I missed last week again. I was writing several pieces for competitions--Writers of the Future, NYC Midnight's 100 Word Microfiction Challenge, and the Literary Taxidermy contest. But, those are all done and dusted and submitted, so I have time this week to get back to my favorite weekly exercise.
A word of warning, this one is pretty dark and includes a bit of violence. The picture that inspired it is:
The park grew up around the stones. Everyone just thought they were statues some overly ambitious sculptor had started, then abandoned. If I had known about them, I would have evacuated and quarantined the entire town.
A stray baseball started the apocalypse. The new baseball diamond was just too close. During the first game, the visitors’ Designated Hitter sent a foul ball rocketing into the sculpture garden, chipping one of the weird crescent things. Several others followed throughout the day, making their own dings and dents. The accumulated damage must have been enough to trigger the sleeping AI into doing something about it.
When little Joey went to retrieve his brother’s foul, the AI probably assumed he was responsible for all the others, as well. Or maybe it was just mad enough. Either way, when Joey stepped onto the rough stones, the response was instant.
The force-field threw him backwards. His broken body landed between third base and the pitcher’s mound. The stone veneer hiding the alien machine flew off in all directions. Stone shrapnel took out several spectators, including Joey’s Mom—a blessing some said, since his brother Tommy was also riddled while running out a single.
My investigating team arrived the next day. The artifact’s crescents were fully powered-up, maintaining an impenetrable force field, and it was broadcasting across the entire hyperspatial spectrum through its hat-shaped antenna. Although details differed, I recognized most of its components.
It took me over an hour, speaking in the clicks and hums of its native language, to convince the AI that its builders were long-since dead and that nothing was going to respond to its message. Then the alien ship’s wormhole opened in the sky, vaporizing half the town. I’m pretty sure they won’t like the fact I’ve been lying about them.