Thursday, April 7, 2022

#SFF #AtoZChallenge Fail to Appreciate

#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).

Finding out your species is extinct isn't easy. Learning that your life has been saved so you can breed it back to life is even harder. May stood in silence while the students processed.

"I just started college. I'm studying finance. What about that?"

"What good would a degree in finance be? Didn't you hear her, err, him, uhh… that May person who said our species is gone?" Opal fired back at the girl.

"Pets? We time-traveled to become pets? What, like roll over and fetch?" Another student cried.

Opal cursed. "More like spread your legs and pop out babies."

"What!" The girl fell off her chair. "I've never even kissed. May said pets, not whores."

"Ever watch a dog show? Think they don't breed those champion pets?" Opal turned to May. "I'm right, aren't I?"

May crossed their arms and nodded.

The girl on the floor fought to breathe. Jade moved from her window seat to sit beside the girl. She stroked her hair. "What's your name?"

After answering with a name from before the devastation, and being corrected, the girl answered, "Honey."

Another girl came and sat beside them. "I got the name Amber. Sticky goo turned to stone. At least Honey sounds sweet and sticky. Better than a hard goo stone."

Honey smiled a little, her breathing normalizing. 

May cleared their throat. "I am sorry that the choices are not optimal. You all have the choice to be my students, to prepare for the task ahead, or not."

Opal launched at Jade. "Breed or die? We have a word for that, you know. How do you live with yourself? Monster."

May raised an eyebrow. "I was not born in this place. I was born in Rose, a name meant to mock the place for the stench. My mother died soon after. My father was sold. My grandfather died in the squaller where we once resided. I couldn't get him out. And my grandmother the men tried to turn into a breeder. Finding out she was too old for the task did not stop them. Go out the gates. You'll find that breed or die aren't separate choices. The devastation is not the only reason there are no fertile females left."

Opal took a step back. "And we're, what, expected to carry their children?"

"How will we fall in love and get married if we can't go beyond the gates? You said you're the only one here." Honey pulled at her fingers as she spoke.

"I am your instructor. Until we have guests, I am the only one here that any of you shall encounter. The guests are well-trained and conditioned. That is still some time away and not worth worrying about yet."

"Translation, there's no falling in love or getting married," Opal spat. 

Jade slid across the floor to May and placed her hand on their leg. 

Tears rolled down Honey's cheeks. "I'll never fall in love?"

May reached down to stroke Jade's hair. "That is a question I cannot answer. My grandfather loved me. He struggled twice as hard every day to keep us alive. When the opportunity for this position became available, he helped me get it. Giving someone the best possible survival scenario is what I call love. Yet you fail to appreciate me? My instruction will prepare you. I will see to the compatibility of your mates and future owners."

"You're selling us? Is that how you afford this place?" Opal threw her hands up.

"I sell no one. This place is where I am kept. For that, I am extremely grateful. Perhaps you would like to watch the videos again. Watch the devastation happen. Or I can pull up videos of the horror that is the present. I grew up beyond the gates. I know what it means to not have the gift of thriving in this place. Each of you were chosen because you fit the qualifications to be here."

"We're good breeding stock? I've never popped out a baby, so how would anyone know?" Opal paced as she asked her questions. 

"None of you have ever been with child. You have all shown interest in males capable of breeding, but have been untouched." May paused to give a warning glance to Jade. 

Jade bit her lip, nodded, and hugged May's leg tighter. 

"You only take virgins?" another girl asked.

"I take no one. The overlords decide on candidates. They tell the retrievers. You met at least one of them. They placed something on your head and got your consent to bring you here."

Opal huffed. "Didn't exactly mention it was to become baby factories."

"The gates open, Opal. Or there are other ways to stop surviving. Which was your alternative. None of you would have survived the first round of the devastation. You had all decided to go to the places that were hit."

Honey raised her hand. "Why not just go back and prevent the devastation?"

"I have no control over such things. For all the research I've done, it's not even clear as to what the tipping point was for the event. Time is fragile. You could be brought here because we know you would have died. And none of you were crucial enough that a lack of your remains would change the current timeline."

Opal threw a decorative pillow at May. "Don't say I'm not crucial. That's worse than calling me poor."

May offered the pillow back. "You will be crucial to the survival of the species now. And definitely not poor. The overlords love their pets. This manor is an example of the lavish lifestyle you can expect for yourself and your babies."

"Our husbands will at least help us raise the babies, right?" Honey asked.

"That is a complicated question requiring much detail to answer. We will cover it in another session before any guests come. The chef has prepared a meal. I shall adjourn to the dining room next door. You are all welcome to come eat, or stay here and contemplate, or return to your rooms." May helped Jade off the floor. 

#AtoZChallenge 2022 tribute badge

Question: 11 Richest Pets -- Would being a rich pet be better than your current situation?

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  1. Being a rich pet would be okay, but not if it meant I couldn't have my husband and friends & family.

  2. I think I'd rather be one of my pets -- they are showered in love and get to be as free as possible...

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

  3. Hello. Ludo here, using Mummy's blogger thing.
    I've never met a girl guinea pig, but being a pet isn't so bad. As long as you aren't abandoned, like I was. It's nice now, but abandoned was horrible.

  4. Don't fail to appreciate. A to Z challenge makes you write. Write and interact with a big blogger community.
    Effectiveness, Efficiency and Excellence - Engineering Supervision

  5. Traveling through time to discover you're now a "pet" would be quite interesting!

    Hope the AtoZ is treating you kindly.

  6. A well loved and cared for pet would be better than a "rich" pet, I think. I'm not rich, but my pets are spoiled and family.
    A "pet" as in the story (uncomfortable shudder) though? I understand the reasoning, but, just no. Volunteers would be different. Rich doesn't mean happy.

    1. Thinking the same thing. I´d prefer the way my pets live, even if not rolling in luxury cars, restaurant dinners and designer clothes, they don´t lack love.
      And about becoming myself a pet, I think it would be the same than being a trophy wife, just being pampered but living an empty life.

  7. I suspected the girls wouldn´t be as thrilled to know their destiny and that from their beloved ones. Let´s see how they learn to cope with their new life.

  8. An interesting tale . . . . Just passing by on the A to Z as I weave my way to the Big Z


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