Pandora’s Box of Horror Challenge

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284px-Opened_up_a_Pandora's_boxThis was really more of an exercise put forth by a member of Women Writer’s Group on facebook. Several folks submitted their one-word horror story and those submissions were compiled into a list. The challenge was to use all of the words in a 500 word or less horror short story. A great way to stretch the old gray matter!

The words: laundry; Shh; spiders; failure; assault; moist; slice!; exhole; freakotomy; disco; underground; procrastination; stoic; writing; parasitic; boredom; suffocating; rats; bbbbbreathe; politics; Monday; child abuse; infanticide; if; war; Alzheimer’s; truth; Shvitz; life; diarrhea; alone; mother-in-law; darkness; infinite; traffic; debt; disease; forgetfulness; blood; clowns

Here is my attempt.

When my exhole left me alone with these two screaming brats, he also left the gift that keeps on giving, my disease ridden mother-in-law. Despite her forgetfulness, she is as least good for laundry duty which is more than I can say for the exhole or his kids.

When I first saw that jerk at the disco twenty years ago I should’ve kept walking. Maybe I would have married that stoic accountant that I dated before the exhole. Maybe he only talked politics and I might have died of boredom, but at least I wouldn’t be stuck with these parasitic dependents. I wouldn’t have had a marriage that was an infinite war. Well, I suppose it wasn’t infinite was it?

I’ve spent my Monday writing in my journal and cleaning up shit. The baby’s I can kind of understand but the mother-in-law? Her Alzheimer’s medications must have given her diarrhea for the third day in a row. She must be forgetting to pull her pants down to use the toilet, that’s the only way it could get so bad. No wonder he took off.

When he first left I could only shvitz over all our debt and the suffocating needs of these people but after some procrastination I have a plan. In all truth, I am looking forward to my freedom after I complete the freakotomy.  If I don’t finish it this darkness will never leave me. I hope that this time it sticks.

It was surprising how moist her throat felt after the first slice! A sharp odor of iron assaulted my nose as her warm blood cleansed my hands. After many failures, that was one way to cure her of her fear of clowns! The baby was much easier, no fears to overcome.

It’s not child abuse if I’m freeing everyone, right? Infanticide, maybe. But abuse? Never! I’ve prepared a place underground for them where I cleared away all the spiders. Little June was always afraid of them. I guess she’s cured of that too. The place is well away from traffic and will be so peaceful. If the rats stay away it will be perfect.

She is the final piece to my plan. I smell her before I see her in the chair covered with her own filth.

“Please, don’t do this. We can figure this all out. You don’t need to do this,” her voice grates on my ears.

“Shh.”

“Please. Please untie me. I can’t bbbbbbreathe!”

“Shh.”

“Please, I don’t even know who you are. What do you want? You can’t just break in here and do this! Where are my babies!”

I hesitate for a second. The Alzheimers is making it hard for her to understand. I’m moved by compassion to end this.

For the moment, the silence releases us all.

The End

It felt like mental gymnastics to get all those words in there (did you guess mine was spiders)! If you dare to open Pandora’s box further, you can see more submissions at https://www.facebook.com/PandoraBoxOfHorrors

Technology and Death…or Not

One of my works in progress deals with how we let go, or not, of loved ones who have died. Thanks to medical technology we sometimes have to grapple with the question of if our loved one is truly dead and questions about when death actually occurs are raised. Consumer technology has made it possible to let our digital life continue after our physical bodies are dead in the form of a continued Facebook page or LinkedIn account. It is the inherent nature of technology to continually evolve and this arena is no exception.

There is a service called LIVESON that uses Artificial Intelligence to learn about your likes, tastes, and writing style by monitoring your twitter feed. After you die LIVESON will continue to tweet for you based on what it has learned. Their tagline is “When your heart stops beating, you’ll keep tweeting”.  Ultimately, a person you have designated as executor of your LIVESON will has the power to determine if the feed stays “live”.

Perhaps you have heard or even participate in Lifelogging. For those haven’t; it’s the act of recording and archiving all the information of your life:  texts, video, audio, media access, emails, blog posts and comments, as well as physical activity, health statics, etc. The data is logged and archived. Wearable computers have made Lifelogging fairly easy and cheap. Just a couple of days ago at the CES in Las Vegas Sony announced Lifelogging software that interfaces with a Smartphone and a wearable item that tracks activity. It logs everything from what photos you took with your phone to how many hours you slept. The wearable hardware features a “life bookmark” button to highlight a point on your timeline as it happens.

Gordon Bell, an award winning engineer and pioneering Lifelogger, has told New Scientist magazine that he created a program for the AI software firm Cognea. His software allows a chatbot to mine lifelogs to answer questions in the same manner the log owner would. After a person dies their lifelog and chatbot, or avatar, or CGI representation  could live on continuing the lifelog timeline.

Albert Hubo  Photo by David Hanson Dayofid at en.wikipedia

Albert Hubo
Photo by David Hanson Dayofid at en.wikipedia

 

For some people these measures could bring comfort in the face of a loss. Others may find it macabre or unsettling. Spiritual and ethical issues could make it desirable or repulsive depending on the viewpoint. In Victorian times, when the technology of photography was evolving, it was common to take post-mortem photos of loved ones. Perhaps, this is a strange step we take to  integrate technology into our lives, making it a part of death.

It was common in the Victorian era to photograph the dead as a keepsake. The girl standing is deceased, she is propped up with a stand.

It was common in the Victorian era to photograph the dead as a keepsake. The girl standing is deceased, she is propped up with a stand.