Friday 10 February 2012

The Dorothy Delusion - part 11

Previously on the Dorothy Delusion: .1. .2. .3. .4. .5. .6. .7. .8. .9. .10.

The year is 2032. This is the City, centre of world politics.

Smith and Jones cradled his head in his hands. He had been Smith alone once, or maybe Jones. Never really alone, never in his whole life, there had always been his brother, his echo. But now his brother was dead.

Some detached part of his mind was aware of Munchkin, Fingers and Eyeballs in the other room, nursing their wounds. Fingers had patched them all up, and shot Smith and Jones full of some kind of painkiller. He had complained, because he was mostly only hurting on the inside.

Fingers was a qualified doctor, human anatomy is like a map of pain, he was fond of saying. He’d had to patch them up before, but never like this. That scrappy fighter had been like a machine, he’d taken them apart and broken them down.

Smith and Jones wasn’t himself anymore. He and his brother had always taken great pains, sometimes literally, to share a life, a body, an existence. What one suffered, so did the other. It was what their mother had always wanted for them. No favourites.

He looked at the table and Fingers’ surgical kit. He had watched his brother clutching at his torn throat, blood frothing through his weakening fingers. And they shared everything. He looked at the knives. No favourites.

Smith and Jones clenched his fists. No. That was not what their mother would have wanted. He was Smith and Jones now, sharing his life with his brother, sharing his head. Tomorrow they would visit their mother’s grave, it had been too long.

Through the viewing wall Dorothy watched the Siberian, Tiger, Simon. He was pacing back and forth in his cell with restless energy. She couldn’t get things straight in her head. She had seen him die, and yet here he was.

She felt as if she had betrayed him. She knew he had betrayed her.

The General stared angrily at his cell wall. He scowled his infuriated, frustrated scowl. Tomorrow, his trial would begin.

The images in Leon’s vision winked out and he looked up, startled to see he had visitors.

“That doesn’t look like rest to me, Lion.”

“Tin Man,” Leon smiled at him. “I’m too old to spend time resting. Scarecrow, finally out of bed?”

Scarecrow patted his wheelchair.

“Hey, boss. You know me, too much energy to sit still.”

He would make a full recovery. The doctors thought two weeks, knowing Scarecrow, he’d be out and sparring with Dorothy in one. And that would be good for both of them.

The Tin Man’s face turned serious. “You’re too old to be playing hero, Lion. But you saved us all, you know. I was right to bring you in.”

Leon managed not to laugh out loud; it would have hurt too much. Classic Tin Man, handing out a compliment with one hand, taking credit with the other.

“I’d be dead without you, Ian. Thank you.”

The Tin Man’s facade cracked for the briefest of moments.

“Get some rest, Leon. And stop hacking the hospital firewalls.”


Spare Parts (serial experiments) - some thoughts and comments on my experience with writing short serials over the past few months.

Recommended reading:
Touching, human, and just a little bit sci fi.

A note on memory implants. They're real. Almost.
One of the core concepts of this story came about when a good friend of mine reacted to this news with a feared, "but what if they put memories of having committed genocide into your head?"
So thanks, Alix, this one's for you. ;)


  1. Finishing this felt like I had finished a sequel. I'd quite like you to write the earlier chapter, I think it would deepen the power of what happens in this one. Simon, for example, would mean more to me, but also Smith & Jones, who are an interesting idea but flash by.

    You know, if you feel like it that is. ;)

    1. I think, if I'm being more critical, the first half worked better. The original story spark, the general's chip in Dorothy's head, are the stronger parts of the story, imo. It kind of petered out towards the end, I think, or maybe my short attention span got the better of me and I rushed things towards the end.

      There might be some earlier Dorothy and Tiger at some point. Not sure about Smith and Jones, I think he's a more interesting character now he's one person that thinks he's two people who are the same person, really... ;)

      Thanks, Pete. =)

  2. Although I look forward to seeing a serial brought to conclusion, and how the characters fare at the end, I always feel a sense of loss when it happens. Dunno if that sounds a little strange or not. I think I'm gonna miss these guys.

    It's been a great trip John, Thanks. :-)

    1. Thank you, Steve. That's really great to hear. =)

      I don't think it's strange, if the writer has been doing his job properly you should miss the characters. I know I've read plenty of single flashes too that I wish hadn't ended. =)

  3. I like the way you establish the new equilibrium with the final installment. “Human anatomy is like a map of pain”, is a great quote.

    1. Thank you, Aidan. =)

      Much like the epilogue to Godstorm, I quite like writing these gentler, calmer conclusions. =)

  4. I'd like to see this pulled together into a full story. This was good, but I think you could make it great.

    1. Thanks, FAR. =)

      It's definitely somewhere in my pile of projects, so someday, hopefully. I have it in my head as a vague idea to do a trilogy of novellas.

  5. I agree with FAR I think you could do so much more with this. I've enjoyed the ride even if I did get a little lost at times - but then I'm a dimbo sometimes, not to understand what I'm reading.

    I enjoyed this and as always your writing was wonderful! ^_^

    1. Thank you, Helen. =)

      I do think that it's up to the writer to make things clear, rather than the reader to have to work too hard. But I'm really happy you enjoyed it. =D

      Back to some one-off flash now. =)

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