All Systems Nominal

Flash fiction comes in all lengths. The very best flash fiction has character, conflict, and plot. For me, flash fiction is all about mood. I hope you enjoy “All Systems Nominal.” All Systems Nominal by Lynette M. Burrows The soft whirring sound of M.A.R.C., the best medical assistive robotic caregiver money could buy, moved closer to the bed  The bed’s occupant, a human male, age 100, didn’t respond.  M.A.R.C. extended its sensor arm precisely two inches above the human’s still form and swept the man from head to toe. Readouts of respiration, pulse, core temperature, blood pressure, and other biological measures flickered across M.A.R.C’s chest. All systems nominal. Sleep mode. A mechanical arm reached out and tucked the blanket under the old man’s chin.  M.A.R.C slid back away from the bed and into its charging station. The parameters of its programming satisfied, it wouldn’t stir again for another sixty minutes. If the patient’s implanted A.I. detected an anomaly, it would alert M.A.R.C. M.A.R.C.’s programming included responses for all medical emergencies and would summon human help if necessary. But for all systems nominal, it would wait until the next programmed time to check on his patient.  His Early Life When the man […]

Flash Fiction: For Better or Worse

Marriage is meant to be a lifelong commitment. But a lifetime has many challenges. That’s why the older marriage vows included the phrase “for better or worse.” This poignant story tells how a couple handles their challenges. For Better or Worse Lynette M. Burrows They came in together. Gray-haired, bent, similar in size and shape, they held hands. She laughed at his lame jokes. Her laughter lit his face with a sun-bright smile. They shuffled up to the emergency room’s front desk.  The ER nurse put him in a wheelchair and rolled him back to the triage room. She listened to their concerns, then checked his blood pressure and listened to his heart and lungs. She told them there were no rooms right now but there would be soon.  They returned to the waiting room and sat in hard plastic chairs near the interior doors marked staff only. And they waited. His jokes slowed and her laughter grew strained. The nurses at the desk seemed to pay them no mind as they dealt with the people coming into the ER in ones and twos, and whole families. And after a while, the nurse called his name. She took the old man in […]

Take Another Peek at Paladina

It’s Friday and time for a Sneak Peek at Paladina, a work-in-progress. This story has been sitting on the shelf for a while. Inspired by UFOs and Greek mythology, I hope you enjoy this bit. The Story Sentence Paladina is a working title and probably won’t stick to this project. Its story sentence gives me direction and you a hint at what’s going on. (I discuss what a story sentence is in this article. A protection specialist, sworn to defend a tiny Greek village, discovers they are pawns of treasure-hunting alien knights whose game pits her against her long-lost brother to save all of humanity.  Location The story takes place in Greece. The time period is current–or fairly current. This portion of the story takes place in a fictional mountain town in the Taygetos mountains. This mountain range contains the highest mountains in the Peloponnese peninsula. Peak at Paladina Rena took the blindfold off, as instructed. She had to squint against the light of the battery-operated lantern the boy carried and shone in her face. She shielded her eyes with a hand and the boy pointed the light into the black depths. They stood inside a large silent cavern. The cone of […]