This is from my Mood Story Journal, where I use my current issue as a prompt to write fiction.


Her favorite episode of her favorite show plays on repeat every day at four o’clock. An AI-rendered daub painting of her last cat hangs above the screen, its 3D texture reminiscent of the orange fur of Mr. Greenjeans. Her caretaker, a multiplicit soft robot, hovers in the corners of her one-room automated hospice, its many sensors focused on providing the sustenance, stimulation, and survival society said was her right and reward for making it to the grand age of seventy. 

Frannie crouches behind the gray La-Z-Bed, irritated by the cramp in her calf. The door to this heck-hole (with her media scrubbed of all swearing, even she’s editing her words, even in her head) opened once a day, timed for the crescendo of the episode of Star Trek where the Borg kidnap Picard and turn him into Locutus. 

She’s seen the episode twenty times, heard it an additional ten, and then sung nonsense songs over it for another twenty before she perfected her plan to escape. 

The door would open in another five bars—no clocks in the dead lands, she navigates time by music notes—but she knows from testing that the door will not open if she is near it. The automated cleaning and trash removal would wait until she is asleep, and that matter required her to be hooked to the monitoring system. 

This is her chance. She could try again tomorrow, but if she hears Captain Jean-Luc say the word sleep one more time, she is going to drown herself in her soup. An ignominious death. 

Plus, they would probably leave her in this room to rot, and she can’t stand the thought.

The sound of phaser fire is her cue. Pew, pew, pew. Ignoring a stitch in her side, Frannie leaps for the door which opens onto a high desert plain, machinery kept whirring by solar and wind. 

She wonders if her youth-obsessed society planned it this way. Will she land on top of hundreds, thousands, of just-turned seventy years olds, all dried up and mummified in the Atacama heat? 

She smiles. At least it would be a soft landing. 

“Regenerate,” she whispers, as the door falls away above her.  

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