Saturday, April 2, 2022

#SFF #AtoZChallenge Budding Manor

#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).

"Welcome to Budding Manor."

May Rose lead the young ladies from the marked-off area to the path. "From here you can see the front gate. It locks to the outside. Should you decide to walk out, you'll find you cannot return. But it does open. This is not a prison. Staying here is a choice. You all volunteered to come, and are of the age of consent according to the laws of your homeland and time period. I give instructions, not orders. If you decide not to follow the instructions, leaving is an option. Your original fate is always available."

It didn't matter how often May saw it from the outside, that any structure of this size could exist still took their breath for a moment. May doubted the girls would understand. They were from a time and place where everywhere structures stood whole and tall, or so May had heard. It was hard to imagine rubble ever being something greater.

May opened the double doors. "This is the main entrance and foyer. Though you are always welcome to use it, we mainly gather here when company is expected."

They went up the grand staircase and down a long hallway. "This lounge marks the entrance to my quarters. You're always welcome to knock on my door, and to sit here until invited in. As you can see by this indicator, I'm not presently in my quarters."

May waited for the group to all acknowledge what was said. It felt pointless, as they were still settling their minds. Still, it was a prudent part of the required tour. May motioned to the next hall. 

"Here are your rooms. You will see a digital screen with your likeness and your new names. Once you touch it, the biometrics will link, and Budding Manor will know where you are as long as you live here."

"New names?" One girl asked. 

"To be detailed after you've gathered yourselves. Please, go to your doors. Touch your screens. Once you are registered, go inside and acquaint yourself with your surroundings. There is time to nap, bathe, and dress. A display inside will countdown to our next activity."

All but one member of the group managed the task. May approached the young lady with wide, round, innocent eyes and golden hair loosely braided on either side of her head.

"My hand isn't registering." 

May examined her hand. There was so much filth she might as well be from the present. 

"I see. Fear not, I can solve this." May touched the screen. "Override unlock, instructor May Rose." 

The door opened. A peaceful tone chimed. "May is here to see you, Jade," a voice from the room announced. 

"Oh, cool! Is that one of those virtual assistants of the clouds?"

May shrugged as they entered. "The manor does what it does. The overlords set it up. I know how to use it, but not what it is or how it exists. Now, how about if we clean you up?"

May watched as Jade spun around the room. The joy in her frolicking filled May with a new feeling, a pleasant feeling. What good could come of feeling like this for one of the charges? 

"Please come, wash your hands in your sink. I need to register you."

"My sink? I have a whole sink? To myself?" Jade came over and put her hands under the faucet. She jabbed them back and forth.

"I don't think it likes me."

May reached into the sink. The water flowed. Moving behind Jade, May eased her hands into the moisture. Once wet, soap was added.

"So many bubbles! I don't think I've ever been this clean. Thank you for helping me." Jade leaned back against May.

#AtoZChallenge 2022 tribute badge

Question: Do you ever have trouble getting touchless motion sensor items (sinks, hand dryers, toilets, doors, lights, etc) to recognize your personhood and come on? 
😶 Not just me then... 

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  1. Such a contemplative and dark beginning, which transforms into Jade's bubbling excitement. Lovely transition - you really know how to get us dying to read the next part!
    I can never get automatic taps to stay on - I think the skin on my wrists is too translucent (I am pale as pale can be) and when I move my hands further under the tap the sensor can't see I'm there 😉.
    Tasha's Thinkings: YouTube - What They Don't Tell You (and free fiction)

  2. Jade sounds like she just came from somewhere worse whatever time/place Budding Manor is in.

  3. Mummy has trouble with the motion sensor light outside the front door. She has to tap it. She told me so. I go to the front door sometimes, but never when it's dark.

  4. This was great to read, I wish I could write stories but happy writing (or trying) to write poetry. I have a few problems with things in the home but get by.

  5. You've very skillfully caught me up in the story, and while I don't like to wish time away, I am looking forward to the next installment. Budding Manor has a lot of secrets yet to reveal doesn't it? While I don't often have trouble with touchless sensors, no device ever recognizes my fingerprint. Sometimes I imagine perhaps I don't actually exist. :-)

  6. I often have trouble getting touchless motion sensor doors to open. Faucets are usually cooperative.

    Visiting from A to Z twitter chat
    Anne from Australia

  7. AI doesn't like me much... I'm enjoying this story!

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

  8. I always have trouble with automatic doors. They never seem to recognize me and I have to do this silly back and forward dance thing to get my presence to register.

  9. Hmm...Jade can't register to unlock her door nor does she trigger the soap dispenser. Intriguing. 😏

  10. Yes! So frustrating when that's the only way the water will come on. Nice start to the story, J.
    Janet’s Smiles

  11. Awesome! I loved the contrast from the place the girls come and the Manor.
    I've never had problems with a sensor, but once at a supermarket entrance the detector started beeping, I went out and it beeped back. I started running in circles around the detector, hands open -Wiiiii!
    The kids laughed, the policeman had that wtf look. I don't say that it was because of me that the next week there were one-way bars at the entrance, just a weird coincidence.

  12. Very well written. So sharp. I came in a little late and now going back to read the previous posts. You got me hooked.

  13. Spooky. Very east to wonder what’s coming next. From all the prompts you received, I can see that this is a challenging project.

  14. Ah, I was wondering what you had in mind for Jade that the Manor couldn't "see" her. I have problems with my finger, hence why I avoid any phone device that doesn't allow me a password option!

    Debs visiting this year from
    Debs Carey-NLP Coach

  15. I always have trouble with those touchless sinks, and sometimes with touch screens, too.
    I'm a little worried about these girls...
    B is for Breathing Fire

  16. Sometimes I have trouble with those devices. Feeling worried about Jade's future.

  17. Beautiful. Feels like the start of a dystopian novel. Here from the A-Z road trip!


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