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 […]

Outtake from Fellowship & A Lesson

I’m deep in the last minute edits for Fellowship before I send it to the proofreader. Writing a book in the same world as My Soul to Keep that is not a sequel, has been interesting. So this week, I want to share an outtake from Fellowship and a lesson learned about writing before research. I am both a planner and a pantser. By that I mean, I write the story with a general outline. Since the outline isn’t very detailed I often go “off on a tangent.” I let the characters take me places that often end up on the cutting room floor as this excerpt did after I learned an important lesson. Before Research Ian opened and closed his fists over and over. It was weird. He’d never been afraid of hiking through the mountains before. It’s not right. Not fair. The Blue Ridge Mountains are my mountains. It was where Pop had taught him to hunt and fish and think. Pop was wrong about the Fellowship though. He thought it just needed some improvements. Pop used to talk about a time when he was young when he could walk where ever he wanted, even the streets of […]