July 04, 2012
This week's challenge, from Flash Fiction Friday -
F3 - Cycle 86 - Quiet Freedom Fighters
... librarians are unconditionally committed to open access and for this I am grateful. Oh, I’ve paid my share of fines; I don’t always get off scot-free. But on a few occasions I have received amnesty when I totally didn’t deserve it. That is grace, my friends. And in my mind, that makes librarians angels of a sort.
They are also very knowledgeable about what makes a book good. Whenever I’m knocking around the library, wanting something to read but not knowing what, I always find myself at the “Staff Picks” table, as I did a couple of Saturdays ago. One book caught my eye because it is the size I like: larger than your usual paperback and still a paperback but not the size and bulk of a hardback. And the title was captivating to me: We Need to Talk about Kevin, by Lionel Shriver. I scanned the description and nearly put it back. It is about a fictional school massacre as told by the killer’s mother. Seems too grim, I thought. But the librarians recommended it so I took it with me. I’m glad I did.
So, for the sake of freedom and in humble dedication to those living ladies and gentlemen of liberty called librarians, I offer you this prompt:
Prompt: Use this starter sentence to write your story: We need to talk about Kevin.
Genre: Any Word limit: 1,300 Due Date: Wednesday, July 4th at 9:00 p.m.
Submission Instructions: Please post the name of your story and a link to it in the comments of this post.
PS: Make it a good one; we’ll be voting on which story is the best of the bunch. And please, make sure to comment on everyone’s submission.
My story below - short of the limit at only 629 words, but seemed enough
"We need to talk about Kevin," she said. "John, pay attention!"
He peered over the top of his newspaper. "Kevin? What's the problem, dear? Poor grades this year?"
"No, excellent grades," she said. "I wish it was just that. I should have noticed sooner, but what with the summer days being so long, and him heading right to his room when he gets in, I just didn't see it."
"Oh shit," he said. "A lot?"
"No, just sometimes. He doesn't seem to even notice it, but I'm afraid we might be too late, he might already be in The Change."
Kevin's was the first generation to show The Change. Jean had read that they now thought it was related to some the physics experiments way over in Switzerland, but whatever the cause, it was here now, and spreading.
"I kept meaning to have a talk with him," said John. "Damn. How soon can we get him in to see the doctor?"
"I already called," she said. "Tomorrow morning."
"What excuse will you use?" he said.
"Doc Watson will pretend it's some vitamins shots," she said. "But it will be a mild tranquilizer. Once Kevin is under he can be fitted with a controller to limit his powers."
"It's too bad, in a way," said John. "His powers might be only a tiny boost in some areas - like a better runner or faster swimmer."
"John, you know most have been much more than that. Which is why the government has had to hunt them down, then put them away."
"So they say," he said. "But no one ever sees them again."
"Exactly," she said. "We can't take that chance."
"No, of course not," he said.
They were sitting watching TV when she heard the door slam and Kevin head for the stairs. "Kevi? Could you come in here a sec?"
Kevin slouched in. "Mom, I'm tired, can't this wait?"
"No dear," she said. "I'm worried about your health, you seem run down."
"Don't worry about it," he said, then turned to go.'
"Wait!" she said. "i think it might be, ah, might be the flu. I've made an appointment with Doc Watson for you." She tried to hold his eyes, then looked away.
Kevin smiled. "When?"
"Tomorrow," she said. "First thing. I'll go with you."
"Why the rush," he said. "Maybe I don't feel like going."
"Now Keven, it's not a choice," said his father. "You'll go with your mother tomorrow, straight to the doctor."
Kevn smiled at them, then raised his arm. In the darkened room she could see a small trail of sparkles flowing between his fingers. "No, I'm afraid I can't do that," he said. "I've been talking to my friends, and we've seen what's happens to people after these sudden visits to Doc Watson."
"But if you don't go ..." she said
"Yes, we've seen what happens then too," he said. "I'll get reported, and try to run, the news will be full of warnings about some made up contagious disease I have, and the next thing you know a SWAT team is tracking me down. No - we won't be doing that anymore."
"Now see here son!" said his father.
"Sit still, both of you," said Kevin. He flung a shower of sparks at them, and suddenly Jean couldn't move.
"Dad, be quiet. And stop glaring at me," said Kevin. Another gesture, and - to her horror - Jean watched the skin flow over her husband's mouth, then his eyes, as if they had never been there.
"Now," said Kevin. "I'm heading up to bed. You guys stay here - we'll talk more in the morning about this." He bent over and kissed the top of her head. "Nite mom."
There are so many questions I have that are left unanswered. Why do the people the government hunt down disappear? Why are they not just fitted with a controller and returned to their lives? Can controllers be removed? How can the people fitted with them not realize they have them on and not try to remove them (even surgically, if need be)? Is the Change psychological as well? Kevin's personality seems to have become sadistic, cruel, and uncaring now that he has his powers. I hope he wasn't that way prior to the Change.
When I read that Kevin "sparkled," I instantly though he may be a Twilight vampire :). Great job - it leaves me wanting more.
Posted by: Carmen | July 04, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Carmen - glad you have questions - so do I when I re-read this.
My thinking was that the kids that get hunted down are mostly killed - not because the government is particularly cruel with them, but many of the kids are already strong enough that they can't be safely captured. And maybe fitting a controller doesn't always work well after The Change, so they are all detained for observation and tests.
As for Kevin's personality, I imagine that the kids feel some enhancements The Change starts, and want to keep those powers, but are resentful that the adults react automatically with suppression, rather than trying to manage this next step in evolution.
Hmm - yes, good questions. I'll be using these ideas when I re-write this, thanks.
BTW - I think I'll re-write most of these eventually and publish. The initial versions here are usually very last minute, finished right at the deadline.
Posted by: Ravens | July 05, 2012 at 11:30 AM
I enjoy stories about malevolent, willful children. Reminds me of my babysitting days, and how I don't have to babysit anymore. lol
Posted by: CMStewart | July 05, 2012 at 01:17 PM
Whoa! This is fantastic! Gave me a chill right from the start because there was a sense that something was terribly wrong with Kevin. But, Kevin obviously, isn't going to be quietly put down or controlled either. Considering Dad's new 'condition', I think Mom had just better smile and nod--that is, while she can...
Posted by: Joyce Juzwik | July 05, 2012 at 07:57 PM