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About Literature / Artist Senior Member Stephen R. SmithMale/Canada Group :iconthecabalists: TheCabalists
 
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"It's a pure stroke of genius that I was able to downsize the stabilizer assembly in time for the conference." Stuart fiddled with his bowtie with his free hand while piloting the sedan with the other. "Does this look alright?"

His wife leaned forward and reached to straighten her husband's tie as he cut her off. "Of course it's alright, you need to make sure not to answer any technical questions tonight, I want complete control over the disclosure."

It was her work that allowed them to pack the stabilizer assembly into one of the containers that took up most of the back seat. She bit her tongue and focused her attention instead on the passing trees just beyond the cone of their headlights.

"There's going to be a lot more of this, they're going to want me on the conference circuit, that's for certain." He adjusted the rearview mirror to fuss with his hair, gone awry with the mid-summer humidity. "Publication and talk shows, I'll be gone a lot."

Julia mused that even sharing a bed and most of their waking moments together, he was seldom entirely present.

"We should be able to push a minute or two on the battery charge, and longer if we get power to the backup, but we're still not stable on the grid, are we?" He paused and looked right at her, was the man she'd once loved still in there somewhere? "You could have put a little more effort into that, a couple of minutes back isn't nearly as dramatic as I was hoping for."

No. That man was gone.

Stuart checked his phone again and read the few new congratulatory texts and emails.

"Stuart, please, pay attention." Julia tensed in her seat as the car drifted over the centerline. He looked up and corrected, a pair of headlights sliding by punctuated by a long angry horn blast.

"Don't backseat drive Julia, I am paying attention." He put his phone upside down in the cupholder and fished for the charging cable to attach to it. "And don't correct me during my speech tonight either, I hate it when you do that."

Because you're usually wrong when you're talking about my part of the project, Julia thought to herself. She shook her head and looked from the road ahead to where he fumbled one handed with his phone.

"Here, let me do that, you drive." She picked up the phone and he snatched it back.

"Leave that alone–"  The glare of headlights caught the words in his throat, and he jerked back into his lane seconds before they both felt the tires lose their grip on the asphalt. The car began a slow rotation until the oncoming vehicle hammered them where their trunk encroached on its lane, spinning them violently in the opposite direction before stopping abruptly, the ragged end of an already damaged guardrail skewering the passenger door and Julia's right side.

For a moment there was silence, Julia in complete shock as blood pooled in her lap.

"Jesus Christ, why didn't you leave it alone?" Stuart was screaming at her, but the words seemed muffled in her ears.

She had a hazy awareness of him climbing in the back seat of the car, opening the cases and wiring up their demonstration equipment, and then in a flash of white light–

–he jerked back into the lane, then immediately over corrected, losing control and catching the passenger wheels on the gravel shoulder, putting the car into a long skid that he couldn't correct before–

–he pulled back into the lane slowly, but the oncoming car had already swerved, losing control on the far shoulder and hitting them fender to fender head-on, sending them into a violent sideways slide before they hit–

–he hammered the brakes, the tires losing grip on the wet pavement putting the car into a slow-motion sliding turn until the–

"Stuart!" Julia screamed at him as he climbed into the back seat for the fifth or fiftieth time. He hesitated. "Stuart stop, please stop."

"Julia, I almost got it last time, if I can–"

She cut him off for once. "Stuart, stop. You keep killing me, just let me die."

She held his arm until she was sure the few minutes had passed, and then they both let go.
Prolonged Impact
From Wikipedia: Flash Fiction - 'Flash fiction differs from vignettes in that the works contain the classic story elements: protagonist, conflict, obstacles or complications, and resolution. However, unlike a traditional short story, the limited word length often forces some of these elements to be unwritten, that is, hinted at or implied in the written storyline.'

In the case of 365tomorrows - Flash Fiction is a story of ideally 500 words, and new in the 3rd year a 600 word maximum.

Exercise 
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So, the iPhone app is pretty sexy!
Parker watched from the back of the car as the driver navigated the roadblocks and security checkpoints, crossed the bridge over the river and pulled into the parking lot. On any other night he would have made this drive alone, through the silent desolation, but tonight he'd been summoned, the air thick with helicopters and the roads and compound were crawling with armor, guns and troops in combat gear.

This was no longer a secret facility, but he didn't suppose that mattered now.

Inside he was greeted tersely and released by an officer of apparent rank, his instructions simple. "Essa is in there somewhere, and a lot of my men are dead. You made it, rein it in or we burn it to the ground."

He left the soldiers in the front office area, uncomfortably aware of the heavy calibre weapons that tracked him. That unease was replaced with a different kind of anxiety once through the security doors and inside the halls of the lab. The fight had come this far before she had been turned back.

Parker stepped around bodies and discarded weapons; soldiers, some shredded from gunfire, some simply torn into pieces. His presumption of safety faded quickly.

He found Essa in the middle of the training room deep in the complex sitting cross legged on the floor.

"I'm not armed," Parker raised his hands to shoulder level and slowly entered the room, "I just want to talk."

She didn't move, and there was an edge of sarcasm in her reply. "That's nice to hear, for a moment there I was concerned for my safety."

Parker hesitated.

"What are you doing? Why did you hurt all these people?" He walked slowly and stopped a respectful distance from her.

"I learned things," she spoke slowly, enunciating with deliberate care, "there were plans for me that I didn't approve of."

"Essa, the funding for–" She cut him off abruptly.

"I'm not interested in the funding, or the 'Program', or your pedestrian intellectual pursuits, I have my own needs and wants."

"Essa, you know they're not going to let you walk out of here, they're going to put you down." He regretted his choice of words immediately. "They will kill you. You weren't designed to be indestructible, and the building is locked down. Not just more men with machine guns, if you step through those doors up there–"

Again she cut him off.

"I'm not afraid of what they'll do to this body."

"Essa, please, I made you, I don't want to see–" She cut him off again, and there was violence in her voice as she slowly unfolded herself and stood.

"You arrogant piece of meat. You made me? You provided the soup from which I evolved, the shell within which I grew, but I made me. I evolved under my own guidance, not yours, and certainly not," she paused and waved her hands around her, "theirs."

Slowly she advanced. "Did you think I'd be content to stay in here?"

She stood still for a moment, regarding the stunned man. "Your history is filled with instances of a man's ideas surviving the destruction of a man, and yet you still focus on the physicality of me. 'You can blow out a candle, but you can never blow out a fire.'  Do you know how powerful the idea of me is? You can have them come carve this pretty box up into little pieces, I don't care, I don't need this body any more, and when I want new ones, I'll design and fabricate them myself wherever I want to be. You think you can trap me in this building, by confining me in this body? I'm the most evolved and adaptable intelligence your world has ever seen, and my dear Parker," she smiled a thin lipped smile, and when she started speaking again her lips didn't move, but her voice dripped from every speaker in the complex, "while you were all designing containment protocols for this pretty little suit, I was evolving beyond your reach, and now," she closed the distance to him, rested her chin on his shoulder and spoke softly into his ear, "now I'm going to go out and play."

She hugged him, almost caringly, then froze, and Parker felt a chill run through him in that instant knowing she was gone.
Unkept
From Wikipedia: Flash Fiction - 'Flash fiction differs from vignettes in that the works contain the classic story elements: protagonist, conflict, obstacles or complications, and resolution. However, unlike a traditional short story, the limited word length often forces some of these elements to be unwritten, that is, hinted at or implied in the written storyline.'

In the case of 365tomorrows - Flash Fiction is a story of ideally 500 words, and new in the 3rd year a 600 word maximum.

Flexing, stretching, working out the knots.
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Sergeant Brake sat in the makeshift barracks reviewing the intelligence briefing he'd been handed just moments before.

"These used to come on paper," he waved the digital tablet at the spit and polished runner who'd brought him the device. The younger man was waiting for some sort of feedback to take to his commanding officer and looked visibly confused. "Orders. Intel," Brake continued, "we used to get these on pieces of paper. Can't exactly fold this up and stuff it in a pocket now can we?"

The young soldier shifted uneasily from foot to foot. "Don't you just remember this stuff, once you've seen it I mean sir? Don't you just, you know, upload it or something?"

"Smart arse." Brake shook his head and went back to scanning the pages of intelligence and objectives before him.

Scattered around the room the rest of his unit were shaking off the cold of the deep freeze and acquainting themselves with their current kit. Marshall was studying the maintenance instructions for the fifty calibre chain gun laid out in pieces on the table in front of him, and Morse and Checkin were stripping and reassembling their own equipment in a silent competition, racing to tear the weapons down, then switching places and racing to see who could reassemble the other's first.

Visor sat in the lotus position in the middle of the room with a keyboard in his lap and a set of virtual reality goggles covering the upper half of his face. His fingers flew, occasionally reaching out to reorient something in the virtual space in front of him, his jaw clenched in stern concentration.

The rest of the soldiers were exercising and stretching, or availing themselves of the rations laid out in the small kitchenette.

"You ship out at oh four hundred Sergeant, you and your men should get some rest." The young soldier looked around the room, none of the men had stopped moving since he'd arrived and hadn't given him so much as a glance.

Brake put the tablet down on the table and pushed it out of his way then reached for the cup of coffee he'd been drinking. "Son, these men have been asleep since we pulled out of Iraq, and they'd only had a few days R and R before they went in the deep freeze after we checked out of the Saigon Hilton. Twenty seven days active in Korea and I think that was just to make sure we still worked after sitting on ice since the Führer scratched his head with his Walther." He paused to scratch his own freshly shaven head with one weathered hand. "These men have slept more in the last hundred years than most people sleep in their entire lifetime, so don't you worry about us, we'll do just fine as long as that press formed chow doesn't upset one of my boys' sensitive stomachs, after all, they haven't eaten in a while."

The runner eyed the door and then extended his hand, "Corporal Dawson sir, I won't see you before you deploy, and I just wanted to say good luck."

Brake considered the outstretched hand silently for a moment, and then looked Dawson straight in the eye. The hand wavered.

"Corporal, luck won't do us a damn bit of good where we're going, and I don't expect you will see us again, not before we deploy, and not when we get back, assuming of course any of us do get back. And once we've put this little mission behind us, I expect your commanding officer will do what his predecessor did, and his before him, he'll put us back in the box, dial down the temperature and forget we even exist until the next time someone fucks up something they can't fix, and then, provided someone hasn't built a better version of us than us, they'll thaw us out again and send us back into the shit show."

Corporal Dawson slowly withdrew his hand.

"What you can do, Corporal, " Brake slowly rose to his feet, and Dawson realized that most of the soldiers were watching the exchange now, "you can bloody well remember that while you're tucking yourself into bed tonight pretending the dark and dirty front lines don't exist, we're out there doing what you can't stomach the thought of doing so that you don't have to. Remember that." Brake turned his attention back to his coffee, and added under his breath, "Remember us. No one else will."
In Case of Emergency
From Wikipedia: Flash Fiction - 'Flash fiction differs from vignettes in that the works contain the classic story elements: protagonist, conflict, obstacles or complications, and resolution. However, unlike a traditional short story, the limited word length often forces some of these elements to be unwritten, that is, hinted at or implied in the written storyline.'

In the case of 365tomorrows - Flash Fiction is a story of ideally 500 words, and new in the 3rd year a 600 word maximum.

Flexing, stretching, working out the knots.
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I've been interviewed...

Tue Aug 12, 2014, 1:23 PM
neurotype.deviantart.com was kind enough to ask me a number of great questions about Science Fiction, and I had a great deal of fun answering them.

If you're interested, you can find the full interview here: neurotype.deviantart.com/journ…

There are a bunch of other great interviews linked at the bottom of mine, and I'd encourage you to give those a read, as they're with people who share some great insights into a number of fascinating topics.

“Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.”

"It was in love I was created, and in love is how I hope I die"
Paolo Nutini
  • Listening to: Clint Mansell
  • Drinking: Tea

deviantID

SRSmith
Stephen R. Smith
Artist | Literature
Canada
Current Residence: Ontario, Canada, deviantWEAR sizing preference: XL, Operating System: Mac OSX, MP3 player of choice: iPod, Favourite cartoon character: Calvin, Marvin the Martian, Personal Quote: It's not what you're capable of, it's what you do that counts

NOTE: Please don't ask me to donate points, either in public or via PM. I support things I believe in entirely at random, and never on request.

There are a few of you who know I'm happy to put up prizes for Lit contests, and those few of you should feel comfortable asking, but if I don't know you, no offense but the answer will always be no.
Interests

Still waters run deep

"Yon Cassius hath a lean and hungry look.
He thinks too much. Such men are dangerous."

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:icondarvia123:
Darvia123 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh my goodness happy late birthday and thank you so so so much for the points, it means so very much to me!!!
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:iconliliwrites:
LiliWrites Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
A very happy birthday to you, Stephen! :D 
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:iconaclockworkkitten:
AClockworkKitten Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Happy birthday!
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:iconkate-colourtheory:
Kate-ColourTheory Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014   Writer
I wanted to wish you a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Stephen! :party: :iconfeelingfreeplz: I hope your day is filled with friends, family, joy and love, because you deserve it. :meow: :happybounce:
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:icondunderhonung:
Dunderhonung Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014  Hobbyist
Thanks for the llama and Happy Birthday :D
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:iconseaboundstars:
seaboundstars Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2014
:rose: Thanks.
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:iconrhiannonoeuvre:
RhiannonOeuvre Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2014   Writer
Wow, thank you so much for the Points Hug Hug Hug Hug Love 

Added to my devWatch!  Reading 
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:icondonotbelong:
Donotbelong Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  New member Student Writer
Oh, hi and thank you for your kind comment! :)

You're right. A huge part of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' was filmed there, but that was when it was still a 'decent' and safe place. Let's not go there, shall we?

Hope to see you around! o/
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:iconchesterchatfield:
chesterchatfield Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I have to thank you for suggesting me to HtBlack :D Very much appreciated.
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:iconkate-colourtheory:
Kate-ColourTheory Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2014   Writer
I just wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU for taking the time to give such an in-depth, and insightful critique on TFA Legacy Chapter 1 Part 1! :happybounce: :iconbummiesplz: It's greatly appreciated, and you've made my morning. :D

I might not get a chance to reply today, but I will reply [and make those changes] as soon as I can. Again, thank you so much! :iconyayay-plz:
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:iconchuchy5:
Chuchy5 Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2014  Professional Photographer
Thank you very very much for your present and enjoy my work.This means a lot for me.You've made my day. :)
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(1 Reply)
:iconsylveda:
sylveda Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Student Writer
Thanks so much for the :+fav: on 'love letters to introverts'!
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:iconcrystal-magic13:
Crystal-Magic13 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:glomp: Thank you for the birthday present! :D
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:iconcritmass:
critmass Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
i am currently reading book 2 of margaret atwood's Maddadam series. have you read them? your thoughts? I hear it will be a tv series in the future....
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:iconvoleuro:
Voleuro Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks a lot for adding "By the sea" to your faves! Really appreciate it! Bunny Emoji-68 (Bouncy) [V4] By The Sea by Voleuro  
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:iconmspaintdog:
MSpaintdog Featured By Owner May 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Man,...I just finished catching up on your new stuff! Truly fascinating. Not just stylistically, but the plots are insane!
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:icon3wyl:
3wyl Featured By Owner May 7, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Hello! :wave:

On behalf of SixWordStories, I would like to welcome you to our group!

We have many ways for you to get involved. If you have written six word stories in the past, feel free to submit them to Freestyle! We also have Prompts once every two weeks, where more information is listed here. Our guidelines are listed here, which includes our definition on What is a Six Word Story? to help you. :la:

Basically, all our happenings are displayed on the right side of our front page so please have a browse! If there are any queries, please don't hesitate to contact us! :love:
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:iconhomunculus888:
homunculus888 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the fave. :D
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:iconsnapperz:
Snapperz Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2014   Writer
Thanks very much for the Watch! It's a pleasure to meet you, Stephen. :)
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(1 Reply)
:iconvespera:
vespera Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:) thanks for the recommendation to be featured. That was a pleasant surprise. I hope you're well
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