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Flashbacks: A Collection of Short Stories















A Collection of Short Stories




Kevin Rider


Table of Contents

Title Page

Table of Contents

Copyright Page


No Such Thing as Normal

The Gray Area


Published 2016 by Shakespir, Inc

Text Copyright © Kevin Rider, 2016

All Rights Reserved

Book and Cover Design by Kevin Rider 2016

Author Photo by Kevin Rider


First Shakespir Edition


License Notes


This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with others, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you are reading this ebook and did not purchase it for your own personal use, please return to Shakespir and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the dedicated work of this author.



Capt. Alex Joslin had just finished cleaning his .50 caliber pistol. He had spent a large part of the day prepping for his newest mission. A rag tag group of hostiles had taken a small group of local’s hostage. This mission was to be a test run for a new prototype soldier. Alex pieced his sidearm back together as a rap at the door came.

“Enter,” Alex said.

“Captain, it is finished,” said the soldier.

“Good,” Alex said. He holstered his weapon, straightened his uniform and headed out of his office.

Alex couldn’t help but feel a sense of child-like excitement on the inside. The project, known as SERA, was the first android to be placed out in the field. Alex didn’t know all the specifics. Only that the machine was the first to use what the scientists called the sentient chip. The chip was designed to give the android real human emotions. The idea was that it would allow the prototype the ability to make decisions based on the emotions it experienced as opposed to specific programming. It was still in experimental stages but so far, after a few tweaks, SERA had excelled at all the tests that were issued.

Alex swiped his keycard and entered the lab where the prototype was being kept. A man, in his early fifties, approached Alex and extended his hand. Alex returned the gesture and shook his hand.

“Dr. Charles Gratz. You must be Captain Joslin,” he said.

“I am,” Alex said. “Is it ready?”

“She is and I must say that this is such a leap into the realm of A.I.”

“She?” Alex asked.

Gratz pointed over towards the workstation. Alex glanced over.

“Wow, impressive.”

“An understatement, Captain. SERA, or Sentience Enhanced Retrieval Automaton, is human-like in nearly every way,” Gratz said proudly.

“I see,” Alex said. “Is it ready for the mission?”

Alex couldn’t help but avoid the gender specific references.

“I would prefer if you would refer to me by my proper gender.” a voice said. “She” and “her” are the proper pronouns when addressing a woman, Captain.”

Alex turned to see SERA looking directly at him, smiling. His face flushed.

SERA was flawless. She had dark brown hair, slightly past her shoulders with green eyes that even held a certain human sparkle to them.

“Your body temperature has seemed to have risen by 2.3 degrees, Captain. Are you feeling ill?”

“N-no, I’m fine. Thank you—-SERA,” Alex said, sheepishly.

Gratz pulled Alex to the side.

“Remarkable, isn’t she?”

“She is something. She even has the sass of a woman,” Alex said.

Gratz laughed as he motioned for Alex to step into his office.

“Have a seat,” Gratz said.

Alex sat down in a plush leather chair across the desk from Gratz.

“I have to admit that I am a bit nervous about taking SERA into the field this soon,” Gratz said.

“Why?” Alex asked.

“You know how human emotions are. Fear, anger, sadness and the list goes on. They are all very unpredictable. SERA is still in a state of infancy when it comes to the emotions she has experienced. We can put her through all the simulations we want to, but at the end of the day, it still doesn’t measure up to real-life experience.”

“True, but unfortunately, we don’t have the time to see how she mingles in a public setting,” Alex said dryly.

“Yes, unfortunate indeed.”

Gratz stood up and walked to a bottle of scotch.


“Please,” Alex said. “I will be on the mission and can help in every way I can. I understand your concern, but the hostages are counting on her to function properly.”

“Yes, I know,” Gratz said, pouring Alex’ drink. He handed Alex the glass and sat down.

“You see this has become sort of a paternal relationship. I know it sounds weird but I designed SERA. Obviously, I had a team but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I am very proud, and somewhat protective, of her.”

“I think I can understand that,” Alex said.

The door opened and one of Gratz’ scientist peeked his head inside.

“She has finished the last of the programming, Dr. Gratz,” he said.

“Excellent. We will be out shortly.”

The scientist closed the door.

“Captain, before you leave, please promise me you will look after SERA,” Gratz said. “Aside from being a massive leap in technology, she represents something more—-personal—-to me. Truth be told, physically, she is designed after my late daughter, Georgia. Georgia was killed during a lunatics’ assault at the university. Georgia put up a fight to allow some of the students to escape and was gunned down for her efforts.”

“I’m very sorry to hear that, Doctor,” Alex said. “I lost my wife to cancer about five years ago. Loss of a loved one is a terrible thing to have to face.”

“Perhaps on of the hardest. Just please promise me,” Gratz said.

“I will certainly do my best,” Alex said, opening the door.

The two headed back into the lab. SERA was standing there. Alex couldn’t help but stare. He couldn’t pinpoint the feeling inside. Maybe he could but a crush seemed ridiculous.

“Shall we go, Captain,” SERA said.

“Yes, it’s time,” Alex said, snapping back to reality.

“Just let me grab my purse,”


“A joke, Captain,” SERA said, with a smile.

“Of course,” Alex said. He felt his body temperature rise again.

Alex and SERA headed to the hangar and boarded a small helicopter and landed at their destination forty-five minutes later.

They exited the chopper and headed toward a small outpost on the outskirts of the small village.

“Okay, SERA, time to see what you can do.”

“Is it strange that I feel nervous?”

Alex laughed.

“Don’t worry. I still get nervous. Fear keeps you alive.”

“But I’m not alive. However, I do understand the need for self-preservation,” SERA said.

“Close enough,” Alex said. “Our destination is just up ahead.”

Without warning, SERA leaned in and hugged Alex but then quickly pulled back.

“Apologies, sir,” she said.

Alex just stood in stunned silence.

“I am picking up a group of heat signatures, Captain. Switching to stealth-mode.”

A quiet hum powered up within SERA and her exterior camouflaged into a near perfect resemblance of the areas’ landscape.

“Cool,” Alex said, revisiting the boyhood excitement from earlier.

The two started toward the small compound that SERAs’ sensors indicated the hostages were being held.

Alex and SERA had made a few meters when a shot rang out and caught Alex in the bicep. Alex winced, taking cover and grasping his arm. SERAs’ stealth mode instantly shut off and she rushed to Alex’ side.

“You are wounded,” she said.

Alex kept finding himself in awe of her emotional responses. She seemed legitimately worried about him. Programmed or not, it felt real to him.

“I’m fine. It just grazed me,” he said, taking her hand.

“My enhanced hearing should have heard the sniper. I could have shielded you.”

“Sera, I’m okay,”

He could almost swear he saw tears forming.

Impossible, he thought. Machines can’t cry.

“I’ll live. It isn’t your fault. I should have been paying attention since we are so close.”

SERA helped Alex to his feet and returned to her camouflaged form. She switched on her communications and spoke to Alex through his earpiece.

“Wait here. I will deal with the sniper.”

Alex nodded.

SERA moved silently around the side of what appeared to be a warehouse to the rear of the hidden assailant. His neck was snapped from behind. SERA returned to Alex’ side.

“I do not like the feeling of taking a life.”

“Me either, but sometimes we have no choice,” he said.

Alex’ comm-link beeped.

“Hello, is Captain Alex Joslin there?” a voice said.

“Dr. Gratz?” Alex said.

“Thank goodness I found your channel. You need to get SERA out of there. I have discovered that your miss—-,”

The communication signal went dead.

Alex looked around and saw no sign of SERA. He gathered up his pack and headed toward the compound.

“SERA, do you copy?”

“I am here, Captain. Just outside the building.”

“Wait for me,” Alex said. “Gratz just contacted me. There is something wrong with the mission.”

“I received no change in instructions, Captain.”

“Just wait there.”

Alex hurried to the location that SERA gave him. In five minutes, he had rendezvoused with SERA.

“Can you tell how many are inside?”

“It appears there are five hostiles and four hostages,” SERA said.

Alex catches a very human look of worry on her face.

“What’s wrong, SERA,”

“I can’t do this. I’m scared. I don’t want to die.”

“We will be fine,” Alex said.

“No, it isn’t that. The mission. It isn’t what you have been told.”

“No matter what the mission is, we will get through it,” he said.

“I feel confused. I have to carry out the mission as per my programming but I feel hesitation. I feel concern for your safety for the safety of the hostages.”

“What are your orders exactly, SERA?”

“There was a new program uploaded. I am to infiltrate and self-destruct. I have been implanted with prototype nuclear explosive device. It was designed to contain itself to a radius of 50 meters based on proximity.”

“So they sent us on a suicide mission?”

“Precisely. But I do not want to die. More importantly, I don’t want you to die. I have developed a new emotion for you.”

“I know. As absurd as it sounds, I am starting to feel it too,” Alex said.

“What should we do?”

“We rescue the hostages as planned. Better yet, I rescue the hostages and you be my eyes and ears.”

“What about the bomb inside me?”

“Well, if it works on proximity, it can’t go off if you aren’t around. Just keep your scanners on.”

SERA leaned over and kissed Alex on the cheek.

“What was that for?”

“For luck,” she said, smiling.

Alex set off towards the building.

“Alex, there are two just inside the door. Take them out first.”

Alex affixed a silencer onto his pistol and slowly moved into position. He withdrew his tactical knife and held it with his pistol. He spun through the doorway and the first shot found its target between the eyes. By the time the second hostile realized the man next to him was dead, it was too late. The blade severed his spinal cord as Alex jammed it into the base of his skull.

“There is another on the second level of the building and the remaining two have the hostages at gunpoint,” SERA said.

“I’ll take the one with the vantage point out first.”

Alex climbed up a ladder that led him to almost directly behind the gunman. Alex grabbed the man from behind and twisted his head around resulting in a violent snap. The gunman dropped his assault rifle sending it clattering to the ground floor and alerting the remaining guards. They opened fire. Alex used his victims’ body as a shield until he could get back to the ladder. He jumped down to reposition himself. He hid behind a wall and waited. He could hear one of the men shouting orders. The fourth hostile entered Alex’ view. Alex placed a bullet through the mans’ head. Unaware that he had left himself open, he felt a round ripped through his side. Alex dropped to one knee as the pain flared throughout his whole torso. He turned to see the last enemy approaching him with his rifle pointed directly at Alex.

“No!” a voice said from behind the enemy.

A shot rang out and Alex watched the man crumple into a heap after his chest exploded in a crimson spray.

SERA stood behind the lifeless body. A small beeping began to emit from her.

“SERA, no.”

Alex shook his head.

“Get the hostages to safety, Alex,”

“I can’t leave you,” he said.

“I am afraid. Not of dying, but losing you. But this is my mission. I have come to love you, Alex. It is perhaps my favorite of all my newly discovered emotions. Now go, quickly!”

Alex corralled the hostages and began to run out of the building. He had reached an area roughly 150 meters away when the bomb detonated. He dropped to his knees. Alex comm-link beeped.


“Captain. Captain Joslin. Do you copy? It’s Dr. Gratz.”

“Joslin, here. SERA is gone.”

“Those bastards. I didn’t find out about the new experiment until it was too late.”

“I’m returning to the chopper.”

Alex arrived back at the base. He went to his office and slumped down in his chair. Tears formed in his eyes, as he remembered the short time he and SERA had spent together. He didn’t understand how he had come to have feelings for a machine but there was no denying it. Many would argue that they were manufactured but Alex would defy any naysayers.

After Alex had been in his office for several hours, a knock came at the door.

“You may enter.”

“Did I leave my purse in here, Captain?” said a feminine voice.

Alex looked up in shock. SERA stood before him smiling.


Gratz walked in behind her, also grinning from ear to ear.

“Meet SERA Mark II.”


No Such Thing as Normal

Micah Kingsley knew what everyone had been saying. So what if he liked Gabby Richter. Sure, maybe she wasn’t prom queen material. Maybe she was kind of tall and lanky. And maybe her glasses were just a little bit too big for her face. And maybe her laugh was a bit boisterous. Micah didn’t care. Gabby was different than all the other girls. She didn’t try so hard to impress anyone. She was happy and able to accept people for who they were. Micah had debated on quitting the football team. But he was talked out of it. Not by his fellow teammates, but by Gabby. In fact, his fellow players were exactly why he had wanted to quit. Getting teased about dating the schools’ “flagpole” on a daily basis was getting old. Worst of all, when he tried to stick up for her, the razzing just got worse. Someone had even gone as far as to steal their mothers’ wedding dress and decorate the actual flagpole in front of the school with it.

The last bell of the day rang which incurred the adolescent masses to herd promptly towards the schools’ exit. Gabby was waiting for him outside of the AV room just as she always did everyday. Micah forced a smiled as he approached her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

Somehow she always knew when something was bothering him. Or maybe it was always just that obvious.

“I dunno,” he lied.

Gabby’s brow furrowed slightly and she clutch her books tighter to her chest and began to walk towards the glass double doors leading out of the school.

“Let me guess. The jock squad is teasing you about me again?” Gabby said.

“Yeah,” Micah said.

“When are you going to let it stop bothering you?”

“I don’t know. You don’t have to deal with it everyday,”

“Really? That is your defense?” she said. “You don’t think I force myself to block out all the names people call me? Or make myself keep my head up whenever some jerk decides to knock my books out of my hands? What exactly is it that you think I don’t understand?”

“I know. I’m sorry,” Micah said. “ I just wish you could be normal.”

The lump in Gabby’s throat formed instantly. She choked back her tears as she struggled to regain her breath.

Micah knew he had said the wrong thing.

“Normal, huh?” she said.

“You know what I mean. Us. Just a normal couple. Being able to walk down the hall without being called Mr. and Mrs. Flagpole.”

“Is that how you see us?”

“No, of course not. But—-“

“But what, Micah? It’s not normal for the football captain to date the school geek? It’s not normal to be seen in public with the big joke of the school?”

“Just stop. I don’t why it bothers me. It just does, okay?”

“It bothers you because you care too much what other people think. None of those people are your friends. When we all are out of here, everyone of them will disappear and go off on their own path,” she said.

Micah continued to hang his head.

“You know, if it bothers you that much, maybe we should break up. That’s a pretty normal solution. Giving up. I’m going home. The “flagpole” has a chemistry exam tomorrow.”

Gabby walked off and Micah just stood there watching. Struggling with the urge to stop her and the idea that maybe she was right. He turned and walked towards his house.

After a few blocks later, Micah opened his front door and went inside. He dropped his backpack onto the floor. The thud was the signal to his mother that he was home.

Mrs. Kingsley was the typical Cleaver-esque mother. Soft-spoken and her caring nature seemed to ooze out of every pore. Sometimes it nauseated even Micah. Ugh, why can’t I have a normal mom?

There was that word again. Normal.

Micahs’ father had left when Micah was seven. Mrs. Kingsley often joked that he had died of a sugar overdose. Micah knew that deep down, her joke was just cover for the despair that she felt from his fathers’ departure.

“How was school, sweetheart?” his mother asked.

“Fine,” Micah said.

“That isn’t a very convincing answer,” she said, her tone changing to one of concern. “Where is Gabby? I thought you two had plans today.”

“We had a fight. She went home.”

“What on earth could a teenage couple have to fight about?”


Mrs. Kingsley sat down next to Micah, placing a comforting hand on his knee.

“School football star isn’t supposed to date anyone but the head cheerleader, right?”

“Pretty much.”

“Says who?”


“Screw what other people think.”

The unexpected phrase from his mothers’ mouth shocked hm.

“Mom!” Micah said with a smile.

“Well, what can I say?” she said with a grin. “My baby boy is getting bullied and it just pisses me right off.”

The bolt of shock struck again.

Micah hugged his mother and stood up.

“I’m going to do my homework and then go to Gabbys’ house.”

“Okay, hun.”

After an hour had passed, Micah stood up, closed his book and left his room.

He walked downstairs and his mother was on the phone. She was crying.

“Okay, Mrs. Richter. I’ll let him know.”

She pressed the end call button with tears in her eyes.

“Let me know what? What’s going on?” he asked.

“It’s Gabby. There’s been an accident,” she said sobbing. “She was hit by a car on her way home.”

“Is she alright? She’ll be alright, won’t she?”

“They aren’t sure. She was unresponsive at the scene. She’s was badly hurt, Micah. They don’t know if she will pull out of it.”

Micah dropped to his knees and the tears welled in his eyes. His mother walked over to him, knelt down and wrapped her arms around him.

“Mrs. Richter wants you to go see her. Gabby is at St. Luke’s Community Hospital. I can drive you there, if you want.”

Micah stood up; his head hung low and tears plunging from his cheeks in a kamikaze plummet towards the living room carpet. His mind blank with grief, he could almost swear he could hear them hit.

“It’s okay. I’ll walk. I need some air anyway.”

“Alright, sweetie. Just call me with updates please.”

“I will,” he said.

Micah grabbed his jacket and walked out the front door.

Micah stared at his feet for roughly half of the fifteen blocks it took to walk to the hospital. His mind raced with all of the things he should have said. Even more, the thing that he shouldn’t have.

Normal? What the hell is normal anyway?

Micah shook his head to clear the webs of thought from his mind. All that mattered right now was getting to Gabby.

A few minutes later, he found himself at the entrance of the hospital. The automatic doors whooshed open at his presence as if some ghostly doorman had been expecting his arrival. Micah took a deep breath, hoping it would be enough to muster up the courage to handle whatever news he may be given.

He approached the receptionist desk and explained the reason for his visit. Before the receptionist could answer, Micah heard a voice from behind.


Gabby’s mother stood there, her eyes swollen and red from crying.

“Mrs. Richter, is she going to be okay?”

Tabitha Richter wrapped her arms around Micah, hugging him and began to weep again.

“They aren’t sure,” she said between sobs. “They found swelling in her brain and she has several broken bones.”

Micah felt the tears begin to well in his own eyes.

“I just don’t understand how she couldn’t have seen the car coming. Gabby is always so focused and attentive.”

“We—-had an argument,” Micah said. “This is all my fault.”

“No, Micah. People argue. More so when they are in love. You mustn’t blame yourself.”

Mrs. Richter’s words, as well intended as they were, didn’t comfort Micah or take the blame away he felt inside.

“Can I see her?” he asked.

“Of course. She is still unconscious but she would still want you with her.”

Gabby’s mother led Micah down the hallway to Gabby’s room in the intensive care ward. He pushed open the door and stepped inside. The deep breath he took earlier rushed out of him, threatening to take with it any breath he had left in his lungs. Gabby was lying there motionless. Her face was swollen and bruised. Her leg was propped up and in a cast. The hardest sight was the mechanical device wrapped around her head like a sinister crown of torture to help alleviate the swelling that was going on inside her cranium.

Micah slowly approached her bedside and took her hand. Micah’s heart thumped as he just sat there observing her frailty. Unspoken wish crossed his mind as he wanted nothing more than for her to wake up and everything be back to normal. Normal. There was so much he needed to tell her. Micah could only sit there in silence and pray that she was inside his mind like she always seemed to be. That somehow she could know how sorry he was.

Micah sat with her until the nurse entered the room.

“I need to change her dressings and check her vitals. It’s after visiting hours but I’m sure she will want you to come back tomorrow.”

Micah looked up and nodded sadly. He didn’t want to leave her side. If, not if—-when she woke up, he wanted to be there.

He stood up and kissed the back of Gabby’s hand.

“I love you, Gabriella Richter. I don’t care how abnormal people think that is. I do. Please wake up.”

Micah started to leave the room and glanced back once more. He thought he saw the corner of her mouth turn upwards into a slight smile but the dim lighting in the room made it unclear. He settled on the idea that she had heard him. Even if the thought was just to get him through the walk home and the rest of the night.

The next morning, Micah woke up to the beep on his phone alerting him of a text message.

She is awake! It read.

Micah jumped out of bed and threw on the nearest articles of clothing he could find. He slipped on his shoes and raced downstairs and out the door towards the hospital. His mother followed him out the door.

“Micah, what is it,” she called after him.

“Gabby’s awake, mom! She’s awake!”

Micah sprinted as fast as his legs could propel him forward. Two blocks blurred by, then five. Only a few left. He reached two blocks until the hospital and darted across the street, not seeing the oncoming truck. The driver locked up his brakes and the screeching brought Micah back to awareness a split second before the bumper took his legs out from under him. He flipped up over the hood and then rolled off, hitting the ground with a loud CRACK. Micah’s head hit the pavement and he lost consciousness.

He woke up about two hours later in a hospital bed. His mother stood at the end of it. She had been crying.

“You scared the hell out me,” she said, sniffling.

“Me to,” said a voice.

Micah looked over to see Gabby in the next bed over.

“You’re awake,” he said. “I rushed over as soon as I as I got the message.”

“Yeah. The doctor said the swelling went down and I will recover after some therapy.”

“I’m sorry,” Micah said with tears filling his eyes.

“You know, Micah, I have learned something. First is to always look both ways before crossing the street.”

“Yeah, me too,”

“You are the only normal I need.”

“No, not normal. Just us. There is no such thing as normal.”

“I suppose not,” she said. “Just look at us.”

“Yep, far from it. But that’s just fine with me.”

“Me too,” Gabby said, with a smile.


The Gray Area

“Alex, get up! Peter is waiting in the car.”

Alex Rosfeld mumbled as he lowered his feet to the floor. He had stayed out late last evening and was feeling the effects of several shots of Jack Daniels. Within a few minutes, the fog inside is head dissipated. He threw on his clothes, ran a comb through his hair and headed towards the door.

“Here, I got you a present,” his mother said.

“What is it?” Alex asked.

“It’s a necklace bearing the image of Saint Brendan the Navigator,” she answered. “He’s the patron saint of divers.”

Alex thanked her with a kiss on the cheek, walked outside and got into the vehicle.

Now fully awake, the excitement took hold. He had been chosen to be a part of a special dive team. Their current mission was to explore a mysterious object that had been discovered on the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Scientists speculated as to its origin but today, Alex had the privilege of finding out the truth.

One of the theories was that it was a UFO. Being raised by his father, an extremely devout Sothern Baptist minister, Alex didn’t really believe in extraterrestrial beings. According to his father, there is only God. God created everything. Aliens and ghosts are not among them and only serve to promote false beliefs. If Alex attempted to debate, his father offered a more stern explanation. There is no gray area, only black and white. The gray area is for people who are too ignorant to tell the difference between black and white. Once his father issued that statement, Alex knew to drop the subject, even though curiosity still lingered. Alex had now been living with his mother for five years since the untimely passing of Martin Rosfeld.

Alex opened the car door and sat down. Peter Lindberg sat behind the steering wheel accompanied by another man in the passenger seat. The man smiled, extending his hand.

“Hi, my name is Nikolai but everyone calls me Nick. You must be Alex.”

Alex nodded and shook Nick’s hand.

“So, are you ready to see if E.T. actually made it home?”

Alex grinned when his mind conjured the image of a dozen little brown aliens scurrying around inside a burning spacecraft, with fingers glowing towards each other and chanting “ouch”.

With anticipation as a third passenger, they arrive at their destination. The three men boarded a mid-size boat with a small submarine attached to its hull. Once the necessary preparations were made, they set sail towards the discovery site.

Peter called a brief meeting to explain the procedure and also noted the risks of this particular exploration.

“The unknown object is approximately 80 meters below the surface, making for very difficult and dangerous conditions,” he said. “Also, on past trips, we have noticed instances of electrical interference affecting our equipment, so be mindful of your surroundings.”

After the meeting, Alex was instructed to put on his diving gear and meet with the submarine pilot. He suited up and boarded the small submarine. Within minutes, they submerged the craft.

Twenty minutes by the time the two men reached the underwater site. The pilot of the submarine helped Alex secure his gear and sent him through the hatch. Alex descended through the dismal water, his headlamp cutting through the darkness. When he reached the area, he began his research. His helmet was outfitted with a recording device allowing him to dictate his findings into a microphone.

He described the scene as magnificent. A massive disc-shaped surface with jutted steps, leading to what seemed like an entrance, gave the appearance of an unnatural structure. Deep ridges in the top of the object left Alex questioning their purpose. He continued on towards the center of the structure. He trained his eye towards the rear of the monolith. Behind it appeared to be skid marks of some sort. This revelation suggested that something had indeed crashed here. He was explaining his findings into his recording device when his light failed without warning. He tapped it in a vain as the icy grip of panic started to take hold. He was over 250 feet below the surface and it was pitch black. All sense of direction fled him as he spun trying to get his bearings. Alex would be out of air soon. Slight warmth began to emanate around his neck. He regained his vision as the necklace his mother had given him began to glow, illuminating the area around him. Now being able to see, he turned back towards the descent point. His motions were halted as he realized he was not alone. There, in front of him, was a figure. Its features were distinctive. It had a gray misshapen head and its eyes a luminous shade of blue. The creature reached towards Alex.

The being examined Alex’ necklace, its glow increasing the closer the creature’s hand came. The alien took the necklace between two of its six fingers. The contact set Alex’ mind ablaze. He witnessed the ship being struck by the asteroid, breaking Earth’s atmosphere and nearly incinerating before plummeting into the sea.

I have been stranded for many of your human years, lost in this bleak world. You are the first light I have seen in fourteen millennia. May I have this to illuminate my way through the darkness? It frightens me.

Alex nodded, aware of the telepathic link. He unclasped the necklace and handed it to the otherworldly stranger. If it had a mouth, Alex surely would have seen it smile as it drifted off. Alex’ vision was growing dark again. This instance, however, was not because of a failing headlamp. He had run out of air. His consciousness began to ebb and his body drifted as the last of his oxygen ran out.

Dad, I found the gray area.

About the Author


Kevin Rider is a current student at Full Sail University where he studies Creative Writing for Entertainment. He currently resides in Indiana with his two daughters. In his spare time, he enjoys working outside and reading a good book.

Flashbacks: A Collection of Short Stories

Flashbacks contains three separate stories. SERA follows the accounts between a military and a sentience-enhanced robotic prototype. No Such Thing as Normal is a coming of age story relating to the world of bullies and how a teenage couple react to life events. The Gray Area tells of a young man's adventure during a chance of a lifetime voyage beneath the depths of the ocean.

  • ISBN: 9781311164919
  • Author: Kevin Rider
  • Published: 2016-06-20 05:50:07
  • Words: 5397
Flashbacks: A Collection of Short Stories Flashbacks: A Collection of Short Stories