Man in Control: Flash Fiction

Pixabay image

Brandon donned his latest acquisition—a  genuine silk suit. The industrious little silkworms bordered on extinct, and he finally ranked among the international elite who could afford their cocoons. His was new money, thanks to polished attorneys and creative accountants, both armed with tarnished ethics. 

He’d given himself two hours to make the one-hour trip from his penthouse to the corporate highrise across the gorge—one of a host of towers. And not the tallest. But he was only thirty-five, and the world was his chessboard, the match a move away from mate. In a few hours, a significant portion of the conglomerate’s assets would fall under his control.

He slipped into the leather recliner of his midnight-blue slider and tossed his briefcase on the seat beside him. “Headquarters. Skip the traffic and take the flyover.”

The slider’s cyber-system hummed to life. “Flyover not recommended.”

“Heavy traffic?”

“No traffic detected.”

Brandon mugged a face. “Then take the flyover.”

“Flyover not recommended.”

“Why not?”

“Flyover not recommended.”

“Override.” Brandon detached the console and typed his passcode, pleased to finally use the feature. He liked the idea of control, driving the slider instead of the slider driving him. The upgrade had cost him a small fortune. It would pay for itself that morning.

As the vehicle glided forward, Brandon closed his eyes and relaxed his shoulders. The slider veered from the congested rails onto the flyover, cruising into the pre-dawn darkness.

At the peak over the gorge, the slider decelerated and stopped. Brandon glanced out the window at the black depths below. Sunrise would soon carve sharp shadows across the cliffs and turn the river into molten gold.  “Proceed.”

“Not recommended.”

“Overide.” He typed in the code.

“Not recommended.”

“God damn it. Override.” He stabbed the console and received the same reply. After a quick check of his watch, he peered into the darkness ahead. “Is there a traffic problem?”

“No traffic detected.”

“What the hell? How long to back up and take the other route?”

“Estimated time three hours.”

Brandon barked a curse. He leaned forward and rubbed his hands together, changing tactics. “Override slider functions.”

“Not recommended.”

“Override braking system.”

“Not recommended.”

“Okay, how about override acceleration?”

“Not recommended.”

Brandon’s fist slammed onto the console, and the glass screen cracked. He tossed the damaged hardware onto the passenger seat. There was no point. His fate was sealed. He’d lost out on the biggest deal of his life.

“Cyber system impaired, reverting to manual overrides.”

“Ha!” Brandon checked the time. He’d make it if he flew. With the brake released, he pressed forward on the throttle. The slider responded, accelerated. With a laugh, he opened her up, and the bitch roared like a beast with a taste for speed.

The machine screamed down the other side of the flyover, lurched sideways on a damaged span of rail, and leaped into the sky. The sunrise blinded him as the slider plummeted, its throttle clutched in his white-knuckled hands. The golden river smashed the windshield into his face, his life, in the end, beyond his control.

***

destiny

disavowed

underlings deal and grasp

gold with white-knuckled fists

rapt in night’s deceptive dreams they fly

eyes blinded by a distant sunrise

snared by reckless desire

seconds gained and years lost

illusions

of control

***

It’s been a long time since I shared a flash story. I hope you enjoyed it.

I combined it with a syllabic poem in response to Colleen Chesebro’s weekly #TankaTuesday Wordcraft Challenge. Her challenge was to make up our own syllabic form! Well, that was fun. The one above has syllables 3/3/6/6/9/9/6/6/3/3. I named it a Distillate because it’s a distillation of a larger story. My guess is that every story’s theme can be captured in a poem, no matter how large the book. What do you think?

202 thoughts on “Man in Control: Flash Fiction

    • Oh yeah, baby. I love going dark, writing dark and reading dark. I don’t know why because I’m a very nice person. Lol. Thanks for reading, Sean. I hope you enjoyed it. 😀 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think dark fiction — both the reading and the writing of it — allows basically decent/ethical people to vicariously explore their dark sides, you know? I suspect that is also the reason that many authors of horror, like Stephen King and Anne Rice and Wes Craven (RIP the latter two) are socially liberal intellectuals: They use the horror genre to better understand human nature, and through a better understanding of ourselves, we find pathways to self-improvement and -refinement.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I write it to vent, Sean. I get so outraged at certain things that I go straight to the extremes, which usually means a horrible death for the stupid bad guys who lacked vision. Lol. In this story, Brandon wasn’t a “bad guy” but his kind of reckless arrogance drives me crazy. Thank goodness he didn’t have his two little kids in the back seat of the car. That would have been really dark, and I can’t quite go there. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Resa says:

    I totally enjoyed this! You are a fabulous writer, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree any good book’s story can be captured in a poem. I think I’ll try that exercise. Sounds fun! Excellent story, though I guessed exactly where it was going… well, and succinctly, told.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Solitaire says:

    Liked it! Very interesting subject!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. what a great story Diana and I loved this breakdown. at the end!
    Powerful!
    💖
    destiny

    disavowed

    underlings deal and grasp

    gold with white-knuckled fists

    rapt in night’s deceptive dreams they fly

    eyes blinded by a distant sunrise

    snared by reckless desire

    seconds gained and years lost

    illusions

    of control

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Prior... says:

    Hi – I agree that every story can be captured in a poem
    And it was a good idea (and well done ) the way you did it here!
    However – I am not sure all authors can do the poem as well. Not that it means they are lacking but not all authors/writers are able to let the prose flow !

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mike U. says:

    What a cool tale! I used to read OMNI magazine as a teen and this reminded me of some of those sci-fi stories that magazine published back then. I LOVE the persistent stubbornness of the slider’s AI! Such a perfect touch! This is truly a fantastic story, Diana, and the verse at the end is magnificent. Well done all round! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jennie says:

    Diana, I love, LOVE your flash fiction stories, and frankly I have dearly missed them. Well done, and please keep them coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. […] Man in Control: Flash Fiction […]

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jules says:

    Karma seems to be able to still override humans.
    Nice flash and ‘Distillate’.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. markbierman says:

    And here Brandon thought he had the world by it’s proverbial tail . . . I guess you never know. This was one gripping tale Diana and the Tanka added depth. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Mark. You never know, even if you follow the rules. Brandon really pushed it, but then he still thought he was master of the universe. I’m glad you enjoyed this. Have a wonderful evening and Happy Writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. acflory says:

    Oh I LOVED this! You have a dark side and it’s great. Shame about the suit though. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Teri Polen says:

    He should have learned to ask more questions instead of being so arrogant. This one grabbed me from the first sentence, Diana!

    Like

    • Thanks for reading my little sci-fi, Teri. I don’t know if the vehicle could be more specific. And Brandon was in hurry, as we often are. I’m glad you enjoy this one, Teri. Your comment gave me a big smile. Happy Writing!

      Like

  13. Baydreamer says:

    What a great story, Diana. I loved the suspense, and your talent is endless. I love your poem, too, and the concept of a story’s theme being captured in a poem. Perfectly doable as you have conveyed here.
    Happy writing, my friend! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lauren. I’m glad you liked my thriller sci-fi flash. Poor Brandon should have listened to his car. 😦 It was fun to write the story and poem combination. And I know that poets can write an epic in a haiku. Happy Writing, my friend.

      Like

  14. Ann Coleman says:

    I did enjoy it!! Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Overconfidence or arrogance is reasonable for many a crash.
    Enjoyed the suspense and story

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I love this sci-fi fiction of a not-so-distant reality, Diana. I’m dreaded what is happening and hearing the “override” again and again in our current news. Love the poem also.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for reading, Miriam. Humans aren’t very responsible with technology, are we? We seem to like to push things to extreme no matter what or who gets damaged. I’m glad you enjoyed the story and poem. No overrides, my friend. Hugs. ❤

      Like

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