Monday, April 11, 2022

#SFF #AtoZChallenge Infant Sessions

#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 took the longest trip one could in Budding Manor. From the foyer to the training wing and up to the highest tower took the better part of an hour, but the trek was only made four times a year, so May didn't mind. 

"May Rose, caretaker and instructor at Budding Manor, reporting in. The twenty-fourth class of students is coming along pleasingly. They have gone from questioning and fear to acceptance and excitement over the last thirty sessions. I shall begin the unit on infant sessions, if this report pleases the overlords."

There were murmurs on a screen showing a council of overlords and their translators. 

"You continue to serve well. This progress is pleasing," the overlord Leo said.

"What of this glitch?" Nightingale asked, poking at the report onscreen. 

"A minor coding flaw. I followed the instruction guide to resolve it." May was careful about the wording, hoping to avoid a flat-out lie. 

"Why is it that the student who had the glitch also has the lowest score? Not just of this class, but of any you have trained?" Nightingale demanded.

"She is getting as many private sessions as possible. I will not fail to improve her score."

"Perhaps she was a poor choice. We could cut her loose, freeing you to focus more on the others. The Opal student is doing especially well. This Amber has the highest score of any of the breed. Ruby has excelled beyond expectations. Even Honey, usually the lowest ranking in a class, is doing beautifully. This Jade is a blemish on what would otherwise be classified as the most valuable set our council has ever had to offer."

May knew that Nightingale would not relent. And if the matter were investigated, the truth about Jade would be revealed. It had been foolish to ever think this could work out. 

"It will be considered. Jade's score will meet expectations by the end of the infant sessions unit or she shall be removed."

Nightingale leaned closer to the screen. "See to it the others do not decline in the process. In fact, I expect an increase. Raise their scores another ten percent each."

"Ten percent each?" May had offered the council a class with the highest scores, and now that class was expected to become legendary?

"And seventy percent for Jade. Unless you cut her before your next report. That is all."

If the other council members intended to provide feedback or have a say, it was too late. Nightingale had cut the feed. May sat alone in the dark in the tower, a long trek ahead. 

May pulled out a pocketed reddish stone. "What should I do? I can't let Jade die. But I was never going to be allowed to keep her, either. I should not have allowed myself to grow so close."

Down the stairs, along a corridor, down more stairs. May kept talking to the stone. Before this class had come, May frequently talked to this stone. An odd practice, but so much time in isolation resulted in some peculiar behavior. Most conversations nowadays were with Jade. Unlike the stone, Jade responded. But May didn't want Jade to stress over the impending doom about which nothing could be done.

Hopefully Jade would show a knack for raising infants. If her score did improve, that would buy time. Then perhaps May could come up with a plan to keep Jade alive a little longer.

#AtoZChallenge 2022 tribute badge

Question: Did you ever have classes on caring for an infant?

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Had some technical difficulties today, which is why this post was delayed. Sorry about that.


  1. I can totally see May talking to a stone... so in keeping with her character.

    I'm good at raising chickens, horses and dogs -- from infancy to adulthood and keeping them alive. Human children? I'll have to call my parents. LOL.

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

  2. You just can't win - when something isn't going well they say "You need to do better," and when you do really well they say, "Great, that means you should be doing even better."
    I is for Invisibility

  3. No classes on raising kids. Just had to wing it, much like I'm doing with my a to Z this year.

    Janet’s Smiles

  4. Poor Jade, I hope her grades get better. When I was 13, I was the babysitter of my 3month old cousin, so in a way I learned a lot about raising babies.

  5. When I was first pregnant I went to every class and read every book I could find. Same with the second. There was still a lot of guesswork going on.


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