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Joseph stopped a few steps into the lab, the scuffing of his feet unusual against the normally pristine floor of the room.

"Sean, why is there sand all over the floor?"

His lab partner's head poked out from behind the pile of boxes obscuring a bench top on the other side of the room.

"Hey Joseph, you've got to come see this. It's making things out of sand."

Joseph worked his way around the maze of tables and stools that had been haphazardly dragged out of the way to form a clearing at the center of the lab. As he neared his partner, he could make out piles of what looked like...

"Glass. It's making glass things out of sand, actually. I'm not sure what the pattern is, maybe it's all some kind of history lesson. Some of these appear to be knives, or swords and such. Some might be armor pieces, like this helmet." Sean hoisted a large translucent dome shaped roughly like a helmet, but half again as large as either of them could fill with their own head. "The guy that wore this must have been a real fat head." Sean laughed at his own joke, setting the helmet back on the floor, careful to avoid the numerous spines and fins that raked backwards along its top. "Damn near cut my hand off on one of those," he said, pointing to a dorsal fin like protrusion, then to a bloodied gauze bandage wrapped around his forearm, "freakishly sharp. Strong too, I dropped it when it cut me, didn't so much as scratch."

Joseph stepped completely into the cleared space and studied the small strobing ball of light on the floor at its center.

"What is that, exactly, and where did it come from?" he asked, walking slowly around the object, careful to avoid the artifacts scattered around it.

"I was working on the thinning space problem, and had the test rig up and operating within spec when that dropped out of thin air onto the counter. It knocked over some of the samples, and when I scattered cat litter to clean them up, it started enveloping the litter and making things. The first thing was that spherical piece over there, " he pointed to a opalescent ball with a dark smear down the middle of the side facing them, "I poured more, but it just pulsed at me." I tried a bunch of different things, salt, sugar. Sweeping compound got a minor reaction, but it wasn't until I dumped the sand from the old ant farm that it made something again. It made one of those knives, and then pulsed at me like crazy until I gave it more sand.

Joseph watched as Sean dragged a plastic bag of children's play sand from a stack in the corner of the room, splitting the bottom open with a utility knife and letting it spill out, adding to the pile already on the floor. The glowing ball sat motionless, pulsing with a light almost too bright to look directly at.

"I'm not sure what it wants to make next. There's five bags, thirty kilos apiece, that's a hundred and fifty kilos of sand already. I've only got a couple more left and then I'll have to go back to the hardware store for more."

Joseph stuffed his hands deep into his lab coat pockets, absently shuffling his feet on the sandy floor as Sean tossed the empty bag aside and walked back to the pile for another. Niether of them noticed the smear on the opalescent sphere narrow from the bench on which it sat, nor the long form that was taking shape on the floor at their feet.
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.

Everyone has fun making things, I'm no different. One has to wonder what motivates the making sometimes...
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:iconthatguy-ovurthurrson:
Thatguy-Ovurthurrson Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2010
whatsitmakingwhatsitmakingWHATSITMAKING?!? i cant figure it out...
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2010   Writer
I don't suppose what it's making is friendly.
Reply
:iconladycrimson:
LadyCrimson Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010
gave me the Twilight Zone tinglies near the end
It just seems a little odd that they would live the creature free and continue feeding it raw material...
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2010   Writer
Thanks! I think as long as people are getting things for nothing, they're less likely to concern themselves with the potential danger.
Reply
:iconautumnclarity:
AutumnClarity Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2010
It surprises me that Sean (and perhaps Joseph too) can be so unguarded, so unfazed by a random ball of light appearing from thin air. It makes me curious about the world they live in, whether it is hostile or peaceful. After all, it is rather silly to keep ‘feeding’ and foreign life force when you are not sure of its intentions, and it has the capacity to harm.
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2010   Writer
There are a couple of traits, perhaps stereotypes that I'm leaning on here. The first is that scientists, if given a problem to solve or a mystery of a scientific nature, will poke and prod, testing theories in the attempt find the answer without necessarily thinking about consequence. The other is the more universal tendency for people to be greedy. If you pour sand in a hole and out pops ancient and valuable looking artifacts, when do you stop pouring? Maybe you can get one more... just one more, just one more...

Agreeably though, it is a bit of a stretch. :-)

Thanks for the feedback.
Reply
:icondannyblue:
DannyBlue Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2010  Hobbyist
This one is very cool man. I really enjoyed it.
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:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2010   Writer
Thanks!
Reply
:iconjdrainville:
jdrainville Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Eep. I don't think I'd trust a sentient orb with that many sharp and pointy objects. :D
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:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2010   Writer
It doesn't seem wise, does it?
Thanks for the comment and :+fav:!
:-)
Reply
:iconsquanpie:
squanpie Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
aaand now, the arrival of a real fathead, no doubt.

glass always fascinated me, still does. Always seems an incredible transformation from many rough granules of sand to one smooth, translucent piece of glass. Fantastical stuff
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2010   Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:iconfewrevelations:
fewrevelations Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010  Student Writer
Glass is so cool! I like the idea of glass being armor, too; reminds me of Morrowind.
I really want to know what the orb was doing, too!
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010   Writer
Thanks for the comment and the :+fav:. I expect the orb's up to no good!
:-)
Reply
:iconfewrevelations:
fewrevelations Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010  Student Writer
You're welcome! And it sounds like it... I'd like to get in on his devilish plans.
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:iconfaeriecrone:
faeriecrone Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010
eerie ending ...
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010   Writer
Thanks!
:-)
Reply
:iconmichaeldavitt:
Michaeldavitt Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010  Professional Writer
like sands through the hourglass.... these are the days of our lives
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010   Writer
Haha - yes - numbered though they may be!
:-)
Reply
:iconmichaeldavitt:
Michaeldavitt Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010  Professional Writer
great narrative !
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010   Writer
Thank you!
Reply
:icondavidjarvis:
DavidJarvis Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010
Hey, it has been a while since I've been on, but really glad to see you are still writing great pieces!

Great human movements and reactions, shuffling the sand with his feet, poking his head around the box, brings a real visual, Twilight Zone kind of feel. I'd totally watch something like this, and look forward to continue reading.
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010   Writer
Thanks, and welcome back - it has been a while. Very early on someone said to me "show, don't tell", and it's something that's stuck. It's also how I like to read, so I tend to write that way; I'm glad it works.

I look forward to your continued reading as well.
:-)
Reply
:iconalapip:
alapip Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
another great start to a story,
[so far], for the imagination of
the reader to fill in. it might
be that it needs a bit more to
make it clear in which direction
we should proceed - or that might
just be my lack of picking up on
one of your clues. i Think i know.

:)pip
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010   Writer
Thanks very much. I imagine things go downhill from here, as our poor scientists know not what they do. Curiosity, cats and what have you!
:-)
Reply
:iconalapip:
alapip Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
of course, if that entity
had happened to land in
the desert, the question
would be moot.
:)
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010   Writer
Haha - good point!
:-)
Reply
:icongrungetv:
GrungeTV Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Great read Steve! Now you've done it! I want to read more!! A nice passage in itself, and as ScaredAmbitious said, if that was the start of a book, I'd probably want to buy it too! :)
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010   Writer
Thanks very much, for the reading, your comment and the :+fav:! I want to write more too!
:-)
Reply
:iconscaredambitious:
ScaredAmbitious Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010
Woahh. That really is creepy. I really want to know what happens next! If that was the beginning of a book I'd be tempted to buy it. :D
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010   Writer
Thanks for the comment and :+fav:, one of these days there will be a book - hopefully you'll still find it tempting! :-)
Reply
:iconscaredambitious:
ScaredAmbitious Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010
Ooh! I hope there's a book! The only thing is that short stories hinge on cool ideas, while books hinge more on interesting characters. ): That's why I like writing short stories a lot more. ;p
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010   Writer
Well, the idea for a book isn't based on this, it's based on characters, scenes and situations that have appeared in a number of my short stories. Most of those have been explorations of pieces of a larger world, a larger arc. I agree, writing short stories is easier in that respect, but I'm warming to the challenge of weaving something much larger and cohesive.
Reply
:iconscaredambitious:
ScaredAmbitious Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010
I know it's not based on this, books are made of much different substance, although I'm sure that you'd be able to get the hang of novels, and I'd definitely be willing to read anything by you! :D
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010   Writer
Thanks very much, I appreciate your confidence!
:-)
Reply
:iconscaredambitious:
ScaredAmbitious Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010
Not so much my confidence as my appreciate this far of all your works! You're good at your craft. :D
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2010   Writer
Thank you!
:-)
Reply
:iconalloronan:
Alloronan Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2010
o.0 Creepy as hell, that's awesome!
Reply
:iconsrsmith:
SRSmith Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2010   Writer
Thanks!
Reply
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