Tag: SF

Plastic Trees in the Underground City

Here’s an excerpt from Under the Electric Sun

When he stepped through the doorway, his feet landed on soft green grass. The large room was filled with towering oaks, tall pines, azaleas in full bloom, and clusters of bluebells along the ground. Bird songs echoed in the air, even though no birds were visible. In the center of the park, there was a clearing with a playground in it. A group of children squabbled over which one of them would go down the slide next. The dome-shaped ceiling of Bailey Park was painted a pale shade of blue with an electric sun burning brightly in the center. Holographic clouds glided across it, moving so slowly that they barely appeared to move at all.

The grass was artificial, while the trees and bushes were made of plastic and other synthetic materials. The birdsong came from tiny speakers hidden in the leaves.

Jake sat down in the grass and leaned against a tree trunk. He let out a long sigh, which seemed odd to Tristan. It was the type of sound an older person would make.

Tristan sat in the grass beside him. For a moment, they were both silent.

“Just get some rest,” Tristan said, trying to conceal his worry. “And then we’ll go to the pet store. Esmeralda might be working today, you never know.”

A cloud of sadness seemed to hang in the air around Jake. Tristan was hoping it would evaporate at the mention of Esmeralda’s name, but it didn’t. Jake had been enamored with the girl ever since he had first spotted her in the pet store two years ago, sitting cross-legged on the floor and changing the batteries in a light brown Chihuahua. Looking up at Jake and Tristan with her coffee-colored eyes, Esmeralda had remarked that Jake didn’t need an electronic pet. He already had a talking raccoon on his shoulder, which was far better than all the non-speaking animals in the pet store. Flattered, Tristan had thanked her. As Esmeralda had zipped up the Chihuahua’s abdomen, she had talked about her own tutroid, a hoot owl named Matilda. Unfortunately, Matilda’s brain was defective and she preferred to remain perched on the headboard of Esmeralda’s bed, babbling about the French Revolution.

As Esmeralda had talked about her faulty tutroid, Jake had stared at her with a dazed look in his eyes. She didn’t seem to mind his delirious gaze. She had kept right on talking about her love for Matilda and her fascination with electronic animals in general.

“It doesn’t matter,” Jake said now, leaning against the tree in Bailey Park. “Esmeralda’s too old for me. She doesn’t want to have anything to do with me. She just wants to be friends with me, that’s all.”

Tristan shrugged. “Hey, that might change one day. She’s only three years older than you. When you guys get older, that age difference won’t matter anymore. You’ll both be adults. Who knows what will happen then?”

Jake didn’t reply. Tristan desperately wanted to cheer him up, but he had already played the Esmeralda card. He couldn’t think of anything else to do.

“So what do those big blobs look like?” Jake asked finally.

“In the meeting, they said the color changes depending on how you look at them,” Tristan said, relieved that the conversation was taking a new direction. “From one angle, they’re blue. From another angle, they’re red. I’ve been trying to picture that in my mind.”

“I still say they’re giant mushrooms,” Jake insisted. “And they’re mutant mushrooms, because of the war.”

They had argued about it all morning on their way to the vehicle museum.

“No,” Tristan said, staring up at the rounded ceiling of Bailey Park, as if he could see the surface of the earth if he strained his eyes hard enough. “I think they came here from another planet. They just popped up out of nowhere two months ago. And they’re as big as mountains. How do you explain that?”

Under the Electric Sun is available on Amazon. It’s a book about a boy and his electronic tutor. They live in a luxurious underground city beneath the ruins of Washington, DC. The paperback version is $6 plus shipping and handling. The Kindle edition is $2.99. You can click here to order.

Copyright 2013, 2015, 2017 Matthew David Curry. All rights reserved.

The Space Cop

Carl and Christine watched an Atlanta Braves baseball game on their old TV. They were both in their eighties. They both wore thick glasses and hearing aids. Carl sat cross-legged in his armchair, staring at the TV with droopy eyes and a lopsided grin. He wore a button-down shirt, slacks, and brown suspenders. Christine sat on the couch not too far from him. She had a pen in her hand and a folded newspaper on her lap. She was more interested in the crossword puzzle than the baseball game. She wore a pink house dress and black tennis shoes.

Carl and Christine lived in a brick house in the country near the outskirts of Malmut. Their front porch overlooked a small lake. In the back yard, there was a garden, a few peach trees, a rusty tractor, a storage building, and a Chevrolet pickup truck.

As they watched the game, a big white ball came down from the afternoon sky and landed in their front yard beside an oak tree. The ship looked like a golf ball big enough for a man to stand in. Carl and Christine sat straight up, straining to see out the front window, staring at the big ball. They looked at each other, confused.

“Is it some kind of egg?” Christine asked.

“I don’t know,” Carl said in a deep, rumbling voice. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. But I don’t think it’s an egg. I can see a window on the side of it.”

A door opened on the side of the white ball. A young, tall, lanky man stepped out and looked around. He stared at the lake, the sun, the hills, and the house. He wore a shiny red helmet, yellow tights, and white boots. He held a device in his hand that looked like a TV remote control. He slapped the device a few times, shaking his head.

Carl and Christine sat frozen in their seats, staring out the window. As they watched, the stranger in the yellow tights walked through the yard and climbed the brick steps leading up to the porch. A minute later, he tapped on the front door.

Carl stood up and walked across the hardwood floor, frowning and tugging on his brown suspenders. Carl was a tall man with long arms and long legs. He pulled the door open but not all the way. He looked into the stranger’s eyes.

“Can I help you?” Carl asked, still not opening the door all the way. Christine stood beside him, leaning back and forth, trying to get a good look at the visitor.

“Yes, I’m sorry to bother you,” the young man said, taking off his helmet and tucking it under his arm. “My name is Malpheus Mallock. I work for the Galactic Precinct.”

Malpheus looked like any ordinary human being from Earth. He had a mop of wavy brown hair. His neck was long. His Adam’s apple bulged.

“I’ve come to Earth to arrest somebody,” Malpheus explained, brushing the hair out of his eyes. “I know he’s in the local area, but my tracking device has stopped working. The man I’m looking for is an energy parasite who likes to enslave people and feed on their pain. He’s a member of an ancient, evil race. Thankfully, most of them have died out.”

***

You’ve been reading an excerpt from Finding Drake Novak, a science fiction comedy about a malevolent alien who runs a factory in a small town and feeds on the misery of his employees. Finding Drake Novak is available on Amazon. The paperback version is $6 plus shipping and handling. The Kindle edition is $2.99. You can click here to order.

Copyright 2016, 2017 Matthew David Curry. All rights reserved.