Three dozen boys shifted nervously at the starting line as the Howling Terror snorted and stamped behind its gate.
All the boys except Usias had trained their lives to outrun the Terror. Those who succeeded would earn citizenship on Cadillac-9. Those who failed, died.
Usias stood facing the door that held the monster back. Another boy asked, “What are you doing? Prepare to run.”
Usias smiled and pulled a knife out from under his shirt as the Terror’s gate began to roll back.
“No, thank you,” Usais said. “While you were training to run, I was training to fight.”
Author’s Note: I’ve always liked intelligent, creative people that thought outside the box. But more than that, I’ve always admired that select few that also had the courage to carry their difficult realizations through to realization. Usias is a member of that tribe and I’d be happy to meet him.
Exploring a new moon, Captain Vasquez’s crew accidentally drilled into the side of a space vessel buried deep underground. Thousands of giant crystalline spiders spilled out the hole and began spinning fiber optic webs over the moon’s valleys.
Once complete, the web network began broadcasting its coordinates into outer space, presumably calling more spacefaring arachnids forth.
Their mission accomplished, the spiders began to eat.
They started with Vasquez’s landing craft. Next they went for the drill.
“They prefer electronic things, not flesh,” Helmsley said with relief.
“Yes.” Vasquez laughed grimly. “Electronic things such as our space suits.”
Author’s Note: Really, this one is all about the crystalline spiders and their fiber optic webs. The image popped into my head some time ago and never left.
Carlos loved the mechanical squirrels so much that he built two dozen.
He’d wind them up and giggle to himself as they ran around the apartment, scaled his bookshelves, and danced until the tension of their springs spun out.
It was great fun.
After two weeks, however, things went terribly wrong.
The squirrels never stopped. Hour after hour they skittered over Carlos, tormented him with their incessant chattering, and chewed up all his shoelaces.
After five consecutive nights without sleep, lying on the edge of insanity, Carlos realized what had gone wrong: the squirrels had learned how to wind themselves.
Author’s Note: I have a great fondness for watching the frenetic activity of squirrels. It’s as if they’ve mastered insanity as a survival trait, and it never ceases to make laugh. I’ve always imagined, however, that eventually they would start to drive ME insane, if there were too man of them around.