99 Word Flash Fiction: The Future

The difficulty of looking ahead is difficult not only for Charli but for me as well. I am, after all, a memoir writer and in order to write life narratives the events must already have happened. It was easy to look back in time as instructed by last weeks prompt. This week poses a far greater challenge as we are heading into the future.

I’d love to be able to write about the future where those humans still surviving live underground in tunnels like ants where they bemoan that their forebears didn’t take action on climate change. Huge cockroaches are the only thing inhabiting the deserted cities above ground where fire and extreme heat are the norm.

Alternatively I could write about a society that no longer has a memory. Identities have been lost as stories handed down through the ages can no longer be retained by the shrunken brain that the now ancient technology had removed any need to remember and also made societies concentration span so small that they couldn’t be bothered remembering these events anyway. They hadn’t realised that these stories of forebears and self gave them an identity and without them they became mindless robots.

That is about as far as I can travel forward. Fantasy and sci fi are not high on my reading lists and to try and make a futuristic story from these skeletons of stories just has my head reeling. I do need to connect my characters to the past. A future without a past makes no sense at all. For my flash this week I am going into the future but from a past that makes sense, to me anyway.


“The only way you can pay ma’am is with your mobile phone.”
“I haven’t got a mobile phone.”
“Your kids’ll have one?”
“I haven’t got any of them either.”
“What about friends ma’am?”
“Dead. They’re all dead.”
“Who helps you then if you ain’t got kids and you ain’t got friends?”
“I help myself.”
“Then you need a mobile phone. No cards since last week and the banks’ll only talk to you on the mobile phone set up for your accounts.”
She left the store with purpose. At last, a use for the length of rope in the garage.

If you want to join in  July 2, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a futuristic story that looks ahead. What possibilities inspire your writing? Do you need to connect your future characters to the past or is it freeing to write something previously unimagined? Is the future bright or bleak? Write a future near or far. Tell that story in a flash. Respond by noon (PST) Tuesday, July 8 to be included in the compilation.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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17 Responses to 99 Word Flash Fiction: The Future

  1. TanGental says:

    Neat Irene; great ending, especially delicious in that it seems the way out is being taken with such relish. I never had you down for ghoulish but just goes to show… These flash are so revelatory!


  2. This is a hoot, Irene. Loved it and a great ending. I could just see the scene unfold. I have thought about writing an apocalyptic novel about what would happen if the US was hit with an electromagnetic discharge that shuts everything down, but the idea is so frightening I can’t contemplate it!


  3. Charli Mills says:

    Context seems to be important to writers, even writing about the future. Of course, a memoir writer would be more focused on the stories that already occurred! But I like your story idea that we need those stories for identity or we’ll be brain-shrunken robots. And your flash is great! Not to mention horrifying–I’m realizing how dependent we are on these darn phones. Your character has regained a sense of purpose in the end–grim but determined!


    • Thanks Charli. The more I look at it the more I realise that it is those little stories told from an early age that give identity. Identity is so important when you look at adoptees who have a life but feel they have had their identity robbed.
      I have gone down the try and keep up with the technology where my husband refuses and Mum still has a passbook bank account. I worry that unless we keep up we will be left behind and totally unable to function. Then there is the problem when electricity is unavailable or the system goes down – the world stops revolving and you have lost not only your ability to function but possibly also your identity.


  4. Norah says:

    Oh I’m not keen on the desperation of that length of rope. Surely there is a better solution! I love your other suggestions for futuristic stories too. Hope they, also, will remain only fiction. I think I can be a bit of a Pollyanna at times, more hopeful of things being better in the future. Surely our intelligence can do that for us? The past can be so bleak. I don’t want to look at a bleak future.
    Great post – love the way you tied it all together so neatly – just don’t tie the knot in that piece of rope!


    • Don’t worry Norah I only know how to tie slip knots. I’m a pollyanna re near future but the distant future I have my doubts but I hope you are right. If we manage to channel our intelligence in the right direction and get world leaders who look to education and research and peace then we might stand a chance.


  5. Sadly no. Listening to John Hewson speaking lately I think it is a real loss for the country that he never made it to PM.


  6. Sherri says:

    I’m with you on this Irene, the future is not my bag baby! For me, it is definitely bleak so the ending of your excellent flash is fully understood. I need the past to write, just can’t imagine it any other way. I wonder if the theme for a lot of us will be a future we’d rather not live in? Fascinating!


  7. Pingback: What Does the Future Hold? « Carrot Ranch Communications

  8. Arun says:

    very nice post…keep it up….


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