J.K. Allen @hijinkswriter
Here’s today’s Fiction Friday prompt:
In the future, virtual reality has surged. One of the more controversial uses is in prisons. Whatever crime you committed you have to relive from your victim’s point of view. It’s your first day in prison and you’re terrified because of what you did.
ALIEN THOUGHT PATTERN
by John Yeo
I had put up a strong defense and my lawyer had almost worked a miracle and got me off of the charges. I was shocked when I heard the Judge’s sentence. There was a catch to the decision, I would either have to serve 25 years or this could be reduced to 5 years if I agreed to undergo a new virtual reality procedure. This would entail reliving the crime through the eyes and feelings of the victim. I thought this would be quite easy as I have never had a care what that dirty jumped-up idiot thought at all. I agreed instantly.
It was with a loud ominous clang the doors of the prison closed behind me. When I entered. I was handcuffed to a tall overweight prison officer who manhandled me into a reception area where after going through the usual formalities, I was soon on my way to a special wing of the prison where I would be completing my sentence.
It was here I met my room-mate Sydney.
‘Hi! I’m George,’ I said grinning as I introduced myself. This should be easy, a nice cushy billet in the hospital pretending to comply with all this VR nonsense.’
My new friends face changed visibly as a look of horror replaced the welcoming look he had previously displayed.
‘Hello George, I’m Sydney, I’ve been here for a whole year now. I’m not kidding you when I say I wish I had taken the alternative option. This is the scariest thing I have ever done. I killed a neighbour who got on my nerves. They make you experience every single tiny emotion your victim went through when you killed him. Every day the VR machine repeats the feelings repetitively until you will be praying to share the death in reality. What are you here for?’
I stepped back shocked when I heard this. ‘I killed a man who was abusing my daughter. What do you mean about reliving the crime over and over from his point of view? I just gave the dirty pervert what he deserved. I took the shorter sentence as I thought it would be easy.’
‘That’s what I thought too George but reversing roles is frightening, every little fear and emotion your victim felt will be experienced by you. This is absolute torture.’ Sydney had visibly aged in seconds while he was describing his treatment and his mental state.
George began to feel afraid of what was in store for him, he had made sure the pervert suffered before he had killed him. There was no way he wanted to go through any of that.
‘Sydney you’ve got to help me is there any way I can change my mind? Can I appeal to the authorities? I’m scared of what those men in white coats will do to me.’
‘Sorry George, there’s no way out of this, you will have to suffer the fate of the pervert you killed, over and over again. Believe me, I’ve tried many times in many ways. There’s no escape.’
George put his head in his hands and burst out crying.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to the monthly theme of Fools.
A PANOPLY OF FOOLS
by John Yeo
It was a rather special afternoon at the village drama society, all the members were holding their breath in anticipation. Today was casting day for a performance at the local theatre, rumour had it that some celebrity guests would be attending the auditions.
The play we would be performing was to be William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
I had reluctantly joined the West Chester drama society at the behest of my dear wife Penelope, who is a regular performer. This was to be a first, I have never acted in my life before and I was feeling incredibly nervous about the prospect. I gingerly made myself known to the other members of the group as we entered, The Leering Donkey, a local pub.
‘Hello everyone, I’m Norman, nice to meet you all.’
There were several nods and smiles of welcome and approval from the assembled members of the drama group.
I was a bit unnerved when a tall young man came bustling up and said; ‘Hi and welcome I’m Lawrence. Wow! You will be perfect for the role of Nick. Penelope darling! Well done; your husband will be perfect for the role I have in mind.’
‘Nick?’ I asked, ’I don’t remember a character by the name of Nick in Midsummer Night’s Dream. I read the play last night at home!’
Lawrence smiled and said, ’Don’t worry Norman, the character you have been selected for has an important role to play! I think you will be perfect for the role of Nick Bottom. A very sought after role indeed!’
’BOTTOM!” I exclaimed: “You mean the character with an Asses head. The fool?’
’Norman this is not just any old fool you will be playing here! Bottom is a very important fool. Out of all the panoply of Shakespeare’s fools Bottom is the finest. I think this role could be the start of a well-revered career: Bottom was one of the leading performers in the Mechanicals. I think you will be perfect for this part. Am I not right Penelope darling?’
‘Are you mad? I refuse to get involved with this! Anyway! Who do you think you are calling darling? That’s my wife you are addressing.’ I said, becoming quite annoyed by the sly inferences of this toffee-nosed twit.
’Just a theatrical term lovey. It’s a great pity; Won’t you change your mind? I think you would be perfect for the role; I’m sure you would look exactly right playing the character with an asses head.’
’Clear off!’ I said walking out of the pub.
One month later Lawrence and my wife Penelope had set up home together. I swear if I ever wake up from this horrible dream, I will get my revenge.
Wait until he finds out that Penelope is part Mexican and suffers from Montezuma’s revenge whenever there is a certain variety of food on the table.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved
A REEDSY PROMPT
“I’m trying to find my way. Can you help me?”
‘I’M TRYING TO FIND MY WAY. CAN YOU HELP ME?’
by John Yeo
……….This remark was addressed to a figure who was just visible lying prone amid the debris under the arches close to the riverbank.
A tall man was struggling to keep his balance against the strong wind that had whipped up within the last few minutes. He pulled his smart tailored cloak around his shoulders and turned up the brim on his stovepipe hat. A hat and cloak that was rarely ever seen on the streets anywhere this century. A fashion that had long since disappeared into the realms of history.
‘That stupid coach driver obviously had no idea of where he was going,’ he thought. ‘Here I am stuck in the middle of nowhere.’
Charles Dackens was a gentleman farmer, his business had gone well today and he was heading for the Eagle Star, his favourite coach house. Somehow a thick mist had descended from nowhere and the driver had taken a wrong turning. Sadly the lead horse had lost a shoe and the horse-drawn carriage could go no further. The coachman had given him some garbled directions and he was completely lost.
The day had started roughly for Bengy, he had pains all down his shoulders and in his bones. Harshly, all his days seem to begin this way lately. It hadn’t improved in the hours he had spent on the streets all day. This latest sleeping spot was not up to his usual requirements, here under the arches there were at least ten rough sleepers on any one night. ‘Still, at least there is safety in numbers, unlike my last situation,’ Bengy mused. ‘Those devils were merciless in their drunken taunts, the painful kicks and blows are still ingrained in my memory. I am almost afraid to go to sleep now in case they come around here.’
Bengy jumped at the sound of this voice that seemed to emanate from somewhere in the swirling mists on the street.
‘Eh? What’s that? Who’s there? I have no money, nothing of any value. Please don’t hurt me.’
Charles Dackens stepped forward and doffed his hat to the prone figure.
‘Please don’t be frightened. I said I’m trying to find my way. Can you help me? I find it such a struggle to keep my balance in this high wind, please can you direct me to the Eagle Star coach house. It can’t be far away, I think I took a wrong turning somewhere. I will make it worth your while, I promise you.’
Bengy regarded this strangely dressed figure sleepily, he had had no sleep so far this wild windy night. The mist was now quite thick and he could barely see the man who was asking the question, but the voice sounded friendly enough. Bengy didn’t feel threatened.
‘Sorry Sir, I can’t help you. I don’t get far these days now I’m out of work. Since my dear wife passed away and I started gambling, I’ve lost everything. I could probably lead you to the nearest coach station where you would certainly get directions.’
The stranger said. ‘Thanks my friend, I would gladly make it worth your while. I better introduce myself, I’m Charles, what’s your name?
‘Bengy’s my name, I’m sorry if I seemed suspicious, I took a wrong turning sometime ago and I’ve been struggling to keep my balance ever since. I’m the one who desperately needs some help to find my way.’
At that point, to Bengy’s utter surprise a coach drawn by two magnificent grey horses drew up.
‘Ah, there you are Sir! I’ve been searching everywhere for you. I managed to find a blacksmith and I got the horseshoe fixed.’
Charles Dackens turned to Bengy and said, ‘Jump in Bengy! I’m sure we’ll soon find our way together.’
Bengy didn’t hesitate, and the coach and horses disappeared into the swirling ever-thickening mist.
Copyright ©️ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
A REEDSY PROMPT
Write a myth to explain a mysterious part of life (such as what happens after death).
Image Courtesy of pixabay.com
by John Yeo
I heard it from my Father, who heard it from his Father. The origins of the tale go far back in the mists of time. Apparently, the saying goes that a horse with a horn situated in his nasal area, actually raised his head and spoke. Of course at that particular period in time, nobody understood what he had tried to say.
The Shaman, as the wisest person present, led the creature into a small field attached to his hut. A little later a loud whinny was heard by the assembled villagers. A sound that was enough to send shivers down the spines of the hardest-hearted person there.
Soon the Shaman came into view and sternly said ‘It is finished.’
Wiping the blood from a huge sacrificial knife, he said. ‘We must end the line of animals that presume to be equal to us by talking.’
The Chief of the village then came forward and addressed his subjects. ‘Kill any horse born with a horn. Especially the creatures that have the temerity to attempt to speak.’
There was a murmur of approval and cheers from the assembled villagers.
Following this major event, almost every horse born with a horn was slaughtered.
I say almost, as there were survivors. A group of three of these unusual animals were corralled and secreted in a valley surrounded by dense jungle.
Danito, who lived with his woman and lifelong partner Marita were isolated from the rest of their neighbours and treated these lovely creatures as equals. Marita even learned to speak to them in a basic but quite fluent way.
The Shaman was quite sure that the Chief’s instructions had been carried out and the unusual creatures were gone.
Until the special day, Marita’s Father decided to pay her a visit to celebrate her birthday. Marita knew her Father was a mystical man, although she hadn’t seen him for many years, she welcomed this visit.
Unbeknown to Danito and Marita the person who arrived was the Shaman, who happened to be Marita’s Father.
Suffice to say, when the Shaman had greeted his daughter, there was a huge welcome and a feast was consumed. With wine served from the horns of a strange animal.
‘What meat is this?’ asked the Shaman.
Marita replied, ‘This is the meat of our friendly animals who die and return to us supplying an endless supply of food. We have grown to know them and they have proved there is life after death, by returning in many different forms. Sometimes they come back with wings and fly away. Father, there will always be life after death in one form or another, once we leave this husk of a body behind.’
The Shaman was overwhelmed with this and kept the secret of his daughter’s location.
So the story of life after death began as the slaughter continued and the creatures came back in many forms. Sometimes absolutely unrecognizable.
Thus was born the myth that is fine to eat the meat of animals as they always come back to life after death, in another form.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
A REEDSY PROMPT
‘The urge to dance was overwhelming.’
The Piper’s Legacy
by John Yeo
The two brothers, Donny and Flip were out playing in the fields, wandering around at the bottom of Piper’s Hill. This steep local hill was suffused with local legend and magical tales were told about many mysterious occurrences throughout the ages. The two brothers were as alike as chalk and cheese as the old saying goes. Donny was tall and thin with a shock of black hair and piercing blue eyes; he was the oldest of the two by eighteen months.
Flip was shorter, much to his chagrin, with brown straight hair and brown eyes to match. A daredevil, always game for anything.
The one thing the brothers had in common was their quick wits and friendly demeanor.
Flip was acting as a hunter and racing along ahead of Donny.
‘Slow down Flip, we don’t want to lose track of each other, it’s getting late and we don’t want to get lost.’ shouted Donny.
‘It’s OK, I know exactly where we are. That’s old man Grieves’s farm over there.’ replied Flip. A startled Blackbird flew up as he continued to run, making the familiar squawking sound that is the Blackbirds cry of alarm.
Then he suddenly shouted, ‘Hey Donny, come quick.’
Donny pushed his way through some bushes at the bottom of the hill and suddenly saw Flip standing in front of the strangest wizened wrinkled old man he had ever seen. This man was wrapped up in an incredible multi-green coat, covered with streaks of brown that looked suspiciously like mud. The old man had a twinkle in his green eyes that were almost dazzling when he looked directly at Flip and Donny.
‘Hello,’ he said, What do I see here? Two young escapees from humdrum, looking for adventure? Sit on this handy log here and I will tell you a story.’
Donny sat down straight away and signaled to Flip to join him. Both of the boys were captivated by this strange old man with his merry grin.
The old man picked up an intricately carved wooden tube that was lying at his feet and waved it in front of the boys.
‘You see this lads? This is an ancient tube, in the right hands, it makes the sweetest sounds you have ever heard. I inherited this from its mysterious owner many years ago. When I was your age, our town was plagued with vermin. The town council hired the man who owned this magical tube to get rid of them. A price was agreed and the fun began.’
The man then suddenly picked up the tube, put it to his mouth and blew once. Soon every tree and bush in the vicinity was covered with hundreds of birds of all shapes, sizes, and varieties.’
The strange old man continued.
‘This musical man dressed in a strange multi-coloured costume was leading the thousands of assorted troublesome vermin from the town. My Mother and Father watched with glee, as the Piper worked his magic. Just as he had predicted, his music was hypnotic to the ears of the vermin and his assignment to clear the town was an instant success. I was 7 years old at the time, and the sight of these vermin leaving the town produced loud cheers and much happiness from the townspeople.’
The old man continued, laughing loudly. ‘What do you think happened next?’
Both boys were dumbstruck and simply shrugged their shoulders.
Flip piped up and said, ‘Can I have a blow on that whistle?’
Donny kicked him in the shins and said,
‘Shut up Flip! Please carry on with the story.’
The old man smiled. ‘Well, the mayor decided not to pay the agreed fee and tried to cheat the piper.
The piper was angry at this and blew a strange tune on his whistle. A tune that got into the ears of every child in the town. I remember beginning to dance along with hundreds of my friends. The urge to dance was overwhelming. We followed the piper, dancing to the merriest tune you have ever heard. We danced to this very hill and suddenly two huge cave doors appeared and we all danced inside, to find a Wonderland. A place where dreams come true in the blink of an eye.’
The boys were overwhelmed with curiosity.
‘Why have you come back?’ Asked Donny.
Then Flip interjected. ‘Can we come with you to see this place?’
With a shake of his head and a wave of his hand, the ancient traveler suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Then Flip bent down and picked something up, something long, tubular, intricately carved, with holes in. ‘Look, Donny, he’s left the pipe behind.’
Donny grabbed the pipe and put it to his lips but nothing happened. Flip tried to get a sound from the flute without success.
Both boys then returned home with their treasure. They tried many times over the years to get a sound from this pipe, without any success.
The boys didn’t let on to anyone about their magical meeting with the little old man on Pipers Hill.
However magic certainly came from the meeting as Donny became a talented well paid Flautist and Flip made a name for himself by playing the Saxophone in a famous orchestra.
The brothers became renowned as a duo that rocked the jazz world.
Written by John Yeo, (With apologies to ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin.’)
© ~ All rights reserved.
Prompt…Outside the Window: What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?
Image ~ Courtesy of pixabay.com
Through the Prism
by John Yeo
“Quickly Sister Mary: What’s it like? I fancy the ultraviolet light from the sunshine will make me feel so good. Draw the curtains, I can almost taste the wind on my lips. Does the rain really wash away people’s troubles? Sister Clementine was reading to me the other day and the book said water can be holy and miracles have been known to have happened if you bathe in cool clear crystal water.”
Sally had been bedridden for the past two years of her young life following a strange reaction to an accident. A paraplegic in the days of early Anglo Saxon Britain didn’t have an easy life, even the only child of an important tribal chieftain. The Monastery was charged with her care and she had been brought up in the total care of the Nuns and had never been allowed to leave her room.
Sister Mary sighed as she quickly drew the curtains.
“Yes of course Sally. You sound cheery today. Are you feeling better?”
“I can feel colours and sense beautiful sounds that seem to filter through a window made from diamond glass. The power of this prism reflects the sunshine into a healing rainbow. Please Sister Mary, can I be carried outside to lie in the healing rays of the sun?”
“I don’t know darling; we will have to ask the Mother Superior and the Healer. If it was my decision I would have to agree and we could make the arrangements immediately.”
“Please ask them for me! I had a dream of a beautiful storm. A storm that filled the sky with fire and awful crashes of thunder. Cleansing water and eternal fire that burns away pain and drenches the soul in healing power.”
Sally shouted these words which seemed to bounce off the cruel, cold, hard stone walls.
Sister Mary was shaken at this and cried, “Sally, calm down, I will fetch the Mother Superior and ask her permission for you.”
Then she quickly left the room.
Almost immediately a bright blue light lit up the room, an ethereal light that touched every corner of the innumerable atoms that made up Sally and her surroundings.
Sally smiled as she rose from the bed of animal furs and skins and walked away from the monastery. Never looking back and never to be seen again. Search parties were sent out by her Father, desperate to find his Warrior Princess.
Copyright ©️Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved