Updated: Feb 7, 2021
Some of you may have read the full version of the sci-fi story "Processing Required" I posted under the Short Stories and Flash section here on my blog several months ago. Today I'm sharing a different version of it... this is the KYD'd version (the "kill your darlings" version, where I put the story through an exercise to strip the story down to just one pivotal moment at a length of no more than 250 words).
I took this 250 mini-story and created this narrated video, so that you can listen to the 250 version... or watch... or if you prefer, read along on the full transcript of the story, which I'll include below. And remember, if you want more, you can get the longer version of the story right here on my blog! You can go directly to it here.
The symbol you'll see in the video is one that I created specifically to represent this story... that will be a theme, as I release more 250-word stories in the coming weeks (most of which have not been seen before on my blog in any form!). I'll be making a unique symbol to represent each story world, so that if I later write additional stories in that world, I'll have an emblem to use as a visual cue to tie them all together.
I've had some readers request that I develop the longer version of "Processing Required" into a full book, and that's definitely on the table for consideration in the future if enough of you are interested. But for now, I hope you enjoy the story.
My purgebox pulsed red in my palm as a screen blinked to life on the face of the Processing building. A stern-looking woman stared back at me. “Name?”
A metal tray flipped open on the door and a blinking disc clanked into it. “It will buzz when you’re next. Have payment ready.”
The sense of rejection and failure I’d tried to purge that morning, only to find the box full, churned in my stomach. The reset on my box would deplete most of my remaining credits. I’d have to skip a few meals this week. But what choice did I have? I couldn’t just carry these feelings around all week; I’d be useless.
The door to the Processing Center clanged shut behind a young woman. I caught a glimpse of her as she rushed past me, enough to see splotchy skin, red eyes, tears.
I called after her. “Were you here for Processing?”
She turned back, worried her lip between her teeth. A purgebox pulsed burgundy in her palm. “Been full for two weeks. I keep making appointments, hoping my credits will have come through...“
A reckless thought burst into a gallop in my mind. “Take my turn.” I shoved the disc at her. “I’ll pay for you.”
Her fingers closed around the disc. “You’re serious?”
Her shoulders relaxed with an exhale. “I’m Lara.”
The churn in my chest eased ever so slightly at the relief in her eyes. I smiled and held out my hand. “I’m Kylan.”
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