Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Entry #80

Antimatter Roses
by Aidan Fritz

Ella swiped her badge against the security plate. Today was the day. Her palms sweated, they hadn't done that since her interview at the supercollider lab.

He had to love her. He was her mirror, positive and negatives switched. Her mother would scoff at their relationship. She'd ask, how could Ella know love if she'd never met the man? It was the dance of decaying particles.

Ella wasn't sure how long she'd stood there. The security plate blinked red. Access denied. She swiped her badge a second time. Blasted door, picking today to fail. The clock ticked.

Entering Director Allegheny's paper-strewn office, Ella said, "Something's wrong with my badge."

"Nothing is wrong."

"I can't access the supercollider core."

"You have worked too hard. Take some time off."

Bosses never understood. "Are you firing me?"


"I need access to the collisions." Her passage required alignment.

"No." Allegheny approached awkwardly like test tubes in an earthquake. "The psychological models predicted your actions. You must abandon this line of inquiry. The world consists primarily of antimatter. You believe in a mirage."

Ella slammed the director's door. Allegheny was an apparatchik, caring more about the dollars in grants that would disappear. A life waited for her.

It was easier than Ella expected. A custodian left his cart and badge outside the restroom. The security plate blinked green.

Accelerated particles streamed to strike the plate. Scared, she stepped into the beam. A flame-limned hand stretched to meet her. Her lover.

Today was the day.


Chris Alliniotte said...

This is such a great blending of sci-fi and emotion. The lack of feeling is why I'm usually turned off by "hard sci-fi". Not so here - very intriguing.

Phil W said...

I agree with Chris. This story is both compelling and repelling, that is, I feel for her, but I'm wondering if she's killing herself at the end.

Unknown said...

@Chris & @Phil, Thank-you, I've found myself writing a spate of science fiction stories lately and the timing seems to align with my attempts to improve how I capture emotions. Glad to hear that it worked for you in this flash.

Unfortunately, @Phil, I chose to leave the ending slightly up to the reader (I think there are a couple of clues to push it in one direction). Therefore, the repelling is intentionally balanced into the ending.

Precie said...

I agree with the other comments. Smart, real sci-fi with genuine emotional investment. Nice!

Loren Eaton said...

Oh, I like this one, particularly the matter/antimatter dichotomy and how it plays into the love story.

Aimee Laine said...

So she's going into the antimatter for a life she has only envisioned and will disappear from this world?? Well ... hey .. I just hop he was 'the one!' :)

Crafty Green Poet said...

Excellent sci-fi with emotional impact too

Anonymous said...

"It was the dance of decaying particles."

Love it.

Your dialogue is also great. Very believable.

Catherine Vibert said...

Oh man, that fantasy world will get you all messed up, every time... Great dialogue and psychology.

Anonymous said...

"like test tubes in an earthquake"??? Oh come ON who writes like that? I LOVE that line. Amazing characterization in such a short space.

Katherine Tomlinson said...

Emotional, elegant writing with a killer title. And all in 250 words. Excellent.

Unknown said...

I agree, nice blend of science fiction/science fact and emotion.

Nicely done.

Dottie :)

(so glad she didn't just burn up..)

Unknown said...

@Precie, thanks!

@Loren, matter/anti-matter seemed appropriate; opposites attract ;)

@Aimee, sometimes love takes faith :)

@Crafty Green Poet, Thanks!

@Zobair, I think it was the Tavernier Stones contest where I first felt comfortable with dialogue.

@Catvibe, good point; I'm going to have to remind myself what is reality and what isn't. :)

@Aerin, I worried a little that the test tubes line might take someone out of the story, but it fit Ella's viewpoint so well that I couldn't cut it. Glad you enjoyed it.

@Katherine, Thank-you!

@Dottie, I like your reading!

SzélsőFa said...

as other have said before me, a compelling scifi with human emotions and a lot left for imagination. i like the ending, too!

Unknown said...

Hi Aidan,

I'm not usually a sci-fi reader, but you won me over with this one, leaving my mind fizzing with wonder. Intriguing stuff.

Loved the reference: "dance of decaying particles".


Susan Ellis said...

Had me hooked in from the beginning. Love your styled of writing.

bluesugarpoet said...

Fresh twist on the love story theme. I like how you make this fantasy world accessible to the everyday reader. Nicely done! ~Jana A

Old Kitty said...

Whao!!!! Now this is what I call a love story!! Thank you, take care x

Rachel said...

I'm not a SF reader. But you had me at the title. Studied this stuff back in the day and still check on the LHC to see what's colliding.

Great story and well put together. Wonder what the half-life of love is....

Unknown said...

@SzélsőFa, Thanks. Endings can be hard, especially one like this that needs to balance many things.

@Col, glad you enjoyed the dance.

@Susan, thank-you!

@Jana, my style tends to be very surreal blending science and/or fantasy into the stories, but I hope to capture it in a way that it is accessible, so I'm glad you enjoyed.

@OldKitty, Thanks!

@Rachel, I got to visit a high-energy collider once. They are interesting places. Hopefully the half-life of love is a lifetime ;)

Michele Zugnoni said...

Great world building. I'd love to know more.

Thank you for sharing!

Unknown said...

Some nice imagery and a good ending. Not too shabby.

Richard Levangie said...

Intriguing storyline and some lovely turns of phrase. Well done!

Lisa Gail Green said...

Nice sci-fi! :D Always love a good interdimensional romance.

Choco said...

Different... I found myself wishing for a second half at the end of it! :)

EC said...

Loved the romantic urgency you entwined into this neat little sci-fi, especially the end - fantastic finish.

JaneyV said...

Aidan - I loved this story. I can only echo the comments that went before. Well done.

Wavemancali said...

You were in my top 5, glad to see you made the 40's club. Hope to read more of your stuff next contest :)

PJD said...

Just had a chance to read this for the first time, and I truly enjoyed it. Love the tone, the plot, the ambiguities. Even though the test tubes line caught me up like a speed bump, I loved it. In reading this story, the reader has to take a certain distanced, outsider's view, and I found it delightful.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful story clothed in this techno science theme! I was a fan of this one. Very memorable! Very well written.

Congrats on Forties Club!