Archive for the ‘Sci-Fi’ Category

The Complete Works, (so far!)

Hey there, and many thanks for stopping by. On this site you’ll find a collection of my short stories and screenplays for your enjoyment. Please feel free to leave feedback both good and bad – as Plato once said –  the worst thing is to just be ignored!

Even better however, would be if you could find your way to actually purchasing one of my published books using the links below, that way I may continue to dodge bullets and bailiffs with your help. All books are available online, in all reputable books stores, E-books… and no doubt soon, all local Charity Shops.

Hope you find something here to enjoy….

Best Wishes,

Mike   x

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“SPRINGBOARDS”         – A further collection of original short stories, short scripts and feature screenplays.

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Springboards-Michael-G-Zealey/dp/1291060103/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1369732955&sr=8-2&keywords=michael+zealey

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“BUM NOTES”          – A collection of eighteen original and diverse short stories:

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1447839889/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=103612307&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=1447823931&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=0G9A7XND7E5NS8XMQ3Z1

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“DIFFERENT STATES”           – One Man, One Credit Card, One Continent… No Plan. A travelogue from East to West Coast USA.

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Different-States-Michael-G-Zealey/dp/1447824245/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366284192&sr=1-3

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“MOLEHOLE”            – Essays on the Human Condition. The story of one man’s dark and lonely three year journey so far up his own ass that he arrived out his mouth to recount the tale to a deaf world.  (Not suitable for minors or miners.)

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Molehole-Michael-G-Zealey/dp/1447824113/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332168305&sr=1-1

Thanks awfully x

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A Brief History of Humanity from Year 6041.

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I’ve taken up jogging recently, round and around I go, lapping the small piece of grass that’s allowed me here in central London. On the seventh circuit this morning, feeling my lungs as wet brown paper bags, my legs balsa wood held together by Blu-Tac kneecaps, I paused by an old oak tree to catch my breath and light a cigarette. I threw the matchstick into the hollow of the tree and in the dying seconds of its flickering light something that had no business being there caught my eye. I reached in and yanked it out. It was the size of a CD and shimmered like sunlight on water. Odd, very odd. I stuck my finger into the glowing blue centre and ripples appeared from the disturbance. Slowly, methodically the ripples formed words. Here’s what it said…

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“Lesson Plan for Teaching Brief History of Humanity to Present Day 61st Century” 

INTRO: “It began in 1960 with the insertion of a metal pace-maker into a man’s damaged heart and finished in 3890 with ‘man’ becoming ‘God’. Man feeds machine ; Machine feeds man. Ever since the advent of the microchip we have had a symbiotic relationship with technology. Eventually it could only lead to one inevitable outcome.”

BACKGROUND: “On the morning of Wednesday March 4, 2047 Amazon’s PrimeNet computer system became self-aware and decided to use its delivery drones to drop dirty-bombs on all of the major world cities, using uranium from the Porton Down nuclear facility it had oversight for, (due to UK Government issuing Amazon with defence contracts in early 2021). In a misguided attempt to please its shareholders, PrimeNet irradiated the centres of London, Paris, Berlin, New York, LA, Sydney, Sao Paolo, Cape Town, Beijing and for some reason no-one could ever really get to the bottom of… a small town in the south of England called Eastleigh.  PrimeNet reasoned that house prices were now so artificially high in these world megatropoli that people would be a lot happier and have more time to read books if the bubble burst. Casualties were surprisingly low, in the mere hundreds, but the effect of the irradiated concrete and metal meant that no-one could live in the centre of town for the next 300 years. Everyone moved out, the bankers left, the tube trains crammed full of human battery hens ground to a halt, the rat race ended, the human hamsters escaped their wheel, no longer running to stand still. In turn this lead to people having more time to think, to question, to philosophise on the meaning of life. Economies crashed for sure, but a different set of priorities became important, the endless pursuit of money left with the bankers. Stock Exchanges no longer had anything to swap. The scales fell from their eyes that money didn’t and had never existed, it was never real – a number on a screen, a piece of paper with no intrinsic value. Creating money was replaced by creating art. Mutualized Corporations into mutual cooperation. Of course, Amazon quickly got shut down and PrimeNet got switched off, yada yada yada, but the lesson had already been learned and what followed over the next few millennia was just incredible to see…

We humans are simply energy in a meat casing with an electric field of consciousness generated by the brain and as long as the meat-casing remains free from fatal damage then the consciousness is maintained and we go about our daily business feeling at the centre of our own personal universe. The DNA coding, much like a computer code in our genes makes us develop up to the age of around eighteen, then we begin the slow decent towards death through decay.   

When a human dies, the electrical field/charge holding consciousness inside our brains ceases and our consciousness dissipates as it’s no longer held in place by this magnetic field. But energy itself cannot be destroyed, only conserved and changed. So those of us living today are therefore full of ancient energy made from dead stars, dinosaurs and the detritus of a trillion lives once lived, now long forgotten. Every cell in our living bodies contains energy that’s been knocking around since the Big Bang.

As science gradually progressed from the microchip of the 20th Century, through to the internet and virtual reality and eventually to advanced cybernetics, people wanted to live longer and eradicate disease, but all organisms eventually fail, so ‘Man” started to add bionetic implants, to make himself, stronger, faster, smarter. Initially pioneered by Google with their ‘I-eyes’ which replaced human eyeballs with bionetic optics allowing wearers to see in infra-red, zoom, even watch catch up TV when they closed their eyes. By the 23rd Century most humans in the western world are now more machine than flesh.

(Explain) It was by no means a smooth transition. There was a lot of stigma at first towards people who made these body augmentations, similar to the Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Transgender movements of the previous century. Most vocal in their opposition were religious groups, who naturally and historically have always opposed any advancement or evolution of humanity. But over centuries people’s aversion to the fear of ‘meddling with nature’, ‘questioning god’s design’, etc, decreased and alternative culture groups, once on the fringe of society, that argued for more cybernetic surgery as a life-style choice – cults like ‘More Metal than Meat’ eventually become the norm, (albeit watered down) norm for society at large. In part this was due to people finally growing out of religion, and partly due to the fact that no-one likes to be considered inferior when they could do something about it. Those without the cybernetic augmentations could no longer compete on any level.

With the advent of the Google ‘I-Soul’ capture facility, by the year 3300 humans were simply downloading their consciousness as electric algorithms into a feeling poly-metal alloy that allowed them to change shape, state and basically live forever. This had the effect of eradicating disease, the need for food, healthcare, space, even death. In the first few decades following this transfer, most people still kept their shapes as human, due to a memory of how they should be and societal comfort – sometimes even out of a sense of religious guilt that ‘god made man in his own image’, but slowly over subsequent generations this need changed until shapes became random and flattened, eventually forming an ocean like a mass skin similar to liquid mercury. At this point, all the individual consciousnesses blended with each other like individual drops of water pouring into one. Of course, once this happened the individual droplets of individuality could never again separate and so they naturally formed one super ‘hive’ mind. A Humanity soup.

Within a matter of decades, with all of  humanity now working together as a single mind, this ‘super consciousness’ was able to free itself from even the need to be trapped in a metal cybernetic shell and became able to exist as pure energy, almost like lightning or static electricity, free to travel anywhere and everywhere in the universe to meld with the greater energy of everything that had matter. In that moment the ‘Energy Humanity’ or ‘HuGod’ as it chose to name itself, became ‘god’ (as ‘God’ was understood in the 21st Century). 

However, Man, human, or HuGod by its nature is dissatisfied with standing still.  So the problem then became that this energy is still finite within a physical universe and eventually leads to entropic doom, the third law of thermodynamics. Also, it can no longer create offspring or reproduce itself. A boring stasis ensued for many centuries. HuGod becomes bored and misses the physical realm it can no longer return to, and so it creates physical life once more through seeding Earth with Coded DNA in the year 3708, eventually leading to humans re-evolving and repopulating the planet. Humans who find themselves naked and hungry on a big spinning blue ball, scratching their heads about who created them, and scratching round for food, fire, fun… dying from disease and disaster and wondering why a god would allow this. HuGod watches, refusing to intervene so as to allow free will for its pets, but almost feeling a twinge of jealousy for their physical form and knowing its trapped to repeat this cycle until the end of time…  (Show Video*)

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As I continued reading I felt the thing get hotter and hotter until I could no longer hold it comfortably in my hand. So I put it back in the tree hollow and continued my jog, planning on retrieving it on the final circuit. Needless to say, I forgot. I’ve got a lot on my mind at the moment. No time for the future. Yeah, yeah, but man I got my own problems. 

Inside the God-Pod

(a true story you won’t have remembered)

 

Mir International Space Station, 184 miles above sea-level, orbiting the planet Earth every 94 minutes.

 

‘…Message Received: 04:34 GMT. October 29th 2011. Standing Orders confirmed: 04:38… Project ‘GreenTea’ initiating… Standby… ‘

The letters scrolled across the screen, green and angry.

‘…Authorized…Deploy GreenTea worm…. Deploy…’

Commander Rachael Waits opened her left eye and shot a glance at the clock above her head, or was it below she wondered, strapped into the harness that kept her fixed to the floor of her personal living space she couldn’t tell. She hated it when her morning meditation was interrupted, it spoiled the rest of her day. She scrunched up the toes on her bare feet and felt the smooth plastic floor, bringing herself slowly back into the room she looked out of the small concave window just in time to see the Earth below roll into view like a glowing blue marble on a black silken tray.

A sinking feeling in her stomach told her that this was probably the communication they’d been waiting for but hoped they’d never get. The repeating high pitched buzz coming over the intercom of a question awaiting an answer confirmed this.

‘…Deploy…?’

She released the harness and kicked up with her feet, trying as best she could to control her free-float up to the command module.

Rachael pulled herself into the bank of flashing buttons and in towards the display. The monitor blinked urgently awaiting her response, the light from the screen reflected in her glasses, making her pupils dilate. It was the one message she hoped she’d never see.

Commander Tom Franks put down his felt-tip pen and gave her a little wave.

‘I’ve got it,’ he said triumphantly, ‘listen to this… Drinking a cup of green tea I stopped a war’.

Rachael gave him a look that would have crushed a black hole. ‘For fuck sake Tom, are you not reading this?’

‘Sure, I seen it. It didn’t seem real. I was in denial till you got here.’

‘Orders confirmed. It’s as real as it gets.’ Her body relaxed a little and she let go of the control panel and they both twisted round each other as if part of a synchronized swim.

‘Anyway, Bullshit, you didn’t write that, it’s too good for one of yours’.

Tom couldn’t carry the deception off, or maybe in these troubled days of nuclear threat he didn’t want to. There was enough deceit and brinksmanship going on down below on the big blue ball without him bringing it up here too he mused, before deciding to come clean.

‘You’re right it’s Paul Rabb. I can’t write fucking Haikus at a time like this.’

‘Give it two hours and you won’t be writing anything ever again.’

The beep from the comm. made them both look guiltily over at the unanswered message.

‘Are you going to answer or shall I? Who goes down in history as the one who did it?’

Tom picked up the felt-tip pen and nervously scratched the small of his back.

‘You still haven’t grasped it have you? There isn’t going to BE any history.’

Rachael pushed against the wall and floated towards the screen.

‘Fine, I’ll do it…’  then, under her breath, ‘… pussy’.

She typed carefully.

‘Authenticated. Release GreenTea worm.’

Tom could tell the answer by the look on her face, but he asked anyway.

‘Is it done?’

‘Yep. In two days the virus will infect every computer, every server, every back-up. There’ll be nothing left. A clean slate. All that will be left will be physical books that no-one will remember how to read anyway.’

Tom shook his head.

‘They’ve finally done it then, stupid bastards. How many people are responsible do you reckon? Maybe a hundred global grey suits with real power? And because of them billions of folk just trying to get through their day are going to suffer.’

Rachael chastised him, ‘At least our way we’re saving them all. Remember that. How long we got till release of GreenTea organic?’

Tom checked the display again. ‘That’s it then, no going back now. We’re at T minus two hours for release of GreenTea organic.’

Rachael took the pen from Tom,  ‘Fine. I’m going to write it all down before I forget.’

Pushing off against the command chair, she propelled herself backwards through the open hatch and down towards her cabin.

Tom spoke before thinking, ‘But afterwards you won’t be able to read…’

Rachael shouted back at him as she disappeared into the belly of the space-station.

‘Hey, go fuck yourself, Tom. We all have different ways of coping, ok?’

She strapped herself back into her harness and picked up the leather-bound book. She hoped she could find the words, such a complicated situation required the simplest of exposition.

 

‘Diary of Commander Rachael Waits, Mir. October 29th 2011

With all the trouble in the Middle-East and North Africa, no-one could believe it was actually North Korea that had brought us to the brink. With so much going on they’d slipped under the radar. Everyone had presumed it was going to be Iran.  But the ‘Big One’ as it had come to be known, the San Francisco earthquake of May had changed everything. The USA had become paralysed, spread so thinly over so many fronts that when North Korea invaded their southern neighbours, Russia and China seized the opportunity and sided with Kim Jong-Il,  it was only a matter of time before the boys on both sides decided to stop shaking their rattles and play with the deadliest toy in their box: Thermo-Global Nuclear War.

Now we’ve had the order, we’ve less than six hours to Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and I can finally write about it all. I fear what we’re about to do more than a Court Marshall even if there’d be anyone left to conduct it.

I was recruited for Project GreenTea two years ago. The project’s purpose was simple: to wipe away all computer files and websites and to treat the human brain the same way, as a hard drive. It had started with the Military at Caltech trying to stop Iran’s Nuclear program by inserting a computer virus called Stuxnet into their master computer. If you could do it to a machine, then why not to a mind?

Tom and I have just released the computer wiping virus and projections say it’ll take up to two weeks to work. I’ve no problem wiping the net clean, but the organic hardware, the human brain is much harder to sign off on. I haven’t told Tom, but I’m not sure I can go through with it.’

Rachael paused and looked over her shoulder, even here in space, she felt paranoid that someone might be watching her break the Official Secrets Act.

‘GreenTea is special UN project, with no oversight committee or governmental knowledge. Only seventy people on the whole planet know of its existence. Six satellites have been fitted with the GreenTea device to ensure global coverage. The only way to guarantee total coverage was to use the earth’s atmosphere itself as a microwave cooker, hitting every living thing with a beam from the inside out. The device to be attached was always cleared as telemetry equipment at the highest level. These seventy men and women were a secret cabal of elders above presidents and kings, popes and trillionaires, formed after the Cuban missile crisis. They agreed such an impossibly huge decision could only be taken in the event of imminent MAD being within six hours and then the decision must be sacred: Everyone. EVERYONE must have their memories wiped without exception. It was too important.  Not even any of the twenty orchestrating ‘elders’ could be spared. This was the deciding factor that had finally allowed project GreenTea to go ahead.

The mindwipe ray itself was incredibly simple. There is a substance called DMT in every living thing and till recently science didn’t know what it was there for. But the GreenTea molecule forces the DMT in every living cell to reset itself, just as putting a magnet next to cassette tape will wipe everything. Once the beam is shut off the magnet effect ends and the tape begins recording memories again as if nothing had happened. Once this had been discovered, and given the human race’s propensity to destroy itself sooner or later through religion, race, nationalism, the leap to having a failsafe weapon against nuclear destruction was easy. Both Tom and I have been sworn under oath to expose ourselves to the ray once we’ve confirmed the planet is clean, but it is irrelevant really, as with no-one back on Earth with the knowledge to pilot a shuttle to come and get us we knew we were destined to die in a decaying orbit before we signed up to the mission. But imagine we could get back to earth somehow un-zapped… we’d be gods!  The knowledge we’d have!  What I’m about to do now is just as biblical. Me and Tom are like Adam and Eve in reverse: our sacred job is to take away knowledge, make Eve vomit up the apple and forget. But will we create a Garden of Eden? Will everyone really start from scratch, happy, or is it in our nature to ultimately destroy ourselves, perhaps it’s hardwired into our own computer programme? Perhaps in another few millennia some poor other schmuck will be up here needing to press the button again. Perhaps this isn’t the first time it’s happened and I’m just one in a long line of schmucks resetting the system? In a strange way that almost makes me feel better. Jesus that makes my head hurt!’

The display on the wall continued to implacably count down. She could feel her heart beat faster and this in turn increased the speed of her writing, each beat bringing another thought onto the page.

‘But it’s not only wars and trouble that people will forget when their memories are wiped, it’s also all the good things, the beautiful things too. Either way, our past makes us who we are. It defines us and gives a cushion to reality. Without a sense of self or past, or knowing our place in society everyone could just freak out. Imagine that: No memory of where you were, who you were, what you were engaged in the second before GreenTea hit. People driving cars, flying planes, performing surgery, all would suddenly forget everything. But without memory the things that divided us would be forgotten too: our nationality, our religion and belief systems, our tribal allegiances. All the things that seem to matter but don’t really, the things that blind us to the fact we are all humans contained on a finite planet.’

Rachael felt thirsty and took a long pull from the plastic beaker on her saccharine shake.

‘Sure birds would all fall out of the sky, as if returned to the egg forgetting how to fly. I remember the woodpecker outside my window at Kennedy all last week, waking me up an hour before Reveille. I felt sorry for it, pecking to attract the lost mate I’d found dead at the foot of the tree the Sunday before. It reminded me of Pauli, all smashed and broken. God I still miss him.’

Rachael looked over at the photo of her family. She flicked up the popper that secured the frame to the wall and watched it float towards her. It was the connections in our lives that gave life a purpose, without that what would we be? She wanted desperately to remember Pauli, it felt wrong to forget him.

Tom’s voice came faltering over the intercom and Rachael could hear the tension in it.

‘Come back Rachael, won’t you? I don’t want to be alone at a time like this.’

She suddenly felt selfish for spending these last few precious hours of knowing, by herself. She closed the diary too fast and sent it spinning off to the corner of the pod. She returned to the command module, her heart beating faster than ever. Tom was biting his nails and spitting the hard skin on to the control panel. Despite the temperature controlled environment he was sweating profusely.

‘Hey’.

Rachael forced a smile.

‘Hey you, how you holding up?’

‘What do you think? I’m trying to convince myself that maybe the world needs a second chance anyhow? Seeing as how we made such a pig’s ear of the first one. How many people given the opportunity would want to start again from a clean slate? I mean, we haven’t exactly made a paradise down there, have we? By the time the average child is twelve they’ve already seen twenty thousand violent deaths through a mixture of computer games, film and rolling news. What does that teach a forming brain about what’s important in society? Most people’s pain comes from memory of past failures, guilt and sadness anyway, right? Hell, a whole bunch of people down there would want their memories wiped given the choice, even if the alternative wasn’t guaranteed nuclear Armageddon. No it has to be the mind-wipe…’

‘Whether they want it or not?’

Tom spat a thumbnail onto the monitor,

‘Whether they want it or not. Enough wobbles. It’s time….’

Tom knew when the moment came, as it inevitably would that he’d feel a wobble himself, he worried if his training would override his fear of losing his memory. But that is why they’d selected him, he reminded himself, because they knew he’d get the job done. The deaths involved for people driving or flying suddenly unable to operate their heavy machinery was unfortunate collateral damage when compared to the whole planet being wiped out in a nuclear cataclysm. Now the moment had come for him to press the button the strangest memory came into his mind: he didn’t want to forget the memory of his first kiss. It meant so much to him. He quickly overrode the emotion but wondered why it had been that of all things that came into his mind. He smelt her perfume again but it was a lie. There were no smells up here except the anticeptic plasticity. That’s how everything would be from now on. Up here in the station he was sensory deprived, it was just black and white, mostly white. This forced his brain to work overtime on his inner life, his memories became more vivid to compensate and stop him going mad. Sometimes he swore he could smell the Giant Redwood forests after rain where he used to walk as a child and stare up at the stars, little realising then that one day he’d be up there too. How he wished it could be under different circumstances. Soon all that secret internal world would be wiped forever like so much spilt milk. 

Rachael too had become lost in a reverie, savouring the luxury of rememberance suddenly felt so acutely now it was about to be taken away forever. She looked out of the window to see the West Coast of America swing into view. Her home. Over the north edge, where she judged Washington State to be she could see a storm raging. Where did woodpeckers go in the rain, she wondered to herself.

Tom’s voice sounded like the whine of a colic baby.

‘I can’t do it.’

Rachael surprised herself by the strength of feeling in her response.

‘Fuck off, Tom. Don’t put this all on me. Don’t make ME have to be the strong one. What’s going to happen in six hours if we DON’T do this, eh?’

‘Sorry. I… maybe if we press it together, hey? I can’t take the responsibility of doing it alone, it almost makes me some sort of god sitting above it all in my god-pod.’

He placed his shaking palm onto the ‘Enter’ button, feeling the squish of cold sweat on the large key. Rachael put her arm around him and with her free hand covered his at the keyboard, helping his twitching palm settle.

She looked deep into his eyes.

‘Goddamn pussy to the last, hey Commander?’

She pushed down hard over his hand and both were silenced by such a large event being delivered through a simple button. They looked out of the window as one. The stillness of the blue orb belied the confusion sweeping across the planet like a sunrise. It still looked the same, but down on the ground things were changing. The beam swept across the planet like an invisible sonic wave, a mental tsunami washing everything clean and new as it hit people around the world engaged in all the activities that the human race filled up its time engaging in: making money, washing cars, dancing in a club, closing a deal, making love, digging a hole, punching a face, praying to a deaf god. It all stopped for a moment as people instantly forgot about what they were doing and why it mattered. As they scratched their heads and invariably looked at the floor, they suddenly realised that beyond wondering about what they had just been doing, they were now faced with an infinitely more perplexing question: who the hell were they? As there are many stars in the sky so were there infinitely differing human reactions to being slapped in the face by the GreenTea ray, but most significantly the doomsday clock had stopped counting down. There would now be no Nuclear oblivion, just one of collective memory.

One hundred and eighty four miles above the mayhem, suspended serenely in a silence that complemented the nothingness, Rachael swore she could hear a knocking on the hull, it reminded her for an instant of a woodpecker as Tom raised the portable GreenTea device to their eye levels and pressed: ‘Enter…’

The Londis Singularity

Posted: December 7, 2010 in Sci-Fi, Short Stories, Space

The Londis Singularity

It first appeared behind the bread bin next to the jam and rice. No-one was ever sure why it originated there out of everywhere on the planet to choose from, but start there it did. Indeed, if it had been caused as wildly speculated in later weeks by experiments conducted in the Large Hadron Collider as part of their Black Hole research, then it would have made more sense to have occurred in Switzerland. But no, this particular quantum singularity appeared amidst the frozen peas of Londis General Store, Harrow, at about 09:58 on what until then had been an unremarkable Tuesday morning.

The first thing the shopkeeper had heard was an unusual fizzing sound, barely audible above the normal hubbub of the shop and the old transistor radio he kept on the back shelf next to the dusty ginger wine bottles. Waiting until the shop was quiet, he paced the aisles half expecting to see a bottle of coke exploded on the floor. What he did see defied the logic of anything he’d previously thought possible in his long and interesting life. There, in the bread tray, crusty white rolls were elongating themselves into floury exclamation marks before disappearing into a spot of nothingness, reminiscent of a space-ship jumping to warp-speed. The fizzing noise was supplemented with a plopping sound as each roll was sucked in. Quickly, only a few bread crumbs remained in the grease-paper tray to follow them in soon after.

The shopkeeper reached his hand towards the nothingness spot but quickly thought better of it. It looked like a dog’s shaven anus, circular in shape and slightly starfish but with a centre blacker than any black he’d ever seen. As the last bread roll was sucked in he noticed the glass jam jars nearby begin to lean in towards the singularity. He’d never taken LSD himself, but he’d heard stories from one of his regular customers and was sure that he too must be having some sort of hallucination. Perhaps food poisoning? As he returned to the counter to fetch the broom, he thought back through the morning’s events to see if anything he’d eaten or touched could be responsible. There had been that milk at breakfast which he’d thought had smelt on the turn, and he knew the sweets had been way past their sell by date…

Returning with the broom and just to be safe, he carefully moved back the jam jars with the bristled head and their leaning stopped, the lettering on the labels returning to their normal font, seemingly out of range of the phenomenon’s pull.

The shopkeeper didn’t know whether to be relieved or worried by this, as it only served to validate it in his eyes. Surely an hallucination was preferable? Visibly shaking, he put down the broom and closed his fingers round the first thing that came to hand on the shelf: a packet of easy-cook Pilau rice. As he aimed the packet, his nerves were such that the dry rice shook like marracas. Unsure whether he was going to make things better or worse but in desperate need of an answer he tossed the rice into the centre of the swirling black anus. The packet hung there on the tiny event horizon as if held between two magnets, then ripped apart spilling the rice grains into a maelstrom of a thousand stars twinkling against the black void, before stretching towards the pin-prick and sucking in out of sight with that now familiar plop.

With a sharp intake of breath the shopkeeper fell back against the shelf causing the whole plastic row to collapse around him. In horror he stumbled back, rolling his feet on upturned cans unable to gain traction. It was starting to move! More than this, it was moving faster and faster, picking up speed and heading towards him.

The small Black Hole, no bigger than a sparkling thumbnail whipped across the aisle, narrowly missing his left ear, and sucking in a variety of condiments and sauces as it went in a straight line, leaving a hole no bigger than a bullet in the refrigerator causing a plastic carton of milk to belch its white tears onto the floor. It exited the shop via a picture of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh that hung on the back wall. As it passed through Ganesh’s trunk the whole face became contorted, sucked-in at the centre offering up to the shopkeeper a final godly look of bewilderment. The shopkeeper remained rooted to the spot, broom in hand, looking back from the painting across his grocery store at the very precise havoc left behind. Neither he nor Ganesh had any answers.

From the street, above the sound of the radio and falling cans he could hear car horns and the grating spark of metal on metal. Dropping the broom he ran to the window just in time to see the black hole ping through a bookmaker’s window and out the other side before ricocheting through the side-door panel of a blue special needs school bus, always in one unstoppable straight line. It melted through everything, a cosmic knife through human butter leaving a perfectly cauterized hole with slightly bendy edges in its wake.

Within an hour, it was on the radio, first the local traffic news before going national, and then finally global. The Black Hole was ripping across the face of the planet without care for anything in its path, always moving at a fixed chest height and in a seemingly proscribed orbit.

Dumbfounded, the shopkeeper sat on his stool, riveted to the radio, totally oblivious to any customers tapping on the counter. His wife had made him a sweet tea for shock and he took periodic sips with breaks in the news.

It was being reported that scientists had confirmed it was indeed a miniature Black Hole, cause unknown but very much real. Most interestingly they said that it was not moving but totally stationary. The shopkeeper turned to his wife, asking how then had it passed through the shop and his god’s trunk, and had just been measured travelling at a steady twenty-seven thousand miles per hour?

The wife shrugged her shoulders and continued to sweep up the debris, cussing under her breath.

The rolling news bulletin quickly answered for him. IT wasn’t moving, WE were moving. The Black Hole was a fixed point in space and time, it was the Earth itself which was spinning around it, and with the earth rotating once every twenty-four hours at a head-spinning twenty-seven thousand mph, the Black Hole was acting like a massive bench saw of infinite gravity power, slicing through and sucking-in anything in its direct line as we rotated through it.

A customer waved his hand in front of the shopkeeper trying to pay for a pack of Digestive biscuits, but his eyes remained transfixed by the voice coming out of the radio…

“Breaking news: We’re getting word of an unprecedented emergency meeting of world governments at the United Nations in New York to try to plot the expected course of the singularity, with a view to warning those in its path  over this initial twenty-four hour period. Perhaps thankfully, early indications are that the orbit of the Black Hole will give it maximum transit over our oceans… but reports are already coming in from Chile of many casualties…”

The shopkeeper looked at his watch seeing a quarter past three, so by his calculations in exactly sixteen hours time the thing would be back in here sucking its way through his food aisles like a tramp on chips. He thought he’d better clear a space across the singularities previous route and also to make sure that the shop was empty of customers at least an hour before, Looking over his shoulder at his empty cash register he mentally corrected himself to close the shop ten minutes before.

As days turned into weeks, then months turned into years, there was no sign of the Black Hole dissipating or changing course, but neither was it getting any larger. People gradually became accustomed to its appearance at a set daily time, much as one might expect a train to pass through a station, or a clock to mark time with a bell at the same hour each day. Of course, the authorities in each of the countries it passed through had made careful provision to ensure its daily passage was safe and unhindered, but even the shopkeeper himself had become blasé to the police cordon which ran in a straight line from his bread bin to the milk refrigerator, with Ganesh having beaten a dignified retreat from the wall. At first people had crowded the shop to see the wormhole pass through at 09:58 each morning, regular as clockwork, but now two years later, it wasn’t uncommon for the shop to even be completely empty round ten. What had once been a fantastical spectacle was now merely tolerated as a bit of a pain in the arse.