The Fire of the Gods

March 27, 2012 at 2:45 am (Short Stories)

This is a response to Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challeng “The Fire of the Gods”. The task was to write a story titled “The Fire of the Gods”. This is mine 

—–

A glowing computer monitor was the only thing that lit the small shed. A teenage boy sat hunched over the keyboard, typing furiously. Another boy was laying on the floor with his head on a beanbag chair, bouncing a tennis ball off the wall. The entire inside of the shed was covered in tin foil and the ball made a crinkling sound whenever it hit the walls. The boy at the computer looked up.
“Do you have to do that?” He asked. “You are distracting me.”
The boy bounced the ball off the wall one more time, then threw it at the other.
“What are you working on, Ian?”
Ian looked back at the computer screen rubbing his arm where the tennis ball had hit him.
“I’m working on a new blog, Mark, what else? I’ve got some new theories that I wanted to work on.”
Mark spun around on his bean bag and propped his chin up on his hands.
“How is the government out to get us this time?”
“You don’t sound very convinced about this stuff.”
“I’m not really. But it gives me a laugh, so come on.”
“Well you know the government is always up to shady business. They are always doing things to gain more power, but it’s usually secret because they can’t have the voting public know what’s going on.”
“Yes, like the 9/11 conspiracy.”
“Exactly, but that’s old news, that was ten years ago. The stuff they are pulling now makes that look like small potatoes. You know why they want Iran? The real reason they want to go into Iran? It’s not because of the nukes.”
“It’s the oil isn’t it?” Mark stretched to try and reclaim his lost tennis ball without getting off his bean bag chair, but spilled out instead.
“No, it’s not the oil, that’s what THEY want you to think.”
“I thought they wanted us to think it was the nukes?” Mark collected his ball and returned to his bean bag.
“No, they say it’s the nukes to scare the people that will believe it, but that’s only for the ignorant. The really smart people know for sure it’s the oil. Only a few of us know the real reasons and that’s because we refuse to accept the obvious.”
Mark tossed his ball into the air and caught it in his hand. He waved it threateningly at Ian, who ducked.
“I’ll peg you with this if you don’t tell me. I don’t want to be one of the ignorant majority.”
“You won’t believe me anyway. You think I’m crazy.”
“Probably, but you’ll tell me anyway.”
“It’s the GOLD. Iran has huge vaults just filled with the stuff. They’ve got enough there to pay off the entire national debt. I know for a fact that they’ve already sent in SEAL teams to make covert raids and make off with some of it.”
Ian typed furiously as he talked, pondered what he wrote, deleted it and then started typing again. Mark missed catching his ball and then watched it bounce away from him. He debated going after it again and then decided to remain in his chair.
“Isn’t gold really, really heavy? How are a few SEALs going to make off with enough of it to make a difference?”
“They have technology, man. It’s like you don’t pay attention. They have technology you wouldn’t believe. But they still can’t get that much. That’s why they need a war. They want the gold.”
Each word was punctuated by a furious key stroke as he typed feverishly away.
“So they want this stuff kept secret right?”
“Of course. That’s why they lie so much. If all this got out no one would trust them anymore. You wouldn’t believe the lengths they’ll go to.”
“So you took it on yourself to tell the world about it?”
“Yep. It’s incredibly dangerous. They could come after me at any time.”
Mark grew bored and set out after his ball again. It had rolled under an old work bench covered with spider webs and he decided he didn’t need it that much after all.
“Don’t you think that if a SWAT team broke into your dads tool shed and dragged you away people might get a little suspicious? You’re 16.”
“They don’t even need to use SWAT teams. They have technology that you can’t imagine.”
Mark began sifting through the tools on the workbench, looking for anything interesting.
“Are you going to go on about the giant space laser again?”
“The Fire of the Gods? That was real. I told you, there was a farmer in Iowa that got blasted by a laser from outer space right in front of his wife, which was unusual, usually they take care of witnesses. I’ve been following her blog ever since.”
“Yes. You told me about that. Why would the government want to kill a farmer in Iowa? It doesn’t make sense.”
“He was using unapproved pesticides against federal regulations. They hate people that disobey.”
“So they sniped him with a heat ray from outer space?”
Ian nodded.
“Like an ant under a magnifying glass.”
Mark had found an old machete and used it to retrieve his tennis ball from under the work bench. He bounced it idly.
“So if they are willing to take out a farmer for using unapproved pesticides, what makes you think that they wouldn’t zap you for exposing all their secrets?”
“They would, but they can’t find me” Ian said proudly, “I’m running through, like, six different proxies right now, I’ve spoofed my MAC address,  I’ve also shielded this whole shed with tin foil so they can’t use our heat signatures to pick us up on their satellite feeds. I don’t want to brag but I’ve done a pretty good job. You’ve got nothing to worry abo…”
There was a sizzling sound and nothing more. The tennis ball bounced a few times, but no one caught it and it rolled away under the workbench again. The air smelled of char and burning metal. The only sound was the tin foil on the ceiling crinkling away from the two holes that had appeared there. The monitor on the computer still glowed, but soon even that winked out.

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