Friday Flash: Rule Breaker

26 Nov

Once upon a time there was a boy who lived in the space between worlds. Oh, he visited planets—a lot of them—but he didn’t live on any particular one. Nor was he born on any of them. When he thought about it, which wasn’t often, he would say that he had gone from non-existence to existence the way the universe did.

And how did he pass his time?

He had fun.

He explored planets, rode comets, swam through nebulas. He visited ancient times and distant futures. Who knows how long he lived this way. Without a planet to give him reference, how could he measure time? Without a sun to give him a night and a day, how could he know when a day, a month or a year had passed? He slept when he wanted to, ate when he felt like it, went wherever his fancy took him.

How sad, you might be tempted to say. All alone in the universe, no family, no planetary roots. Nothing. Just him satisfying whatever every whim. But don’t worry, there’s no sadness here. No loneliness, no boredom, and no longing to belong.

Those are human sensations and while he might look like a human, he wasn’t.

“So, does this story have a point?”

Linda had no patience for this load of space junk. People didn’t spontaneous generate. They couldn’t ride comets and there was no such thing as non-humanoid aliens. That was pure fiction.

It had to be some sort of trick. Plus he was as irritating as being strapped into an escape pod with a fly buzzing around your head.

On the other hand, he didn’t show up on she spaceship’s sensors and did a whole lot of impossible things. She’d seen them. Maybe he did have a point. Maybe he was telling her the truth.

“Nope. No point at all,” he continued. “You asked me who I am and I thought I’d tell you something interesting.”

“But is it true?”

He grinned and Linda’s stomach fluttered like she had just swallowed that figurative fly buzzing around her head. She swatted at it with her mind and her stomach calmed down.

“What’s truth?” he asked turning up the power on the smile. Linda defiantly stared him in the eyes feeling slightly like a rabbit trying to stare down a fox.

“Generally it’s taken as a generally accepted consensus of facts,” she said turning to sarcastic offense in an attempt to stay focused on the moment. “You know, empirical data and all that? Or don’t you believe in facts?”

“Facts are fluid, like everything. It’s a matter of choice.” He sauntered over to her desk and started flipping through a picture frame with a collection of images from the last time she was planetside. “I’ve never been here. It looks cool. Feel like showing it to me?”

“What if I choose to report you?” She snatched the frame out of his hand and put it back on the desk. “Technically you’re invading the ship and my parents need to know about intruders.”

He flopped down on the bed and spoke to the ceiling.

“I’ll choose not to be seen.”

She resisted the urge to drag him to his feet and make him take the conversation seriously.

“It’s that simple?” she asked.

He sat up and nodded. “I can teach you if you want.” His barely contained eagerness reminded Linda of her little brother when he was finally about to get something he’d been wanting for light years.

“But I’m human,” she said.

“And I’m not?”

“You just said you weren’t.”

“Ah, but that’s because the story would be more interesting if I weren’t. Or perhaps it would be better if I were human. What do you think? Should I be human or no?”

“This isn’t a story. It’s real life.” A serious conversation with this guy was impossible.

“And what’s real life other than an extended story? Don’t let it be written for you. Take control of the plot and decide for yourself what the rules are.”

“Even the rules of physics?”

“Especially the rules of physics.”

Maybe he was right. Just by being here he broke any number of rules. She blinked her com lenses in place and flipped to the room’s monitoring equipment. As expected, she was the only one who showed up. Scrolling back through the the surveillance footage, it showed her walking around the room just as she had, but there was no sign of her having spoken or interacted with anyone in any way.

“Show me,” she said. “Something small.”

Space Boy jumped up and went to hug her but she stepped out of the way. She’d touched him once before and that had gotten her into big trouble.

“Without touching me,” she added.

“Fine,” he said with a pout. “Hmm… Something small. Oh! I know! Look into the mirror.”

Linda did as she was told, careful to stay out of reach. In the reflection she saw him hovering behind her dancing about like he had to pee.

“What do I have to do?”

“Change your eye color,” he said.

“Just like that? Decide I want to change the color of my eyes and blam! they’re a different color?”

He nodded, too excited to speak.

Whatever. She’d try it and then when it didn’t work he’d have to tell her the truth.

She stared at her own face in the mirror, directly into her eyes, shifting back and forth from one to the other. She wouldn’t say what color out loud in case this was some sort of trick he was playing on her. Nor would she go for any normal eye color.

Pink, she thought. I want pink eyes.

Of course, nothing happened.

Then her body forced a blink and when she opened her eyes again, her irises were no longer their normal brown.

They were pink. Bright neon pink.

Exactly as she’d chosen.

He was right. She could break the rules of physics.  Cool.


Posted by on November 26, 2010 in Friday flash, Online Fiction


10 responses to “Friday Flash: Rule Breaker

  1. jax

    November 27, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Can he come over and teach me? I’m not so big on the cosmetics for me, but it would make redecorating so much easier! Very cool story. 🙂

  2. Alex

    November 27, 2010 at 1:54 am

    LOL! Thanks! When I was 16 I was convinced that magic was just a matter of believe that what you wanted to change was different from the current state. If only that were true, eh?

  3. Lara Dunning

    November 28, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Great to see this story continue to unfold. This boy sounds very complex, but he has somehow managed to maintain an innocence and youthful vibrancy by being able to roam and test the limits of space. Kind of like a scifi peter pan. Really cool!

  4. Lara Dunning

    November 28, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Forgot to mention minor edit in the line He slept when he want(ed) to.

  5. Alex

    November 29, 2010 at 6:18 am

    @Lara: I hadn’t thought of him like Peter Pan, but yes, he’s very much so. Time to go do some re-reading. (And thanks for the edit)

  6. Erin

    November 29, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Of course, the real question is whether others will see her eyes as pink. I’m really enjoying Space Boy and Linda’s interactions.

    This bit implies that her infection is in the past, so she’s already told her parents about him, hasn’t she? Should she consider what they said about his existence at the time? Just idle thoughts.

    • Alex

      November 29, 2010 at 10:49 pm

      @Erin: Good questions! It’s getting hard to write these stories as separate stories that anyone could read without needed to read earlier ones, but yes, this one does happen after her parents know. That scene is going to have to wait until I string the pieces together into a novel I think. Not something that 1000 words could cover…

  7. Mike Robertson

    November 30, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Peter Pan as Spaceboy! What a totally fun premise. Best success developing this into a novel. I’ll read it!

    • Alex

      December 1, 2010 at 5:35 am

      Thanks Mike! It’s fun to write and even more fun to write it as a series of short pieces. I can explore the characters without the stress of having to make it into a coherent story (yet).


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