Thursday, April 14, 2022

#SFF #AtoZChallenge The L Class

#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).

There was a loud popping sound as the suction broke on the shell. Opal licked her lips. 

"Oh my, that is nice." Opal was transfixed with the view of her potential mate. 

A few moments later, there was a buzz from the viewing room door. May checked the device. "I'll be back in a moment." 

The baker stood outside the door holding a cylinder with the shell. 

"I was expecting one of the guys from the lower levels," May said, taking the cylinder. 

"You know they hate to come up here. Besides, with the new timetable, they're busy looking for the Y class. How does it feel to know you're only two classes from completing your obligation and getting to go to safety?"

jasper red stone
May shrugged. "I'll miss this group, I think."

The baker nodded. "Especially the one who has stayed in your room." The baker placed a finger on May's lips. "We're past lying to each other. You figured out I'm not a baker, or from this time. We've both got our secrets. Do you still have the reddish stone?"

May nodded.

"Good. There's another secret going on, and you might soon be ready to hear it. But not today. Good luck with your class." The baker ran off. Back to being one more person behind the scenes that students never noticed.

After handing the shell from the cylinder to Opal, May tapped the device and the screen changed.

"The next event will show the cognitive and intellectual abilities of the men. This will take several hours."

May settled in a comfortable chair. The potential mates answered questions, completed tasks, read books aloud, wrote and performed songs or poems, and completed mathematical equations. 

"Why didn't we have to do this?" Honey asked.

"You were evaluated prior to being brought through time. You are each capable of performing at a suitable level." May answered. "Though your own physical prowess may not match theirs, except for Opal's, the overlords do not see that as a factor in producing offspring."

Once the tests were done, May asked the students if they held any preferences. Handkerchiefs were sent to the males who had caught their eyes. Honey held on to hers.

"I'm just not sure yet."

"That is your prerogative." May closed the cylinder and tapped the device. It was passed off a moment later. The men prepared for the race. On-screen, the Contrades were shown. A history of the Palio di Siena played. It ended by explaining the racers would carry packs, created by overlord Snail, rather than using animals as mounts. 

Private video sessions were done when tokens were presented. The guys were allowed to view those who expressed interest and exchange a brief greeting. Those given tokens were placed at the back of the pack. They had to work the hardest but were also the most motivated. 

The students had a light lunch of salads while waiting. As the sun moved to the highest point in the sky, the race began. The dangerous obstacles became clear as the first man, brought by overlord Porcupine, slid on rubble and fell down a hole. 

Opal turned to May. "What if the mate we want doesn't win? Or doesn't even finish?"

"Those who do not finish are not eligible to mate." 

Dragon's man lept over Goose's, leaving a bloody nose behind from a back kick. 

"Is that allowed?" Amber asked.

May shrugged. "Some of the overlords value displays of power and dominance, believing it will impress you."

"What if more than one of us favors the same guy?" Honey asked, toying with her fingernails. 

"Is that the case?" May asked.

"Maybe." Honey bit her lip. May turned to Jade.

"Honey, is it Dragon's that you favor?" Jade asked.

"I wouldn't take from you," Honey answered.

Jade crossed the room and handed the scarf to Honey. "After seeing that display, I feel less certain. I rather like my nose." 

May gave silent thanks that Dragon would not be displeased. Keeping Jade alive was hard enough as it was.

The final stretch of the race came as Dragon and Eagle's pets rounded the bend. Owl and Tardigrade's were just behind. Tortoise, Ram, Caterpillar, and Giraffe each had a man tied behind them. 

Roars, screams, and calls practically deafened everyone. Tardigrade's man burst ahead, Eagle's falling into third. Caterpillar's pushed past Owl's. Amber screamed at the screen, begging her potential mate to push harder. 

The focus became Dragon's and Tardigrade's. Dragon's man cut left, shoving Tardigrade's. It must have been like hitting a wall, for Dragon's man's arm bled as a bone stuck out. Tardigrade's pet took advantage of the hit, propelling his naked self to the finish line. 

Dragon's injured man came in second. Then Eagle's, Caterpillar's, Owl's, Ram's, Giraffe's, and Tortoise's each crossed the line. 

Tardigrade's man came on screen, holding Opal's handkerchief. "For this win, I give thanks to the one who gave this token, and to My Overlord."

Dragon's man was seen getting help in the background. Though the bone protrusion seemed not to be the biggest concern. "I lost? Lost! How can it be?" 

Amber turned to May. "What happens to the guys who didn't win? Or the ones we didn't pick?"

"Your class has the most desirable of your species. But there are others who will have a chance after you have made your choices." May thought of the previous classes. The L class would likely have completed their initial offspring raising and be ready to mate again. X's discards were the most likely candidates. 

"Overlord Tardigrade has never entered a winner before. What made you so good?" someone asked the winner.

"I have no idea. But it is a lot easier to run without that shell gripping my bits." He reached down to his swollen testicles. 

Opal laughed and cheered, holding up the shell. "That's my guy." 

#AtoZChallenge 2022 tribute badge

Question: Have you ever watched, or been in, a foot race with an obstacle course? 

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  1. They're all insane, aren't they?

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

  2. Opal's my kinda gal :) Thank you for incorporating my prompt so well into your story J. You really caught the wildness of the Palio beautifully and I've very much enjoyed reading it. I'll be sticking around to see how it ends - I've got to keep my eye on the significance of the baker after all ;)

    Debs visiting this year from
    Making Yourself Relationship Ready

  3. You definitely have a talent for this. Can't wait to keep reading.

    Janet’s Smiles

  4. I'll have to go back and catch up!

    Coming by from the A to Z Chat!
    Tim Brannan
    The Other Side | The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories

  5. Wow I can visualise the entire post... It was like I am watching on the screen. Superbly written!

    Hope you check out my A-Z challenge posts in which I am trying to have every sentence of the story (one chapter a day) start with the letter of the day

  6. This world seems quite Darwinian--winners hook up, looser go by the wayside.

  7. Wow, What would be the secret that baker referred to? Poor Dragon´s man, I hope his injury doesn´t get him discarded.


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