Late Night Fiction #5

The beginning of this short story, which spans across several posts, has now been pieced together on one page. Scenes One, Two and Three can be read HERE.

I’ll be adding the new scenes as well—once I’ve worked out any kinks—so by the time you read this the page may include this portion too. I realized why I like posting it in small increments like this. Well, for one because now I’m making major edits to the original, but the other reason—the bigger reason—is that each of these posts are the extent of my attention span when I’m reading.

That explains why it takes me so long to finish a book! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this one…


SCENE FOUR

Time stood still for Asher that evening. He didn’t notice the fiery red sky as the sun made its final descent into the horizon. He wasn’t even aware that it had vanished, and they were now sitting in darkness. His eyes remained fixed on Franky, his ears hanging on her every word. 

She told him about her younger brother Noah, and how the two of them had been inseparable until she went off to the University. They came from a family that was full of love, and her countenance beamed with joy when she told him stories about their childhood together. Their parents were killed in a tragic automobile accident not long after she left, and Noah had been with them. He survived the crash, but suffered tremendous brain damage. 

Franky was a brilliant student with a scholarship in computer science. Machine learning and artificial intelligence were her areas of expertise. Professor Hinkle, who was the head of the department, had taken her under his wing when he noticed her potential. She had experienced many successes with her experiments, and he assured her that her work far exceeded anything he had ever seen from a student.

They spent months discussing the possibilities of AI brain implants. The professor was much too cautious and conservative in his thinking though, and the two disagreed about many things. They just could not not see eye to eye, so Franky distanced herself from him. She built a makeshift lab in an abandoned wing of the university, and night after night she would work in secret. Finally, after weeks of very little sleep, she had made a significant discovery. She believed she had found the answer, something miraculous, and it wouldn’t just help Noah—it would bring hope, and new life to people everywhere.

“I made a horrible mistake.” Franky confessed. “I wasn’t thinking straight. I was tortured by grief. Noah was with me, but the brother that I knew and loved was gone. It was like watching him die, over and over again.” 

Her eyes welled with tears and one managed to escape. He watched it glisten as it slid down her cheek. She leaned back in the chair and stared upward. Asher followed her lead. The firmament resembled a black canvas, dotted with a billion radiant stars, and careful strokes of the artist’s brush had painted a delicate milky haze over them. Franky felt herself being swallowed up by a black hole, the infinite void that surrounded her in the moment.

Sitting there in the silence together, under the stars, Asher felt connected to her. They were kindred spirits, he thought. Each of them were so driven, but their hearts were filled with discontent. He tried to grasp his emotions as he stared into the black. He had never been romantically inclined, but he was drawn to her in the most indescribable way. Prepared to speak his mind, Asher looked over at Franky, only to find her sleeping. It was time to put her to bed.


To Be Continued

Good night everyone!


Photo by Bartosz Kwitkowski on Unsplash

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