Monthly Archives: July 2015

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is between  Santa Fe and Albuquerque. It’s only about a 3 mile hike, with only 600 feet in elevation rise. If you want to visit Tent Rocks, arrive early, before the heat and the tour groups, and bring lots of water.

At Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, you hike through a limestone slot canyon. Up above, there are formations of the most unusual shapes– some are like tents, some are like upraised fists, and some are like petrified dunes. It[s a testament to the power of wind and water in the west. My sorest muscle after this hike was my neck– from craning at all the great scenery.

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Writing prompt: cousins day

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Cousins day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

(author’s note: I am not a biologist, so all the biology in here is just fun and spitballing!)

The Tasmanian Flu wasn’t a type of flu at all. No one knew then, sixty years ago. It was an engineered disease that got lucky enough to absorb a favorable mutation from a wild bacteria. It didn’t develop in Tasmania. We started calling it the Tasmanian Flu after no one would admit to the disease, but it was everywhere. Well gosh, it must’ve come from Tasmania. That’s where devils come from, right?

Either you were susceptible to TF, or you weren’t. A mother would catch the disease, then all her children, but not her husband or her in-laws. Quickly, they isolated the genes responsible for susceptibility. The fear was, if it infected enough people, it would absorb another wild mutation and gain the ability to infect anyone. After Putin died of the illness, conspiracy theorists speculated that it was a targeted assassination of the Russian despot gone awry.

That didn’t to the Cousins.

That’s what they called us. They rounded up those susceptible, the Cousins, and they put us in bio-containment camps away from everyone else. We had good care. They tried to keep the infected isolated from the merely susceptible. But it didn’t work, and TF has a 50% fatality rate even with novel treatment. Then there were the side effects.

I know 200 digits of pi. I didn’t try to remember them, and before TF I had no head for numbers. With minimal training, I found I could make sense of complicated geometries and had inexplicable intuitions as to the solutions of complex systems.

For 60 years, we made up for the loss of our cousins with our gifts. There are fewer of us than there once were. And now, some whisper that perhaps TF could be useful.

Writing prompt: Stay out of the sun day

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Stay out of the sun day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

“This will be one your first exercises,” the leader wiggled his antennae sternly. “It might seem like a trivial one, but 15% of recruits fail this test.”

Ix’xin sat nervously in his seat. Everyone knew about this test. They were working to develop genetic tests to identify the trait and lower the loss rate, but until then, the best thing to do was place every recruit in a separate vehicle and only give him the opportunity to take himself out.

“We will be launching you into space shortly. Most of your experience will be exactly like your experiences in the flight simulators. Except one. You will feel drawn to fly into the sun. Most of you will be able to resist, but not all.”

Ix’xin’s wings were strapped to a sensitive interface.The interface detected small muscle movements and translated them into the motion of the ship. It was almost like flying back home.

The sun was bigger and brighter than he could have imagined. In his mind, it felt warm and inviting even though with all the shielding he didn’t feel any difference. Several seconds passed before he realized he was flying straight toward the luminous sphere. With compound eyes, he saw the twinkling of other pods travelling as he did.

He continued toward the sun.

Writing prompt: I forgot day

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“I Forgot Day” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)

She didn’t know the face in front of her eyes. She reached out and touched the cool glass surface of the mirror. She didn’t know her own face. When had this happened? She realized she couldn’t remember her own name either. In neighboring apartments and out the small bathroom window, she heard screams and wails. She didn’t feel like screaming. She felt numb and confused. She wandered out of the bathroom into the rest of the apartment.

It was comfortable yet alien. Pictures of her unfamiliar face adorned the wall, often accompanied by a young man. The bookcase was full of books; many of them looked interesting. Pleasant music played over the speakers.

“Who are you?” it was the young man from the pictures. He wore pajamas. He looked angry.

She pointed immediately to the pictures. “I don’t know. But we know each other. You can’t remember anything either, can you?”

He looked away, acknowledging. Those screams must have been other people, lost, frightened.

A voice boomed from the sky. “Do not be alarmed! You do not remember anything, but this is for good reason. You must unlearn to relearn.” The words were mechanical, like a voice navigation system or translation. It was the most frightening thing that had happened yet.

“Please exit your domiciles in an orderly fashion in order to begin relearning.”

She exchanged a wild glance with the man. She knew that he didn’t intend to obey the big voice either.