Welcome to Muse on Monday!
The challenge is to write a story of your own based on the prompt below. If you’re 18 years old or younger, you can submit it using this link for a chance to have it published next Monday when the new prompt comes out. You just need to submit it before 12:00pm EST next Sunday.
If you have an idea for a prompt for a future week, you can also send me that at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story Prompt: April 5, 2021
SETTING: a volcano
OTHER ELEMENTS: a crow
And now, a story based on last week’s prompt:
- Setting: a space station
- Characters: a teacher, a janitor
- Conflict: loneliness
It was Lina’s first job. It had sounded so exciting in the ad: “Go to space! Make a difference!” Sure, space was a novelty at first: the slightly lower gravity of the space station and, of course, the view of the planet below her. But no one had told her that the emptiness of space would extend into the station.
She was in charge of behavior therapy for 4,096 kindergarten students spread over 16 space stations. They were part of what was called the Inner Corps, the people who would be born, live their lives, and die without knowing their physical bodies or taking a breath of real oxygen on their own. They would live their whole lives in a world of computerized magic, where you could step into a new world just by going through a door and where physics were just a matter of programming.
But they were real people, not computers, and when there was a problem, it took a real person to fix it.
Lina stood in front of the monitor, watching #115 (Damien) methodically breaking crayons at the table. At least he wasn’t attacking anyone at the moment. Lina had been at Kindergarten 45G for two days now, but already she could see this was going to take some time.
She didn’t know if there was anyone else on this station. She was ferried from station to station, wherever the problem kids were, so she rarely met anyone else. She could talk to the AIs but it all seemed so artificial. She might as well have an imaginary friend.
“So, how are you doing today?” she asked her coffee mug, sitting on the desk next to her. “You want to be my friend?”
Then, in a moment of disgust at how pathetic she was, she threw the mug across the room. It shattered against wall, sending porcelain and drops of coffee flying everywhere.
Fifteen minutes, the door chimed. She opened it from the control panel and a man in a work uniform stepped in.
“Hey,” he said. “I’m Amit, Facilities Specialist. The computer detected something breaking so I took the shuttle over from my pod to take a look.”
“My mug,” Lina said. “It slipped out of my hand.” They both looked at the point of impact on the wall that now looked more like a bomb crater than a coffee cup.
“Janitor Amit to the rescue,” Amit said with a grin and got a vacuum cleaner from the hallway. “Gotta admit that I was happy for something to do. I just came up last week and it’s pretty boring. I wasn’t even sure there was anyone here.”
“I’ll probably be here a while,” Lina said. She pointed to the screen. “Got a disturbed kiddo.”
Amit kept talking as he cleaned up the mug and spilled coffee, then stood talking for another few minutes, seemingly unwilling to leave.
There was a flashing light from the monitor. Damien was hitting a girl with a desk.
“I’d better be getting back,” Amit said. He grinned and gave a little wave, then left.
Lina turned back to her little hellion as the AI teachers rushed over to stop him. She’d have to go into the virtual school and have another talk with Damien. But her mind kept going back to Amit.
I wonder what I can break tomorrow?
Good luck and happy writing! Come back next Monday for another story prompt.