Today's story is a quick follow up to "Failure to Launch."
“What’s the little blinking light mean?”
“It means… Wait, blinking?” Stanley glanced up at the status board disguised as a gaming system. Instead of glowing green, his mother’s light was flashing yellow.
He paused their game, making Joe groan, and stood up. “It means time’s up,” he fibbed as he saved the game.
“It’s only four!” Joe protested.
“Yeah, I’m on restriction,” Stanley lied with an apologetic shrug. He hated not being honest, but telling the truth would make Joe laugh or fill him with a bunch of questions Stanley didn’t have time to answer. Why wouldn’t he take the hint and just leave already?
Joe doddled as he packed his stuff away. He made a few more remarks Stanley answered without paying attention. By the time he’d finally gotten his friend out the door, his mother’s light had shifted to orange and the warning beeps started.
“Crap!” he hissed as he dashed for the office. He slapped the trigger point next to the door without slowing down. He skidded to a halt in front of the hidden door just as it began to spin.
As soon as he had enough room to squeeze through, Stanley hurried into the small control center and slid into the chair. He hit the emergency contact button for his mom that was now also flashing orange.
“I’m here,” he said into the microphone. “What do you need?”
Stanley’s mother didn’t answer.
“Mom!” Stanley called as he began tapping at the keyboard. “Come on. You’ve got to answer me.”
He used her status beacon to trace where she was and started hacking into the security cameras in that area. The fourth camera feed showed an image of Onyx crumpled in an alley somewhere. It was in black and white, but there was no mistaking the huge dark spot pooling under her.
“Mama.” Stanley’s voice cracked. He felt rooted to the spot even as everything in him screamed that he needed to be there right now!
A drawing sensation pulled at the base of his skull and down his spine, as the image of his mother bleeding in an alley burned into his mind. The feeling snapped, making Stanley shiver and blink. The air around him went from cool to hot and muggy, and the stench of warm garbage and blood assailed his nose.
Stanley’s heartbeat picked up again as he realized he’d moved. He spun around, immediately regretting the decision as the world tilted, but there she was!
He dropped down next to his mother, and pressed a couple fingers against the pulse point under her jaw. He could feel a slow and weak, but present, pulse.
Calling himself every name in the book for not grabbing a med kit, Stanley ripped his shirt off over his head, balled it up, and pressed it to the wound in her side. He picked her up, surprised by how easy it was, and focused hard on Doc Anders’ place.
As always, you can find the audio version of this story over on my YouTube channel. Since this one was a bit more active than the last few have been, I played around with sound effects a bit more. I'd love to hear what you think.
Each story in this series is 500 words or less and is prompted by a first line taken either from a random first line generator like this one or reader suggestions like "Don't Forget Me." I much prefer working from reader suggestions over generators, but to do that, I need to hear from you.
If you have a prompt you'd like to see done, comment below, send it to my Tumblr asks, Tweet it at me, or leave a comment on any of the audio stories from this series. I'll screen shot it, write it, and post it for you.
A. B. England is a small business owner, mom of two, novelist, all around geek, and avid crafter. She loves mythology, fantasy, and all flavors of science fiction.
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