[Sept20] Tribble Month 15: Legends

The prompt: Music Idol (in the honor of FFM’s David Bowie Day)

Honestly, if the prompt wasn’t for the DBD, I wouldn’t have written this, and I almost did not. I decided to set today’s story into a world far in the future where everything things that are considered at least relatively new today are pretty much ancient and take solace in the idea that the legends of the music world will never die but instead carry on through the test of time.

Alright, I’ll end this little description now and go somewhere else to be sad about the fact that we’re all going to die someday.

They say that legends never die. That their bodies might leave this world but their stories, their work, the impact they made on the world remain forever.

When I was young, I did not believe that. However, eventually I found a legend whose work many of us, each confined to the sanctuaries under the surface, are now relying on to keep our heads straight just like those who listened to them before us and our time.

The anger of Given Up and Forgotten, the melancholy of Leave Out All The Rest and Iridescent and the power of Numb and The Catalyst, all by a band called Linkin Park from an era long-gone echo in the hallways of the Heavy Metal Sanctuary. Back before the invasion, our band tried long and hard to replicate their powerful instruments, the legendary scream of Chester Bennington and the speed and versatility of Mike Shinoda, but we could not match such legends, so we moved to covers, to doing our very best to do justice for the legends whose music spoke to us — and so many, many others throughout the time.

Now, as we broadcast our takes on these old songs for the humanity to hear, we can feel the power of the old legends. The bodies members of Linkin Park died long ago in different era but they still live on as the legends they are.

The legends are with us still and they will never die.

That is our message for us all.

Do not ever give up.

“When life leaves us blind, love keeps us kind.”

[Sept20] Tribble Month 11: Hate

No prompt used.

I hate holograms.

I hate this bucket that we now call our home.

I hate my parents.

I hate my grandparents.

I hate everyone who took part in destroying Earth.

Was it really too much to ask them all not to destroy our planet?

I hate you.

…I hate everything.

[Sept20] Tribble Month 5: Not The Same

The prompt: Tea Time

I’m grateful for the botanists who managed to make tea — let alone my favorite type, green tea — thrive in our artificial environments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely grateful that I can enjoy tea like I did before the stupid apocalypse.

It’s just not the same, ok? I’ve compared it with what’s left of my pre-war stash and the tea up here isn’t the same. I don’t mean that it’s bad. It’s just… different. It’s not my tea.

I know I sound ungrateful, I know, but… after I heard of the tea that the botanists started growing here, I got my hopes up that at least one thing, one small thing, would be the same. And it’s not. And it feels so bad.

I just have to accept it and drink my tea without sugar.

If I close my eyes, lean back and think of the good old tea, my tea with one well-stirred sugar cube, it almost tastes the same.

When I imagine the fresh wind and the grass on the hill my love and I used to have picnics on, it actually tastes the same…

…but that’s just because my new tea has tears in it now…

[Sept20] Tribble Month 4: Good Times

A personal prompt inspired by a good WhatsApp group chat and reminiscence today: Good Times

My personal window showed me Earth today. It’s still far from the beautiful blue orb it was before the humankind destroyed it, but it’s still our home, no matter what.


The tea up here can never rival Earth’s own. However, I can always sit back with a warm mug of it and reminisce the good old times.


“Ah, good times.”

[Sept20] Tribble Month 1: Heavy Metal Voice

No prompts used.

Mother Earth was crying. She had been crying for so long already.

At first, my fellows and I thought that the blaring music that had become one with our sanctuary — perhaps even the essence of it, as its name suggested — blocked her voice. It was infuriating, even frightening how I thought I could no longer hear her because of the others. Yet, eventually, I learned something:

Mother Earth was talking — no, shouting her pain out — to us through the metalheads and their powerful songs. When I realized that, the music became soothing, in a way, despite of its aggression and power.

They may not be shamans, but at least they were all right; whether they could hear Mother Earth themselves or not, she had chosen them to be her voice in these testing times.

That realization… was the beginning of a whole new, unprecedented alliance.

The alliance of the Heavy Metal Sanctuary.

FFM 2020 30: Never Tickle A Sleeping Beast

No prompt used.

“Never tickle a sleeping dragon.”

They should’ve had the slogan say, “Never tickle a sleeping dangerous beast of any kind.”

I mean, the world of Harry Potter has other dangerous beasts than just dragons, so it’d make more sense, right?

Whatever. It’s too late anyway. The beast I tickled is now closing in on me.

I’m a dead woman already.

FFM 2020 13: A Wish for An Explosion

The prompt used: “I’ve heard that if you blow it up, you’ll get a wish.” by WindySilver.

“I’ve heard that if you blow it up, you’ll get a wish.”
“Yeah. Y’know, those mechas are a huge threat to us. I’m sure the adults would grant you a wish if you blew that place up.”
“If I had a death wish, I could just go there and get shot.”
“But you don’t, right?”
“I guess not, but I also don’t have a wish the adults could fulfill at least right now.”
“Well, blowing it up would still be appreciated, and I have the explosives for the job. Every bit counts in this war.”
“Yeah, right. My dad would chew me out if I made it back alive.”
“I know. Mine would too.”
“So, you coming with me?”
“Of course I am.”
“I knew you would. C’mon, let’s go. Time to blow up some mechs!”

FFM 2020 11: Heavy Metal Sanctuary

No prompt used.

Challenge: 1 cataclysmic event, 2 genres (one literary and one musical), 3 survivors. Optional element: include Survivor by Destiny’s Child or another song with survival-based themes.

My choices were: the invasion and devastation of Earth by another civilization (the Fiirddokha from some of my other stories), sci-fi and heavy metal and the three groups of people who made it into the heavy metal sanctuary despite of the invasion: 1) the metalheads, 2) the shamans, 3) the rest of the survivors. Naturally, the song Survivor was included in the story.

If the movie industry ever recovered from Earth getting invaded and thoroughly ravaged, the first soundtracks would be mainly heavy metal: loud and aggressive just like the destruction over our heads on the surface. I had found myself in an underwater sanctuary filled with artists and… quirky people, so my personal soundtrack was whatever the musicians happened to be playing. It echoed down the metallic halls every day in the small facility we were stuck in.

The musicians usually played heavy metal, pouring the destruction, loss and death into their lyrics and melodies. It was virtually impossible to escape it; the powerful bass and drums could be felt at least slightly in the floor and walls no matter where you were.

I wonder how the nearby fish and such took the music. They must have heard it; the rumbles were powerful enough to traverse in the water for sure.

The shamans, as they called themselves, certainly minded it. While they had tried to talk the metalheads into keeping it down, their efforts were fruitless to the point I feared that the two groups might start a miniature war inside the sanctuary. However, despite of being seemingly kind of detached from the normal society, the shamans knew better than to try and pick a fight with the metalheads. I’m pretty sure that the incident in which a poet played an insanely old pop song — Survivor by Destiny’s Child, if I recall correctly — then insulted the metalheads and got beaten up for it had something do with it. I personally didn’t mind the incident much since the poet’s taste in music was boring, but I’m sure that everyone in here knew not to mess with the loudest of us after that.

Until the surface is safe to walk on again, we shall live by the tunes of the heavy metal sanctuary.

FFM 2020 9: A Mysterious Hologram

No prompt used.

The challenge: the story must take place on or in a vessel where escape is an impossibility, there must be at least two characters who are in conflict with one another and it must feature an event utterly outside a character’s realm of expectation.

The hologram was still following me. I ducked into a storeroom where there should not have been any hologram projectors aside from the ones allocated for assistant holograms only; it should be a safe space away from it.

It wasn’t. The hologram stalked between the shelves and disappeared behind one of the colony ship’s many computers.

That was it. I was heading to the hologram control room. They had to know about this and they had to be able to do something about it.

The hologram followed me to the bridge, so I could point at it while explaining what was going on.

“It seems to be acting normally,” the operator I had been directed to mused. He sounded like he couldn’t care less. “Tigers are known to stalk their prey.”

“Why is it stalking me and literally no one else everywhere, even to the storerooms?!” I yelled.

The operator scratched his chin. “I’ll look into it.” He started to type something on his interface. “I see nothing wrong with this specimen. Are you sure you are not just imagining it?”

Yes!” I half-shouted, exasperated. “Why else would I be here?”

The operator turned to look me dead in the eye. “Do you have any idea how many times a day we hear complaints about the holograms?”

“I… No?”

“The average is five times an Earth cycle,” the operator told. “I know these things. The hologram works perfectly. It is not dangerous to you, so please, do everyone a favor and ignore it. It cannot eat you, after all.”

I wanted to complain because the hologram — tiger, was it? — unnerved me. However, I didn’t have a leg to stand on, so I nodded, murmured my thanks and left, trying to ignore the hologram even when it stared at me.

A few hours later, I turned to look over my shoulder when I was in an area with only one hologram projector. That one was meant for showing preloaded graphs and such, none of the system that holds our ship’s holographic nature together.

Yet there it was. The tiger. It was skulking around, looking at me.

Something was wrong with it, no matter what the hologram operator had said. I just didn’t know what or why, and with so many complaints around I would never get through to them. I’d only look more paranoid if I tried.

If only there was someone who took me seriously about this hologram…

Or was I actually paranoid, perhaps imagining it? Were there one or more tiger holograms I just happened to run into without hearing about or seeing them stalking other people?

No, it didn’t make sense. That tiger shouldn’t have been here of all places, and not in the storeroom either.

What was going on around here and why was I the only one noticing all of this?

FFM 2020 2: Mother Earth Dying

The prompt used: My washing machine is telling me to file for backruptcy. by WindySilver.

The challenge: Write a 369er (three separate but interrelated 69-word stories) with a conflict in their center. The first story must be after the conflict, the second one during it and the third one before it.

84 years after Fiirddokha invaded Earth, they finally got enough. We resurfaced into a barren wasteland, equipped with oxygen tanks because the atmosphere was mostly carbon dioxide then.

We knew immediately that restoring our planet would be the biggest challenge humanity had ever had, but we were up to the task.

Ten years have gone by and Earth is now starting to look more like itself.

We will succeed.

We shamans have been listening to Mother Earth weep for four decades now. Her cries have grown quieter over the years.

The greenhouses and zoos in our sanctuaries and on other planets are the only hope of restoring her after the invaders tire of hurting her. We must guard them — not just we shamans, but all still living humans.

If we don’t cooperate, Mother Earth will die for good.

“Honey, the washing machine is telling me to file for bankruptcy!” I called out from the laundry room.
“You downloaded something strange into our network again, honey!”
“No!” I knew I sounded too undignified to sound convincing. I looked at the message and admitted my defeat under my breath, “Okay, I did.”
“Told you so! Running the cleaning process!”

I sighed; our network cleaning process was always a pain.