Flash Fiction Challenge: Future Shock

Flash Fiction prompt copyright KS Brooks all rights reserved chicago aquarium
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Well, I’ll be. They actually did it. The pretty nurse told me it’s the year 3015 and they’ve woken me up because there’s a cure for cancer. “Woken me up” is a nice way of saying they thawed me out.

Now that I’ve got my health back, I’m looking forward to catching up on the past 100 years and seeing what the future is like. And the babes. I bet my ex-wife is convulsing in her grave over this.

But…what? We can’t go outside? Lakes and parks and all that are inside now? The air’s no good out there? And…there’s no such thing as hamburgers? And my ex-wife is what?

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture and the written prompt above. Do not include the prompt in your entry. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

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On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Future Shock”

  1. I am healthy, but the world outside is not. Those who did not sleep away the last millennia have made concessions to allow the human race to continue. Sadly, we did not do the same for wildlife; the seas are gone, mountains are inaccessible. Below, the created lakes are sterile, the parks are for looks. There are a very few children to play and laugh on the artificial grass – and no dogs to run with, no squirrels or pigeons to lure in with scraps left over from a picnic.

    So as a race, we survived, when every other living thing was culled out of existence. I gave myself over to hope and science when we numbered 7 billion and growing; I have returned as one of less than a million, secluded under the crust of an earth we tried to destroy, in isolated pockets of humanity. The seclusion is for both our safety and the continuation of the whole, so that we will not unwittingly wipe out the remainder of civilization.

    I miss the sun. I miss having a choice of foods to eat and clothes to wear. I miss privacy. I miss free time.

    And I never thought I would say it, but I miss my ex-wife. Her name is engraved on a plate in front of her enclosed station, where she lives – no, where she exists – hooked into a system that maintains the functioning and environment of this shelter underground. I visit her, and I am horrified.

  2. Putrid. Desperately, I covered my nose to block out the overwhelming stench of one of the many lakes. The water bubbled and curdled like spoilt milk. I could feel my stomach churn up my guts. What was causing that awful smell?

    They claimed that these enclosed spaces were an act of preservation, something to remind us of home beyond these towering walls. I supposed the disgusting conditions of this room were why they covered the section up with useless tape. Since I had just awakened from my comatose state, I was filled with curiosity.

    There weren’t many people here to stop me taking one step closer to where the water met the ledge. In this place, there were the scraps left of humanity, people wandering the parks with dull eyes and sickly bodies. I hoped I would never become like that.

    As much as I wanted to stray away from the deadly looking liquid, I couldn’t think of anything I had to lose at this point. Caged like an animal and anything I knew of the world washed away by societal error. This couldn’t be called living.

    So I dipped my fingertips in the warm water, swishing it around when there is no consequence except my heart racing in my chest. Then I see it. Something rise to the surface – no – countless things rising to the surface of the water. My eyes widened. One was not like the others, it lay face up with a face I recognised.

    My ex-wife.

  3. ***FINALIST***

    When they told me I’d wake up to a better future, I thought no smog, flying cars – the stuff of movies. And what do I get? There’s fake sunlight coming from the air-tight dome above our heads and food that’s been reconstituted so many times there’s no telling if it started out animal, mineral, or vegetable. It’s best not to ask.

    My work assignment comes as I leave the assimilation dorm. Mechanic. Great. It’s what I did before I got diagnosed and it sucked. Now, I don’t even have the doctor visits to get me out of it anymore. Casually, I ask the nurse how permanent these placements are. She says the mayor can be petitioned only once.

    Of course, SHE is Mayor. My ditsy, “home-maker” ex-wife is in charge of this place. The woman who couldn’t figure out how to run a book club has been running what’s left of this city since she was “awakened” ten years ago. This could be a very good thing.

    They let me into her luxury suite, complete with artificial pond and holographic walls. She giggles and flips her hair just like she always did and nods when I remind her how good we were together and I should have a job where we can be closer. Yeah, I’ll be living large by dinner.

    I get to my apartment to find the new placement already there.

    Pond-scum cleaner.

    The note says: You’ll feel right at home AND be close to me!

  4. At first I thought I would be in the medbay forever. They had to run some “tests;” code word for pee in a cup and drawing more blood than a horde of mosquitos. After all that they sent me on my way with little more than a cryptic map of the tunnels to find my new apartment.

    I planned ahead of course, put all my money in a trust that would allow it to grow while I was in cold storage. But that was the problem right…

    My ex got the courts to work in her favor. Since I wasn’t really dead, she had all my money syphon into her accounts over the years as alimony payments. All of my money. Even the interest bearing bonds I had set aside to grow while I waited in stasis.
    I spent an afternoon in my lawyer’s office. Yep, the same one I went to back in 2015. I guess they figured out the whole aging thing while I was in stasis. Bastage didn’t look a day over twenty-five. The shark tells me she has rights of perpetuity or something like it. Legal mumbo jumbo what ever it was. He kicked me out of the office.

    Wouldn’t you know, as I dusted myself off in the lobby, she walked in. Gina hadn’t aged a day. She was a knock out. She walked up to me and offered me hanky.

    “Thanks for not dyin’ babe,” she said then she walked past me laughing.

  5. I’m still in shock over what nurse Jenkins told me. My ex-wife was my host?

    They should have woken me up three years ago when my funds ran out but didn’t because of her.

    I made my way to Personal Park 514 that CryoFreeze reserved upon my unfreezing, with the letter Tiffany had written for me.

    I sat down on the bench in the middle of the ten foot-by-ten foot “park”, I listened to the water trickling down the man made waterfall, and looked out the window one hundred and fifty stories above the now uninhabitable earth.

    I took a long breath and began reading the letter.

    “Dear Ben,

    By the time I found out, you were already ‘asleep’. I am sorry for so many things. Leaving you for Tom. The ugly divorce. But most of all I’m sorry for waisting the last years of your life. I’ve put enough money in a bank account in your name to cover your Freeze for each of the twelve years we were together and I’ve instructed the bank to send in payments until your unfreezing. If there’s any money left, it’s yours.

    You were always the love of my life. I’m sorry it took me so long to remember that.



    I read the words three times to make sure I fully understood them and wiped the tears from my eyes.

    Tiffany had given me a second chance and this time I wasn’t going to waste it.

  6. On the day I left the Cryo-Med Institution to resume my life one hundred years later, earth was no semblance of its old self. Everything looked real, felt real, it even smelled real.
    Six months of physical body regeneration gave me back my thirty two year old body. My mind had been enhanced tenfold thanks to advances in the nuero sciences. I never imagined back in 2015 that this would be possible for me when they did finally bring me back to life. Curing the cancer that had lodged and eventually wormed its way through my brain was the dream. It was however the least of the improvements I was experiencing.
    As I walked through the recreation of New York’s central park, now ten thousand feet above the surface of the uninhabitable planet earth, I am stunned at the familiar surroundings. The hot dog the street vendor sold me tasted just like I remember even though I knew it was a recreation of real beef in chemical form. How did they manage this? I asked myself in wonderment.
    I was anxious to meet the woman I had been matched with at the institute. I hoped she was as hot as the women I had seen thus far. That’s when I saw her sitting on the park bench. Her red dress looked familiar, her blonde hair silky and long. My enhanced vision could see from one hundred yards away that the woman was Betty. My wife!

  7. ***FINALIST***

    I climb out of the hospital bed, still feeling a bit nauseated. I begin hyperventilating at the thought of being in stasis for a full thousand years. I thought they said I was only supposed to be under for one hundred! This is definitely not what I signed up for!

    The nurse ushers me into a room with a large white canvas display. A video begins to play.

    “Welcome back to the living. We have woken your group up to assist us with maintaining our way of life that has existed for nearly the last 400 years. In 2623, nuclear war finally became a real threat when world war 3 began. It was only a few weeks this time before the first warhead made its way from India, the world’s current superpower. This began an immediate chain reaction, each major country sending warheads as a last ditch effort to quickly end things. What became of earth is what you see now. A desolate place where the air is unbreathable. That is why we now live in these domes. More information will be available to you once you get your room assignments.”

    They file us out of the room and begin to give us our room assignments. I see a red door to my right.


    The sun is shining and butterflies are floating to each new flower, enjoying the day. I take a big deep breath and realize it had all been a lie.

  8. ***FINALIST***

    “Congratulations, Mr. Baker. You’re officially cancer free. Welcome to the year 3015.”

    I grabbed the doctor’s hand and pumped it up and down. Not bad for a recently thawed popsicle. My billion dollar investment to cheat death paid off. Now I’m healthy and far from my nagging ex-wife.

    “Thanks doc. Check me out of here. I’m due for a double bacon cheeseburger and a walk on the beach.”

    “I’m sorry, Mr. Baker, but outside toxicity levels are inhospitable and the ingesting of animal products was outlawed years ago.”

    “Aw, heck. Sounds like my ex’s heaven.”

    “There’s also the matter of your bill,” said the doctor. “You’re going to have to work off the remainder as an indentured servant.”


    “Don’t be alarmed. Your basic needs will be met.”

    “So I’m supposed to be some guy’s slave?”

    “Only for fifty to sixty years.”

    “That’s absurd. I’ll be dead by then.”

    “Sorry, but you’re the property of New Life Incorporated until paid in full. The Long-Life serum will keep you young for many centuries. You should feel honored that the president herself requested you as servant.”

    “Well I won’t stand for it. I’m no one’s slave.”

    The familiar clicking of high heels made the hair on my neck stand up. I spun around and stared at my ex-wife. She looked as young as the day I left. My heart pounded as she examined me through narrowed eyes. This was impossible.

    “Well according to the law you belong to me.”

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