Friday, March 17, 2023

Micro Fiction March Day 17


I had absolutely no idea what I was going to write for today's challenge, titled Burning Out (a title taken from a song by Philip Sayce). I had a busy morning and early afternoon and so it was only on the train home that I could sit down and think about it. Early ideas revolved around a planet-wide fire on an alien world (before I remembered that was a little too close to something in Iain M Bank's novel The Player of Games) and then this idea just arrived almost full formed in my head. Getting down to 300 words proved a challenge, but I managed after a little pruning. Hope you enjoy...

Burning Out

There’s a picture of a lily on the wall. It means everything to me, because it’s the only thing of yours I have left.


“You have to weigh things up,” he says, “Go with what makes sense to you.”

My face screws up in anguish, a man caught in the no-man’s land that lies between two opposing possibilities.

“I love her,” I say, my lip trembling with the words.

“Sure,” he nods, “And she doesn’t love you.”

An icepick through my heart.

“But what if she does?”

“Hey, you told me the story,” he says with an embarrassed shrug, “it’s pretty clear she doesn’t,”

“No,” I say, looking down at the floor, “No, she doesn’t. Not anymore.

“And that’s fine,” he says, “Shit happens. Other fish in the sea. You don’t need to do this.”

My throat makes a weird noise, a laugh that turns into a sob.

“If I do this, she’ll really be gone?”

“Everything about her. The good, the bad, the ugly…”

I nod in silence, eyes to the floor again.

“The good was so very bright,”

“And you can keep it,” he says, “You don’t have to do this.”

“No,” I say, after some deliberation. “I do. Because how do I live in such dark after having lived in the light?”

“You’re sure about this?”

“Yes,” my lip trembles again. “Yes, do it.”

“Great, we’ll back you up first,”he says, “Then we’ll go in and we’ll work on the back-up. Erase her where we can. Modify her where we can’t. Then we’ll scour everything else; media, messages. We’ll fill the gaps seamlessly. Upload. When you wake she’ll be gone. Burning out complete.”


There’s a picture of a lily on the wall. I don't even remember buying it. Can think of better things to hang there.

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