud grunt. Mother described to me the peculiarities afterward…
June 23, 2022
Horror Stories Robert Pettus

Taxidermy Soul

The traffic wasn’t moving a bit, so we decided to park on the street and hoof it the remaining two blocks. We walked the cracked, dampening sidewalk with a purpose. This was a party street – directly bordering the University of Cincinnati campus. The…
June 23, 2022
General Stories Ana Vidosavljevic

Bee Hummingbird

I was born prematurely. I got a bit restless in that tiny egg and rushed to see the world outside. I admit it was not wise. Anyway, I was outside, and I was not sure how long I would be in that beautiful, colorful, musical, charming world. Therefore, I needed…

The appointment was at ten. She checked her watch. It was five to ten. Any moment now, her name would be called.

The baby wasn’t due for another six months, but she could already see how he – she was sure it was a he- would look like. The square face, set jaw, hooked nose; exactly like his father. Alex. It had been nearly three years now since he was declared missing in action, and she still couldn’t shake off the feeling that he would be waiting at home when she returned, holding a cup of tea for her and with an impish grin on his face.

The nursebot’s voice brought her back from memory lane. It was standing at the end of the corridor, its faultless white steel matching that of the surrounding tiled walls. On the large screen positioned on its chest was a photo of hers and her name. It called out once again, in that mechanical female voice, “Sarah”.

Sarah got up. “Good morning, Madam” said the bot, “Please, follow me”. It turned 180 degrees on its wheels and rolled off. Sarah followed it and entered a short corridor, leading to the doctor’s room.

“What are you?” Sarah couldn’t resist asking. It was a little hobby of hers to ask that to every robot she had an opportunity to speak to.

“I’m Jenny”, it said not breaking stride-roll- “Issue number ISR1800928, Nursebot, manufactured by Robotronics United, Pune branch. Programmed with basic navigation, speech recognition and necessary cognitive abilities.”  Sarah felt satisfied.

They had reached the end of the corridor. The nursebot opened the door and led her in.

Dr. Della was seated behind her desk, going through the giant monitor placed to her left. She was dark skinned woman, wearing a starch white lab coat, a stethoscope hanging around her neck. (Sarah couldn’t help thinking that the stethoscope was possibly the only instrument to have survived the brunt of time.) She had known Dr. Della ever since she had approached her seven months ago for the Intra Uterine Artificial Embryo Implantation procedure using Alex’s stem cells. Approached her for the baby. For Alex.

“Good morning Sarah” Della smiled brightly as she shook hands with her, and turning to the nursebot said, “Jenny, send me Sarah’s results.” The nursebot turned to leave.

“So,” she asked, “how’s the baby coming along?” Sarah smiled indulgently.

“I think he is going to be a naughty boy” she said, Della chuckled. An awkward moment of silence followed, neither knowing what to say. Sarah looked out of the window to her right. The charred remains of her city after the Great War greeted her. It no longer scared her.

It was Sarah who finally broke the silence.“I’m actually tensed doctor. What if the EFST results…” she trailed off.

“Don’t worry Della. I’ve already told you about this. The media is just exaggerating the entire thing. Only about one in a thousand live births are disallowed on basis of the test. You needn’t worry.”

“But Della, you know, forcing an abortion on basis of a test…” she was cut off by a sharp beep from the monitor.

“Lets know firsthand”, said Della smiling broadly as she clicked open the email which had Sarah’s test result. Sarah felt a shiver running up her spine.

Della kept on smiling as she scrolled through the results, giving a running commentary, “All organs are fully formed, no external deformities, heart, liver, kidney check; blood count normal, IQ ratio 7, he’s intelligent, it’s a he by the way”, Sarah felt a small smile creeping to her lips as Della continued, “Genetic quotient. Basic amino structure normal, pyridines and pyrimidines check. Nucleotide analysis. Melanin formation 68%, cancer risk 13%, asthma 12.44%, all within range and heart node dysfunction…” Della was suddenly quiet, her face became grave, and in a small voice she added, “83.55%.”

Sarah felt like someone had run an iron rod through her. Over the past few weeks she had agonized over all these values, and knew the acceptable values by heart. It was 45% for HND. Her baby had failed the EFST.

“I am sorry Sarah.” Della said in a quiet voice, not making eye contact with her, “We have to abandon the baby.”

Sarah felt the adrenaline rushing through her. Panic. Fear. Desperation.

“Della, please. I’m sure we can work this out. He… he has a twenty percent chance of making it.” Della was slowly shaking her head, Sarah was pleading, “Please Della, there is a way. I’ll rush him to the hospital if he so much as sneezes. Please Della. Please.”
“I’m sorry Sarah,” Della repeated, “You know the rules. The society doesn’t have enough resources to take such a risk. The War drained us to an extent we didn’t anticipate and we are running out of fuel and food way too fast. You know all this; you know that is why the Embryo Fitness Screening Test was introduced in the first place. Try to understand.”

Sarah was standing now, one hand protectively placed over her womb. There were tears in her eyes. “Please Della. We’ve known each other for so long. You know me. You know, he’s all I have, all I’m living for.”

“I’m sorry Sarah.” said Della once again as the door flew open and two Securitybots came rushing in. Their stainless steel muscles easily secured Sarah, lifted her and strapped her onto a nearby bed. She was kicking and screaming all the while.

“Don’t worry Sarah” said Della as she filled a syringe with a yellowish liquid from a bottle, “we shall erase all your memories of the baby, remove all the unnecessary hormones from your body. You wouldn’t even remember there was such a child.”

“Please Della, please” Sarah was shouting, struggling pointlessly against the straps which held her, the straps which had held countless others before her. Tears were flowing freely down her face.

“Please Della, don’t you have heart?”

“No Sarah, I don’t. I follow the rules.” Della pushed the syringe to let the air out.

“WHAT ARE YOU?” Sarah screamed at her as Della came closer, the syringe poised and ready.

“I am Della” she replied, “Issue number ISR10089842, Doctorobot, manufactured by Robotronics United, Pune branch.” She-it- looked Della in the eye before continuing, “Programmed with advanced motor skills, communications, AI, and emotional response. Programmed to follow logic. Not the heart.”

Sarah felt the sting of the needle.

 

 

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