ALIEN THOUGHT PATTERN

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.

~~~~~

virtual perception-3110810_960_720virtual-reality-3039745_960_720ALIEN 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

 

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OSWALD ISLAND

A REEDSY PROMPT

You are an explorer who’s just discovered a new island.’

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OSWALD ISLAND

by John Yeo

   The press conference was well attended, with representatives from several of the national newspapers and a few reporters from regional papers.
There was a presentation of sketches and photographs on display of a substantial rocky landmass located in a sunlit sapphire sea. There was a large indentation in the centre that was a natural lake with a channel leading to a bay that formed a natural harbour.

‘First things first Ladies and Gentlemen of the press. My name is Captain Oswald, I own that luxury yacht moored in the harbour. We have just returned from the Indian Ocean, where my island is located.’

Mike Molloy, an ebullient Irish reporter employed by the Daily Torment, a national tabloid newspaper. ‘You are referring to this discovery as your island
Captain? How can you lay claim to an island for yourself. Surely you should be claiming it for the nation?’

‘My friend I have discovered this paradisiacal island, exactly 101 miles off the coast of Tango, located in the South Pacific Ocean. Even now as we speak several members of my crew are in residence guarding my property. I have laid claim to this new land and I propose to sell shares to anyone interested in the future development of my land.’

There was a sudden loud general hubbub as questions were fired at Captain Oswald, a short, stocky man with a shock of sandy coloured hair.
A large familiar-looking man raised his hand and shouted.
‘Peter Swinburne, from the Daily Scare. Supposing you are overruled by the government of Tango and the island is confiscated. How do your investors know they will be able to get their money back?’

‘Mr Swinburne, my word is my bond and I guarantee to refund all monies that will have been invested in my property. I have the financial backing of a leading worldwide firm in the futures investment industry. This will be a first class investment with the minimum of risk. I have been assured by a member of the Tangoan government that this new island is just outside their territorial boundaries and is open for development. I have agreed to allow the Tangoan government a full half share of any future profits.’

Another voice shouted a question, this time it was a lady reporter. ‘Geraldine South, from the Seaview Independent local paper. I would like to know how much of these future profits will be invested locally in these Isles.’

Captain Oswald smiled and replied. ‘There is no question that this government will receive substantial funds in exchange for protection from marauding pirates and gangsters. I have been assured this is possible and a feasibility study is underway as we speak. Of course the bulk of our trade will be with tourists and businesses from here. Holidaymakers will flock there, the ultra-wealthy will build their homes there.’

A tall distinguished looking man then stepped up and said,
‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I have to bring this press conference to a close now. I am a lawyer representing Captain Oswald. I would appreciate it, if all further questions could be directed to my office. I propose to leave a pile of my address cards at the back of this hall.

The next few weeks were exciting as far as Captain Oswald was concerned. Money was flooding in from interested investors as speculators queued to get a piece of the action. The funds were quickly channeled into building projects and advertising.

Captain Oswald had returned to his island and made the trip back several times. He now worked from a plush office in the centre of the financial hub of a city on the mainland.
When the first warnings started to come through, Captain Oswald was attending a plethora of meetings with his new partners and the banks.
The first newsflash was seemingly insignificant, just a suggestion that there was a hurricane due to touch the coastline of his private island.
The news came through as Captain Oswald had a meeting scheduled with the press to announce a public naming ceremony of his new island. Unsurprisingly the island was to be named Oswald island and would be officially recognised by all concerned.

The reports of the power and devastation caused by the hurricane in the South Pacific Ocean became more and more alarming. The weather forecasters had named this powerful storm, Hurricane Esmeralda, a name that would forever be indelibly imprinted on the mind of Captain Oswald.

Within days the Captain and his crew were travelling at full speed towards the Tango islands in the South Pacific following a spate of reports of the devastation and the loss of life caused by Hurricane Esmeralda. There was a lack of news after a while due to the power lines that had been severely damaged by the storm.
Several days later they were approaching the point where Oswald Island was located but to the horror and surprise of the Captain there wasn’t any sign of his island.

Captain Oswald screamed to his first mate, ‘Barnicle, where’s the island?’

‘I dunno Captain, it should be right in front of us.’

‘Have you got the right coordinates man?’

‘Yessir! Positively Sir.’

It took a few seconds for the dreadful realisation that Oswald Island was gone and would never be seen again. Washed away and destroyed by Hurricane Esmeralda, the island was now at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The Captain took this discovery surprisingly philosophically.

‘Well life’s a gamble, they say things come and go, Nature provides and Nature takes away. C’mon Barnacle, head for Tango, I need to cash in my chips.’

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

ORPHAN

This article was written for “QUINTET,” our Parish magazine, requesting submissions on the theme of  ~ What’s in a Name?

 

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

WHAT’S IN A NAME

ORPHAN

by John Yeo

   Our name is the handle by which we are handled.
The childhood is a time of a happy innocent vulnerability. My early childhood was spent in idyllic peaceful happiness, I was an only child brought up by two wonderful parents. Tom, my father was a gentleman farmer. This self-styled title always amused him as he worked from dawn to dusk on the land.

    “I’m a farmer and a gentleman, ask my wife Molly, how gentle I am.”
My Mother, Molly would gently smile and nod in agreement.

  What’s in a name? Certainly a contradiction, as far as my Dad was concerned.

    “Aren’t gentlemen supposed to be rich and lead a luxurious, cushioned wealthy life?” I asked grinning. At eight years old I was as sharp as a razor and very cheeky.

    “Come on Tom-junior eat your tea. Mind you finish those greens they are the secret of good health.” said my Mum smiling broadly.
Mum was a hard worker helping Dad on the farm. She somehow found the time to support the local WI. Sometimes the farmhouse would resound with her ladies busy chatting together, earnestly discussing matters of great importance.

   Such was our family’s happy life until the day of that terrible road accident that changed my life forever. We were out for a Sunday drive to the next village to visit my Uncle Bob when a huge tractor pulling a trailer full of heavy logs crashed into our tiny family car. My Mum and Dad were killed instantly and I was trapped…. Upside down in the back seat; still alive.

    At that moment my life was to change forever, I instantly became an eight-year-old orphan and a problem for the Social services. Uncle Bob and Aunt Millie took care of me for a few weeks but they were unable to make this a permanent arrangement as they had four children and very little space.

    I had become an orphan, now this is a name that due to our vivid Victorian literature has become irrevocably linked to poverty and pity. A state of unwantedness that generated much hardship and sorrow.

     I was fostered by several kindly families at the start of my new station in life and finally, I was adopted by a nice family.

    Mr. and Mrs. Smithers and their four children, all boys older than me, lived in a huge sprawling house in an acre of beautiful gardens with woods and fields stretching towards the horizon.

     The next few months passed in a blur as I quickly became accustomed to my new station in life. It was a slow degenerative process as I became that orphan, who was not really one of us. Quite unworthy to be a real part of the family. I was bullied by the children and ignored by their parents except for when I was expected to wait on them.

     “That boy will do the work! The orphan will clear the table!” said Mrs. Smithers.

 Somehow I had become a person without a name, a legal slave, fed and watered and expected to wait on the family hand and foot.

      ‘The orphan will do the job!” Was the favourite saying of the oldest son, a cruel vindictive fellow.

  I became insecure and frightened to get up in the morning. I refused to go to school in case I said something that would get me in trouble at home later.

     Eventually, I ran away and made my way back to my childhood family home. I was shy and reluctant to knock on the front door and I made my way around the back. A dog started barking loudly and a lady who I vaguely recognised, exclaimed;

    “Hello young Tom junior; what are you doing here? Come inside and have some tea.”
  At that I burst into tears, this was the first time I had encountered such familiar kindness for ages.

     “You must recognise me I am Rose, we used to come here for our WI meetings to see your Mum. My hubby and I bought the farm. Don’t cry Tom, come inside you are welcome.”

    That was five years ago now. I shudder at the memories of that period I spent as just a nameless orphan.

    I now live here in my old/new home with kindly new parents who have made me welcome. I feel secure in the knowledge that there is always an essence of our departed loved ones around guiding us in spirit.

 Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

FICTION NOTICE
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

ANXIOUS PEACE

A prompt response for Master Class ~ ANXIOUS PEACE

http://ourwriteside.com/anxious-peace/

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Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

ANXIOUS PEACE

By John Yeo

The fighting was bloody, countryman against countryman. Explosions were tearing the country to bits. The stench of death and blood was so close it turned the stomachs of the most battle-hardened warriors.

   The stone farmhouses were dilapidated and dirty providing a temporary lodging place for the refugees from the war.

  Amy’s husband was away fighting on the borders.

   The birth pains were terrible Amy struggled and pushed as hard as she could, but the child refused to enter the world. This reluctance was causing a great deal of anxiety to the village midwife who was begging her to really try hard.

    “Push darling, push harder. Your baby is almost here!”

  Finally, a healthy baby was delivered, closely followed by another.

    “Two!” exclaimed the village midwife. “You have two wonderful strong young twin boys.”

   Sadly there was no reply from the mother. It was a difficult birth and the midwife was unable to save Amy, who died from a massive hemorrhage.

  A fire broke out in the kitchen of the farmhouse where the two young men were born. Villagers rushed to help the rescuers evacuate the inhabitants.
The guns were getting closer, the fighting was fierce. This internecine war had been going on for years. The leader said we would have to evacuate our homes and leave.

   The refugees suffered much deprivation and hardship as they traveled across the country seeking sanctuary.

  The babies were separated and taken to different parts of the war-torn country.
One brother, Amin went north to a small township, where the war quickly changed the ruling faction and he was raised as his dead father’s enemy. A father he would never meet.
Emir was dragged south and raised by a family loyal to the reigning powers.

   They grew to manhood separately, raised amid the hardship and deprivation both quickly becoming strong quick adults.

   There was a gasp from the assembled hierarchy when the two leaders of the warring factions met.
The two sides met to begin a peace process. Separate histories, separate beliefs. Yet brothers by birth who would begin to try to do the seemingly impossible and strive to begin life in an anxious peace.

   They were identical, in looks. Two people who had never met, yet they had risen to command two different factions. Fighting the same war on opposite sides. Peace negotiations began between twin siblings separated at birth who were both chasing the same dream from different parts of the country.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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THE BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

A prompt response to this photo from ~ The Dark Room on Our Write Side

http://ourwriteside.com/a-bridge-to-nowhere/

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THE BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

by John Yeo

  Rambling along a pretty lane bordered by tangled shrubs, Megan and I were enjoying an unplanned afternoon walk through the glorious countryside.

The hot Springtime sun shone between fluffy clouds that skittered across a clear blue sky. Hedge sparrows and small finches darted to and fro across the path.

    “The birds are building their nests in these thick bushes, to raise their families,” I remarked to Megan.

Nodding she said, “Just look at those pretty yellow primroses growing along the wayside banks.” She picked one and sniffed the soft yellow petals.

 “They are not perfumed at all, but they are so soft and velvety.”

Wood pigeons and rooks were feeding, as we skirted a newly ploughed field.

We approached the edge of some thick woods, green and luxurious with dense shrubs and leafy, branchy trees as far as the eye could see. The shady woods looked inviting.

 “I wonder if they are private property.”

I mused when suddenly Megan exclaimed…

  “Look, just there at the edge of the woods, a tiny deer. It looks like a fawn in distress. Oh! it’s limping; where are the parents? Can we go and have a look, Joe?”

  “Of course! Come on let’s go.”

   We quickly made our way towards the edge of the woods. The handsome speckled brown and white baby deer seemed totally unaware of our approach.  In our haste to get to the casualty, I tripped and fell. I suffered no serious damage, just a few minor grazes.

The startled fawn looked up at this unusual noise and headed into the woods.

Megan and I without thinking followed the limping fawn along a tiny track through the dense woods. Startled woodpeckers and woodland jays flew high into the treetops as we approached.

The track led us to the banks of a wide river and we continued following the path along the banks of the river. The riverbanks were marshy at the edges covered in large yellow flowers. Moorhens and ducks were swimming among the reed beds, ducking their heads beneath the clear water to feed.

Suddenly I realised we were in a fix as we didn’t know these woods at all.

Megan suddenly said. “Joe are we lost? I have never been here before: Do you know where we are?”

 “Not exactly Megan, I think if we continue to follow this track along the riverbank we may come across a cottage. We might even meet one of the locals.”

We came across a separate pool alongside the riverbank full of the most beautiful, pink and white water lilies.

 “Those coots are having a feast on the small creatures in that impressive little pool,” I remarked.

 We continued along the riverside path and before long a wooden bridge on stilts loomed up in front of us.

  “Joe, perhaps if we cross the river over that bridge we may find an easier path.”

We breathed a sigh of relief when a canvas structure came into view.

  “That looks like a fisherman’s shelter Megan; I hope there is someone inside  who can guide us on our way.”

  “Hallo! Is anyone in there?”  I called loudly.

I opened the flap to the front of the tent to discover a wizened elderly man holding a fishing rod over the water. A rather strange looking elderly man wearing a floppy elfin hat dressed in multicoloured clothes looked up as I opened the flap.

  “What do you want? What are you strangers doing in these woods? This is private property.”

  “Sorry!” I said, “We were following an injured fawn, and we got lost. We just want to go home now. If you can show us the way back we would be happy to leave your private woods at once.”

The old man just nodded and said, “Which way did you come?”

I gestured to the path along the river.

 “We wondered if we crossed that bridge we would come across a direct path back the way we came,” I said.

 The strange old man jumped at this. “No! Whatever you do, don’t go over the magical bridge. That is the dividing line, Mad Molly lives in a shack on the other side. You will never be the same again if you come into contact with her. I will personally escort you to the edge of the woods. We will return the way you came on this side of the river. I’m Archie by the way, If we take the shortcut you will be home in no time.”

Archie escorted us to the edge of the woods and waved goodbye. We made our way along the familiar country lanes towards home.

 We soon arrived at a pretty little pub set in a well-kept garden full of fruit trees and flowers, with inviting looking tables and chairs.

  “Let’s stop here for a drink;” I said.

 “Yes please;” answered Megan.

I entered the comfortable bar to order the drinks and as the landlord was pouring them I related our adventures in the woods. Our contact with Archie and the magical bridge and his timely warning about mad Molly.

This resulted in roars of gleeful laughter from the landlord and the patrons in the bar.

  “Sorry!” Said the landlord. But you wandered onto the estate of Lord Archibald and Lady Arabella Fortescue-Jones. Lord Archie always referred to his mother-in-law as mad Molly.

Lady Arabella frowned on this and the bridge is the result. To cross the bridge is to enter a world where hunting shooting and fishing is banned. Lord Archie is not allowed to cross the magical bridge and Lady Arabella never visits his side either.”

We finished our drinks and made our way home. We have a wonderful after dinner story to dine out on for the next few years.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

COMFORTABLY NUMB

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A prompt response for ~ Inspiration Monday: Comfortably Numb

http://bekindrewrite.com

COMFORTABLY NUMB

by John Yeo

Henpecked Humphrey is worn down by the demands and blatant unpleasantness brought on by the vulnerability of his wife, Angelique; an invalid who is perhaps not as invalid as he believes. Demanding and cruelly calculating she knows he will never find the courage to leave her. Humphrey, her husband, is a meek, mild-mannered man who always looks on the positive side of any situation and is infrequently rewarded with small favours from this overbearing manipulating monster.

One sunny day Humphrey and Angelique are out walking

“Come along Humphrey! We are falling behind: My legs, even with my stick and my other walking aides will never stand the strain of these hills. You are an impossible man to get along with I will never forget the day after we got married when I had that terrible fall that did irreparable damage to my spine. Are you listening to me or am I talking to myself.”

“Yes Angelique!

“Humphrey! Push harder, we will never keep up if you are going to be lazy. Push the wheelchair harder. Look out there’s a car coming, it may career onto the pavement and kill us both. Look out man!”

“Yes Angelique!”

Just at that moment Bob and Phylis came by, they had just become friendly with Humphrey and Angelique.

“Hello folks!” said Phylis, “How are you both?”

Angelique immediately answered the question. “We’re fine thanks, Humphrey is being a bit difficult at the moment; aren’t you Humphrey?”

“Yes Angelique!”

Bob then smiled and said; “How are things with you Humphrey?”

“Oh! You’re fine aren’t you Humpy? We are out for a walk taking the air.”

“Yes Angelique!”

Phylis then interjected and said, “Angelique; why don’t us girls have a nice cup of tea in this cafe? I’m sure Humphrey won’t mind, and we can let the boys loose to have a pint in that pub across the road.”

“I’m not sure about that! I need Humphrey here to take care of me at all times, don’t I Humphrey?”

“Yes Angelique!”

“I’ll look after you while we sit and enjoy a nice cup of tea and a chat Angelique!” said Phylis.

“I’m not sure about that, you like to be with me all the time don’t you Humphrey?”

“Yes Angelique!”

Bob then said, “It’s OK both, we would hate to come between two lovers who are devoted to each other as you two obviously are. How long have you two lovebirds been married?”

Angelique then immediately responded, “Thirty eight years, we met each other at university didn’t we Humpy?”

“Yes Angelique!”

Bob then said with a smile, “That must have been a red letter day in your life Humphrey! Certainly a day to remember.”

“Yes it was,” Angelique answered swiftly, “We are very happy and life is comfortable. Aren’t we Humpy?”

“Yes Angelique!”

“Come on then! Humphrey push on or we will be late for our yoga and relaxation session. Goodbye you two; lovely talking to you; we always enjoy a chat. Don’t we Humpy?”

“Yes Angelique!”

“Come on then! My legs are getting stiffer by the second. Get a move on Humphrey! Push harder or we will be late.”

“Yes, My Angel”

Bob was stunned at this, as they watched the couple making their way up the hill to the village hall. Humphrey was almost bent double pushing the wheelchair up the hill.

“Phylis that bloke is so worn down he has got past uncomfortable and is numb with shock. Comfortable and numb.”

“Yes Bob, you’re absolutely right. Comfortably numb! I couldn’t have put it better myself.”

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

LOST AND FOUND

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers ~ Writing challenge.

The goal is to write a story between 100-150 words (give or take 25 words) based on the provided photo.

I wrote a children’s story this week. Sorry Joy I went slightly over the word count ~Peace

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This week’s prompt photo is supplied to us by Sonya O.

LOST AND FOUND

by John Yeo

Percy the baby Porpoise was lost. How did he manage to get separated from the rest of the school? Suddenly a Tiger Shark appeared and everyone fled, poor Percy got left hiding behind a large shell. Swimming leisurely along the beautiful coral reef, Percy was dazzled by the variety of beautiful tiny fish and colourful sponges, he had never noticed the wonderful diversity that surrounded him before as he had been too busy playing with his brothers and sisters. Suddenly a huge sea turtle appeared swimming straight towards him, flapping his huge feet to swim. Percy fled straight into a very large number of striped Zebra fish and Golden fish swimming around in circles. Dazzled and bemused he swam off to be confronted by a very dangerous looking pair of Scorpion fish. Then a group of about ten friendly looking striped fish, with wide fins that flew through the water like wings surrounded him and led him along the reef to a large pool where he was happy to find his family and the rest of the school of Porpoises. Percy will never forget how he was lost and a group of Angel fish led him home.

(196 words)

Copyright (c) Written by John Yeo ~ All Rights Reserved

This is in response to a challenge hosted by Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. If you would like to participate in this challenge or need more information, please click the following link:

https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com

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