Friday, April 1, 2022

#SFF #AtoZChallenge Assured Survival

#AtoZChallenge 2022 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter

A speculative fiction short story from a dreamer

A continuous #sff story during April. May Rose is the main character (🧑🏽 they/them pronouns).

May Rose was grateful to live and work at Budding Manor. It had a bewildering amount of bedrooms. They wondered who designed and built such a structure, and how much of it was a result of renovation for the current purpose. Was there ever another time someone would have needed such a vast residence? 

Nearly everyone they knew lived in filthy shacks made of broken pallets. The residential structures were just large enough for scraps of bedding and a small oval box (which was both storage and a pillow). Budding Manor had bathrooms, powder rooms, and a washroom so large it echoed. May knew most people were lucky if they found a water stream or even a tool for digging a hole. The world beyond Budding Manor was a toxic wasteland of travesty, a failing fight for survival, and soon would be only a memory. 

The overlords set the extinction countdown clock. May's career assured survival, as long as the assigned task was performed to satisfaction. Better, May thrived, having a  real bed, clean clothing, food on the table, clean water to spare, and access to more toilets than anyone could use in a week. May was blessed and knew it, and silently gave thanks each morning, noon, and night.

May brushed their waist-length, wavy hair while staring out the window. Their grandfather once told them that their hair looked like coffee without cream or sugar, just as their grandmother's had. They didn't know what he meant at the time. Coffee, cream, and sugar were all things they learned about while at Budding Manor. 

The students being brought today might know of such things. Students who were not from now. May doubted they had families who were sold. Or a grandfather who died in a dirty pallet residence and was hauled away within an hour. May did not get to say goodbye and had barely managed to gather the contents of his oval box pillow. It contained a drawing of mother and grandmother, before the devastation time. Drawn on the back of a ribbed scrap of paper, the other side of which had colorful information about canned peaches. Where the peaches were grown, what nutrition they had, that they came packed in a heavy syrup, all of this was displayed on the paper scrap. 

In the marked-off area of the front lawn, daylight vanished. May put their brush away and headed out the front door. Swirls of darkness extended in the marked-off area. A group of naked young ladies landed on a pile, clutching each other, crying and wailing. 

"Hush now. The worst part is over. Here, each of you take a bowl of applesauce."

The girls let go of each other. It was the same every time. The darkness vanished, daylight returned, and the virgins tried to hide their nakedness.

"I'm the only one here. There's no point in modesty. Eat your applesauce, then we'll get everyone cleaned and clothed. I am May Rose." Wormhole time travel wreaked havoc until people were calmed and fed.

#AtoZChallenge 2022 tribute badge

Question: How would you describe your own hair (or lack thereof)?  

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  1. A toxic wasteland of travesty! What a great phrase and a great start to your story. My first A to Z doesn't drop until tomorrow at 4:01. I am having the time match the date. I will just use my title reveal as the url for my comment. Looking forward to seeing the next installment.

  2. Good morning on this snowy April day. Such a bleak story, beautifully crafted - made me very curious about what happened and what goes on at Budding Manor.
    Tasha's Thinkings: YouTube - What They Don't Tell You

    1. And I totally forgot to answer your question - I would describe my hair as variegated, like dark bark through snow.

  3. Such an unexpected twist at the end of your piece. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. Wow! I NEED to read the rest.

    My hair? A riotous mess of brown, sun-bleached and red -- it's my "working writer" look. I'll look presentable again... Uhm... probably when I have to see other people (love working remotely!).

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge My Languishing TBR: A

  5. Very interesting...Can't wait to read more! My hair is a tangled, curly mess just like my past...and I love it.

    ~ Ada Z.

  6. Very interesting...Can't wait to read more! My hair is a tangled, curly mess just like my past...and I love it.

    ~ Ada Z.

  7. What a deliciously dark start - I'm looking forward to seeing how this unfolds! My hair is a short cap of darkest garnet.

  8. I loved the beginning of your storye, I´m looking forward to reading the next part tomorrow and the role of May Rose in it.
    My hair? i´s Medusa´s mane. it used to be dark brown and straight when I was younger, now it´s not exactly wavy, just enough to look annoyingly unkempt if I comb it. Although sometimes during flares, it can pass 2 or 3 days without brushing it and no one notices. I´d love if it was waist long and cherry red, hairdressers think otherwise.

  9. This is my first ever reading of something written in they/them pronouns. It's a tough to get used to it but I am really enjoying the process. What an interesting story!
    Here's my A:

  10. What a fascinating start! (but also dark, and chilling)
    Looking forward to following this. Good luck. :D

    B for Bayangan

  11. Well, I can't even imagine what may come next! This is so unusual :-)

    The Old Shelter - Enter the New Woman

  12. Gotta love inclusivity and a very interesting take on what feels to be a Distopian Sci-fi! Looking forward to seeing where this story goes.

  13. Oh, grabbed me already - I'm in for the ride! :)

    My hair is now grey and mostly straight. It used to be dark brown and curly before anaesthetic (and old age) got to it.

    Debs visiting this year from
    Debs Carey-NLP Coach

  14. ooh! Love the premise.

    My hair is black, straight like a waterfall, fakes a brown tinge in the sun

    Visiting from Atoz:

  15. This is an intriguing story with a great hook. I love that your main character uses they/them pronouns.
    My hair usually resembles an unruly lion's mane, the colour (and sadly, often texture) of straw.
    I will be back to read the rest of the story.

  16. Hi, I’m visiting after reading Reflections. Now I’m hooked I’ll have to keep reading. I’m in for a long night.

  17. Sort of afraid to read the rest.
    My hair? Long bushy and gray going to white.

  18. I'm visiting from the A to Z roadtrip! My hair is blond (not naturally) and is almost to my shoulders. If I didn't color it, it would be brown with a good bit of white around my face!

  19. Such a sad ending, that! But a good start to the A-Z! In here from the road trip, will stick around a bit more and explore!

  20. I like the description of her hands.

    To your question -- my hair is kinky. :)

  21. Visiting from the A to road trip. a href=>Advent, Annunciation and Angels My hair is short, thick, wiry and a mixture of very dark and silver waves and curls.

  22. I love symmetry. I was the first comment on this post and for what may be only a short time, I am now the last comment. Just visiting from the A to Z road trip. Where I am starting with the first and last blog on the list. I told you, I love symmetry. The challenge was a lot of fun this year but it did take me a little while to gear up for the road trip. I am looking forward to this summer to catching up on some of these blogs I missed. I liked what I've read so far of your story.

  23. Hello! I'm finally out and about on the 2022 A to Z Road Trip to visit everyone's blogs. This is an intriguing snippet of a dystopian story. I'm hooked, and I have questions. What is the back story? How did these people end up together? Have you written more on the story?


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