Microcosms gave me three elements this week:
Satellite, terrorist, sci-fi
A Touch of Death
The small crowd gathered quickly, some instinctive thing. Barny didn’t know what drew him to stick his hand in the bin – he was waiting for Marcie outside Boots, bored to death, wondering why his life was so dull. His hand felt something warm, a silver ball which began to grow and shimmer. He put it on the tiled floor and waited. Then – again, he couldn’t have said why – he put a finger on the top and pressed.
‘Why’d you do that?’ ‘You ain’t a terrorist, are you?’ ‘Hope you don’t live to regret that, sonny.’ ‘What is it?’ ‘Can I have one, mummy?’
Barney heard the questions, each one he thought stupid. Well, apart from one. He knew what it was without being told. ‘It’s an alien transmitter. See.’
Indeed, as he spoke the orb split and a weird wire contraption poked out the top. It began to spin, emitting a calming white light. The crowd dispersed leaving Barney to watch as the signals shot skywards, soon reaching the satellite orbiting Earth.
Barney waited, aware he was the only person on the planet who knew what was going to happen. In seconds an invasion force launched and inside a day the governments of the world had surrendered. Barney became the conduit for the alien demands, rising to a position of World Regent, installed in a fabulous palace, staffed to meet his every need.
There was only one downside to this newly found fame; in the moment he touched the orb, he died. But in death, he began to fulfil his dream to be someone.
And the one not-stupid question? Barney didn’t live to regret touching the alien ball in the slightest.